What Should You Feed Bees During Winter?

what should you feed bees

You may be wondering what should you feed bees during winter. There are different options, from sugar syrup, fondant, and sugar water to Pollen. But which of these foods are safe to feed to your bees? Read on to learn more. You may even decide to try making some yourself!

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Sugar syrup

Bees need a good source of energy in the winter, and sugar can provide that. Bees don’t live on a diet of raw vegetables and fruits; they require a substantial carbohydrate source that is easily digestible. Bees prefer white sugar, and you can prepare it for them by mixing it with hot water. However, you shouldn’t boil the syrup because the boiling process changes the chemical composition of the sugar, making it indigestible for bees.

Beekeepers mix sugar syrup with water in a 2:1 ratio. This ratio helps keep bees well-fed when honey stores run low. Beekeepers may choose to add essential oils, such as spearmint, which fights off mold and varroa mites and also makes the sugar syrup more palatable for the bees.

Sugar water

One of the easiest ways to feed your bees sugar is to mix sugar and water. The process is very similar to making a syrup. When you mix the two ingredients, mix by weight and volume. You should then pour the syrup into a feeder. To add flavor, you can add essential oils. Spearmint, for example, prevents mold and helps the bees find the sugar water syrup.

Feeding bees is an important aspect of beekeeping. The only drawback to feeding bees is that they will not live forever. The lifespan of worker bees is about six weeks, while male bumblebees live just a few weeks. If you notice a dying bee, you can feed them sugar water to keep them alive for a while. The bees won’t be able to fly or eat as well as they used to, but this won’t change the fact that they are dying.

Pollen

One of the best ways to provide extra protein to bees is by forming a pollen patty. These are placed near the cluster of bees. However, it is difficult to collect fresh pollen and prevent it from spoiling. This means that many beekeepers use pollen substitute. Although these are effective, they also come with risks. For example, they can attract Small Hive Beetles, which lay their eggs in the pollen patties.

The ideal time to feed bees pollen is as soon as possible after it is collected. A good rule of thumb is that pollen for bee feeding should be used within nine to 12 months. The pollen needs to have the right balance of elements to be effective. Pollen supplements can help but cannot compare to the success rate of using 100% natural pollen.

Nectar

Beekeepers have various methods to make nectar for their hives. Using sugar syrup is one of them. However, pollen is a better option. It can be stored in a ziplock bag and can be used to make a syrup for the bees. In addition to sugar syrup, you can make a syrup containing essential oils. These oils will keep the mites away and act as an appetizer for the bees.

Beekeepers must remember that the nectar they find is seasonal. Every year, the nectar supply is affected by a dearth. It could be due to drought or an early or late frost. Regardless of the reason, it is important to check on the supply of food periodically.

Water

The best way to provide water for bees is to have a source of fresh water near your hive. Honeybees can travel for five miles or more to find water, so providing a convenient source is important. Providing fresh water nearby means that they can focus on other tasks, instead of locating a water source.

Bees need water for a variety of reasons, including diluting stored honey. Since they do not store water in their hives, they must travel a considerable distance in search of it. Water is also important for metabolizing food. In addition, bees mark sources of water with a pheromone, known as Nasonov pheromone. Therefore, you should make sure that your bee’s water source is unscented and does not contain chlorine.