Feeding your bees after you have installed them into your hive is a necessity. Whether you are working with a package or a NUC, feeding will be critical as the bees begin working the frames in order to store any surplus food. Feeders are also critical when the nectar flows are low or non-existing. It is always in the best interest for the bees to have a feeder on the hive until you add on your first honey super. Remove feeders when you add on honey supers. If there are extended periods of rain or extreme drought, the bees will need that feed! It also offers a great opportunity to supply your bees with needed nutrients. There are many different ways of feeding your bees and many different feeders that will do the task.
Hive top feeders are placed above your colony and include entrance reducers or floats so your bees are safe. This is an easy feeding method that you can fill when needed without disturbing your bees. Will allow you to use liquid or solid feeds.They may require an additional super to fit over the feeder and any upper entrances must be closed off.
Division board feeders are a great way to bring feed directly into your hive by replacing a frame. They include floats or textured walls as safety precautions. The downside is they replace a frame and holds less volume than a hive top feeder. Better used in colder weather when the bees will not break far from the cluster.
Entrance feeders are another way of making feed available to the hive. The feeder will have a reservoir that drains into a tray inserted into the hive. This is an easy feeding method that can be checked and replaced without touching your hive. The entrance must be reduced around feeder to prevent robbing bees from entering hive.
Pail Feeders and Baggie Feeders are another method for hive top feeding. Placed above the inner cover, these feeders require an additional super to close them in the hive. A cheaper method to hold lots of feed.
Sugar Syrup Recipee
Spring (stimulate colony growth) - 1:1 ratio of sugar to water Fall (overwinter stores) - 2:1 ratio of sugar to water
Bees need the sugar, not the water. Please note that 1 gallon of water weighs roughly 8.3 lbs.
Boil the water and then remove if from heat. Wait for it to cool to about 140 degrees (F) and then dissolve the sugar in the water.
Making Sugar Candy
Bring 7 pounds of sugar, 1 pound of water (2 cups), and 1½ pounds (about 1⅛ cups) of HFCS(or 2:1 sugar water) to a slow boil while stirring until candy consistency has reached about 220 to 230° F. Take the candy off the heat and stir in 1 pound of pollen substitute with a whisk. Pour mixture into a mold to allow cooling. A mason jar can be used to seal and cover the hole in the center. Remove jar once the candy has set.