What Do You Feed Bees in Winter?

what do you feed bees in winter

In colder climates, one colony needs 40-80 pounds of honey per month in order to stay alive. This amounts to either a full deep box of frames in colder climates or an array of Dadant depth supers in warmer regions.

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Furthermore, colonies may need to be fed sugar syrup. This strong form of sweetener can be created using two kilograms of granulated sugar to one and a quarter litres of water.


Liquid Feed

When honey stores in a hive are low and nectar is scarce, liquid feed may be used to supplement. This practice helps boost the bees’ honey reserves before winter sets in.

Syrup or sugar water-based feed is simple to feed bees and they can digest it quickly. While this type of feed can be given any time of year, it works best in warm, sunny weather when more nutrients are available to the bees.

Many beekeepers rely on liquid feed during wintertime as it’s an efficient and speedy way to guarantee their bees have access to food, though it may not be fully digestible due to frigid temperatures.

Some beekeepers provide their bees with an emergency winter feeding patty of sugar or fondant. This patty can be placed on top bars of the hive and added at any time. These patties contain AP23 Pollen Substitute and Honey-B-Healthy for extra nutrition.

Solid Feed

You can feed bees during the winter with solid foods like sugar cakes (candy boards), fondant or dry granulated sugar. These are preferable to syrup because they do not contain any water and can be processed more quickly.

For improved flavor, consider adding honey-b-healthy or feeding stimulants (like Pro-Health or Lemongrass and Spearmint oil concentrates) to the feed. These are affordable and simple to incorporate into the recipe.

Feeding liquid syrups in the spring and fall is an effective way for bee colonies to draw out comb and build up a frame reserve before the first nectar flow of the season. Doing this helps your bees fill their hives for wintertime, while providing extra honey for you as well.

However, do not feed emergency feed unless you can clearly see that the bees are starving and require something to sustain them until their next nectar flow or you can visit them to put in a new package. Doing so could create more issues than it solves and could even result in the death of the colony.

Pollen Patties

Bees typically enter brood production mode during winter and early spring, needing a protein source from pollen they collect and store for later use.

Patties for your hives can provide your bees with essential protein to rear drones, which are crucial for their health and the viability of the hive. Furthermore, patties help make sure young bees produce royal jellly – an essential food source for adult bees – which promotes their development as workers in the hive.

To make patties, mix together dry pollen substitute and sugar syrup until you have a malleable dough. Then, add some drops of Honey B Healthy or lemongrass oil before pressing onto wax paper until about 1/4 inch thick.

Dry Sugar

Dry sugar can be an emergency food source for bees in wintertime. It also serves as a supplement when honey levels in your hive are low.

Typically, the ratio of dry sugar to water is 1:2 or 2:1 (sugar:water). For best results, use white table sugar that has been heat-treated and then cooled so it does not caramelize.

Granulated sugar can be applied directly on top of the hive’s top bars or placed inside a candy board. Both methods work effectively for providing bees with nutrition when their honey stores are low, though both require some moisture from bees’ respiration to dissolve the sugar.

Dry sugar for wintertime feeding bees is a beneficial idea, providing them with another energy source. However, you should wait until honey stores are low before using it and always double-check that there is enough honey available for their winter requirements.