Feeding Honey Bees in Winter

Sometimes it is necessary to feed your honey bees in the winter. This winter I definitely have to feed my bees because of the drought we had. The drought negatively affected our flowering plants and thus our nectar flow was very low which caused their honey storage to be low. I wait until it is a relatively warm winter day to feed my honey bees. I definitely do not feed them on really cold, windy and rainy days because I do not like to get them cold.

I feed my bees two different ways. One way is by making sugar water. I heat 2 cups of tap water in a sauce pan on the stove. I then add 2 cups of sugar. I heat this mixture until the sugar is well dissolved. You can use any amount of water you want but the ratio is 50% water and 50% sugar. I let this sugar water cool down and then I pour this into my honey bee division board feeder.  I also place about three pieces of wood or bark in the sugar water so that the wood floats and allows bees to have a landing area so they can drink up the sugar water without drowning.
Sugar Water

Another way I feed my honey bees is by making bee candy. To make honey bee candy you will need:
            2 cups sugar
            1 ½ cups water
            2 tbsp light corn syrup
            1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
I add all of these ingredients to a sauce pan and stir.  I heat this mixture until it reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to use a candy thermometer to ensure your reach this temperature. If you do not reach this temperature the bee candy will not harden. As soon as this temperature is reached I pour the mixture into an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and let it cool until it hardens.  When it is cooled and harden I take the bee candy including the aluminum foil and place it directly on top of the bee frames.
Bee Candy
Feeding Honey Bees in Winter
Taking care of your honey bees in the winter is vital to their health and their future honey production.  Honey has many uses, it can be used as a sweetener for coffee or tea, natural sore throat soother, cough suppressant, used in cooking and baking recipes and can be made into mead or honey wine. Honey is also suitable for long term storage.


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