Sugar syrup is a common food source for bees, especially during the winter months when there is little to no nectar available.
To make sugar syrup for bees, you will need the following ingredients and equipment:
- Granulated sugar (not raw sugar)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mineral Bee or similar
- Stirring spoon
- Measuring cup
- Jar or feeder
- Autumn Feeding - We recommend 2:1 (sugar:water by volume)
- Spring Feeding - We recommend 1:1 (sugar:water by volume)
- New Colonies/NUC - We recommend 2:1 (sugar:water by volume)
- Emergency Feeding - We recommend 2:1 (sugar:water by volume)
Here are the steps to make sugar syrup for bees:
In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with warm water. Winter Feeding for example, if you use two cup of sugar, use one cup of water.
Heat the mixture on medium heat while stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely. Then bring up to a boil however as soon as it gets close to the boiling temperature, you will observe that the liquid will change from a misty sugar/water mix and become totally clear. At this point the liquid changes from a sugar/water mix, to a sugar syrup and you have an emulsified sugar syrup solution. Be careful to not over boil so when you get close to this point, turn the heat off and allow to cool back to room temperature.
Depending upon the size of your sauce-pan, this will take a few hours to cool down.
- Once cooled, add 2 x teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar per litre (approx 1 x teaspoon per pint).
This is used to slow down the natural sugar/water solution naturally fermenting, thus providing more life out of the solution. As soon as the Sugar Syrup solution ferments, the bees will not touch it, no matter how hungry they are.
- Optional but recommended, add 10ml per Litre (approx 5ml per pint) of Mineral Bee.
This provide extra nutrition for the bees in the form of missing vitamins and minerals that might be naturally depleted at specific points in the year.
- Once combined the extra ingredients, mix well.
Pour the syrup into a container for temporary storage or used immediately in a feeder and place in a hive.
Note: It's important to make sure the syrup is completely cooled before giving it to the bees, as hot syrup can harm or kill them. Additionally, it's best to feed bees sugar syrup in the fall or winter, and not during the active growing season when there is plenty of nectar available. However its very common to feed your bees in the Spring if the winter is prolonged or to boost the colony number prior to a nectar flow arriving.