Bee Syrup

Bee syrup is good to make and have on hand both for helping your bees settle into their new hive and feeding your bees on a regular basis.  Here are some recipes and tips for feeding your bees.

Why Feed Your Bees?

It's tough being a bee these days.  Not only do they have to compete with other insects for a limited supply of pollen, but they are also being bombarded with pesticides, GMOs and harmful radio waves from cell phone towers.

Old time beekeepers have told me that beekeeping used to be as simple as setting the hive in the backyard and then harvesting honey after a year or so. 

Not so, any longer.  Bees need lots of tender loving care, and as good stewards of the earth, it's our job to provide it.

Feed Your Bees Regularly

That's why it's important to make both of the recipes provided here and give them to your bees on a regular basis, especially the first year when your bees are the most vulnerable.  You will need the syrup if you order a three-pound package of bees to help ease your bees into their new home.

And the sugar and grease patties will help your bees survive the winter and keep the mites away.

So let's get started.

Bee Syrup Recipe

Here's the recipe that comes from Beekeeping For Dummies (an excellent resource, by the way):

  • 2 1/2 quarts of water
  • 5 pounds of white granulated sugar
  • Large pot
  • Large spoon

Put the water in the pot and bring it to a full, rolling boil.  Remove it from the heat and add the sugar.

Stir well, until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Don't boil the water/sugar mixture as it might caramelize, and caramelized sugar can make your bees sick.  Allow the syrup to cool completely and store it in quart jars until you are ready to use it.

How to Feed Your Bees

Pour some of the bee syrup into a plastic bag.  Place the bag on your feeding frame (it's the frame with a hole in the center).  Using a straight pin, poke a few small holes in the bag and then place the top on the frame.  When the bag is empty, replace it with a new one throughout the spring and also in the fall.

Sugar Grease Patties

To keep the mites away as well as keeping your bees healthy, make sugar patties and add them to your hive regularly.  These patties are a simple mixture of shortening or coconut oil, sugar, honey and sea salt.  As the bees eat the sugar, they become coated with the grease which helps keep the mites off.

Here's the recipe, also from the Beekeeping For Dummies book:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of vegetable shortening or coconut oil
  • 4 pounds of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound honey
  • 1/3 cup of mineral salt (optional)
  • 3 drops wintergreen essential oil (only during times you are not harvesting honey)

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.  Form into about twelve hamburger-size patties.  Add one  patty to each hive and store the rest in a plastic food bag and freeze for later use.

During the first year and any time when you don't plan to harvest honey, also add a few drops of wintergreen essential oil to the patties to further discourage mites.

Related article:  How to Choose the Best Location For Your Bees

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