Feeding your Honey Bees in the Winter with a Candy Board


Honeybees work.  They work all spring and summer to store up enough pollen and honey for their colony to survive the winter.  However, sometimes, their best efforts are not enough and they can end up starving to death if their supplies run out.  As you have read, in the early spring and late fall when the nectar and pollen supplies are low, we feed our honey bees sugar syrup as a supplement.  They can take this honey syrup or leave it.  The choice is up to them and it provides them with access to extra food if need be.  However, sugar syrup and freezing temperatures do not agree, thus those keeping bees in colder climates must feed their bees another way.

I have researched this very topic quite a bit.  The good news is that there are options.  You can make fondant that sits on top of the frames, that they bees can eat as needed.  You can use the Mountain Camp Method with some sugar poured directly on newspaper, or you can create a candy board.  To me the choice is clear.  The candy board once made requires little maintenance   It is easy to refill.  It can hold up to 15 pounds of sugar.  The sugar itself, helps to absorb moisture and humidity from the hive.  It is accessible to the bees from all the frames in the upper deep.  It does not require the beekeeper to open the hives frequently to check and replenish the food.

I set out on my journey.  I am lucky enough to have wonderful friend whose boyfriend made two frames just for me.  They are the 2" high and the width and length of the hive's body . Think spacer-beekeeping friends. Drill a 5/8" hole into the center of one of the shorter sides.  Then I spray painted them and allowed them to dry overnight.

Next, I added hardware cloth to the bottom.   Wear long sleeves and work gloves.  It can take a real good bite out of you! 

 The candy board frame is fitted with hardware cloth 

Place these flat onto a piece of plastic or as in my case the children's art mat.

12/5/2012 12:54:34 PM

Melissa, huh, I didn't know that bees needed help to get through the winter. I guess it makes sense if we (humans) steal their honey then we should replace it with some thing for them to live on during the winter months. Someday I'll have bees next to my garden but in my case I really don't want to be the one to take care of them. Hopefully, I can find someone to plant a hive on my garden property and take care of it. Have a great candy board bee day.

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