Feeding Bees Sugar Water (& More) – Why, When, How
In good beehive management there will come a time to consider feeding bees sugar water. Feeding does not take the place of real plant nectar. However, in times of a nectar dearth, feeding sugar water saves colonies.
A guide to feeding honey bees sugar water. The why, when and how of feeding bees. Different sugar water concentrations are used depending on the needs of the colonies. Ratios and recipes to help you feed your bees.
Outside or community feeding is not the best option for feeding honey bees. The weaker colonies don't get as much as they need and you end up feeding every wasp in the neighborhood. However, it is a technique that is used in certain situations. Make your own bucket feeder for bees .
Failure to feed a new package of bees properly is one of the most common beehive management failures. New hives have a lot of work to do. Providing sugar water inside the hive, is one way to ensure your new bees have a constant supply of food - regardless of the weather!
New beekeepers often fail to prepare colonies for Winter until it is too late. Checking the amount of Winter stores in your hives should be done in late Summer. Don't wait until cold weather arrives to realize your beehives are not ready for Winter.
In spite of good plans for preparing colonies for Winter, things happen. This emergency method of feeding bees in Winter is not a substitute for good Winter prep. However, it can save colonies that get caught in a prolonged cold snap.
Feeding Bees Pollen
Honey bee colonies must have pollen. Without pollen no baby bees will be produced. As the only protein source for the colony, pollen must be stored in late Fall. This stored pollen is used to rear young in January and February.
Instructions for a DIY pollen feeder. Dry pollen is often fed to bees during a time when natural pollen is not abundant. It is easy to make your own pollen feeder.
Pollen patties placed inside the hive gives a boost to late Winter colonies. The advantage of patties is that the bees don't have to leave the hive to reach them.
The disadvantage of pollen patties applies to those of us who live in regions with Small Hive Beetles. The beetles can turn pollen patties into nurseries resulting in a beetle population explosion.