At the first sign of 50+ degree weather and the sunshine is warm on our faces, we begin to look more longingly toward our bee yards!
I hope you have planned well and have already stocked a good supply of sugar and perhaps have begun mixing up some pollen patties. It shouldn’t be long now for warmer days, nearer to springtime and for our bees to become lively again! They will likely need extra nourishment to get them strong again. Depending on the weather in your region has a lot to do with the amount of nectar and pollen that will be available. If its a cloudy, rainy season, then the less bee food nature will supply. Not only will they not want to get out and fly in search, but if there is any pollen or nectar coming on, it may get drenched or wind blown off of the blossoms. As a beekeeper, we try and supplement as well as we are able.
I might add that the glucose & fructose that honey bees rely on, is an energy source. The protein they will find in the pollen they collect, is beneficial to their muscles and tissue development.
I will soon be adding a few feed recipes for you… please be patient.
A NOTE: 5#’s of sugar equals roughly 10-1/2 cups
We usually start feeding sugar patties early depending on the weather and when we can open our hives. A sugar patty will consist of organic sugar (or table sugar if organic is not available) mixed with just enough water to hold it together. We will put this mixture into a one gallon size Ziplock bag and two small 1″w X 4″l chunk of wood placed on what will become the bottom side of the bag. This will keep the bees from suffocating underneath. When we place the bag on top of the hive frames, we will cut slits into the bag so the bees can eat. I have also added one drop of peppermint essential oil to this mixture when I believe they need a little help stimulating their appetite as well as ward off mites. In my opinion it works.
In feeding sugar syrup; some beekeepers will insist on feeding a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, while others’ will insist on a 2:1 ratio. Personally, we believe that early in the Spring a 2:1 is best albeit we won’t be feeding syrup until it is warmed up more that 40 degrees at night.
We stop feeding as soon as we see a nectar flow. Meaning the bees are on all nearby blossoms and they slow or stop consuming the syrup.