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Recipes for Supplemental Feeding of Bees

Sugar bricks recipe from Betterbee

Of all of these homemade feeds, sugar bricks are the easiest to make, and also the easiest to install in the hive. In marginal weather, you can just slip the brick in on top of the frames, right above the cluster. No need to fully expose the bees.
Betterbee Sugar Bricks Recipe


Fondant (sugar candy) can be fed when the temperature is too cold to be feeding sugar syrup. Here is a very simple recipe for making it. Fondant is simply a creamy sugar paste used in candy and as an icing. Sugar and water are heated to a high temperature and then whipped into a paste. Care needs to be taken that it does not over cook. Warning! Use caution, It is very easy to get burned making this.

  • 5 pounds (12 cups) granulated white cane sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Combine the ingredients and heat, constantly stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Heat without stirring until the temperature reaches 236°. Be patient, it takes a while. Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to cool to about 200°. Whip with a wire whisk until the liquid becomes opaque. Be careful! A burn from molten sugar wins you a guaranteed trip to the burn center. Pour or ladle the liquid into wax paper lined molds and allow to cool.

Lightly greasing the bottom of the molds with Crisco facilitates removal. 9" cake pans or bread pans (metal, not glass) work well. Make the blocks approx. 3/4" thick. You must work quickly to get it into the molds as it will cool fast and then be very hard to get out of the original container.

Store the candy blocks in plastic storage bags in the freezer. Allow them to warm inside the bag an hour before feeding. Place them on the top bars of the frames, wax paper side up over the cluster. The wax paper will help hold moisture from the hive and soften the candy. A shallow super, wood rim baggie feeder or Imirie Shim provides enough head space for the candy block or blocks, then replace your inner cover and put the telescoping top cover on and weight it down with a rock. Remember this is not intended to take the place of leaving enough honey on the hive; it is to supplement the ones that are running out or were not able to bring in enough.

Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup can be made up into 2 different strengths, and you use different strengths for different purposes and at different times of the year as follows:

  • 1 : 1 => 1 lb. of sugar dissolved in 1 pint of water is primarily used as an artificial nectar to get bees to build comb and feed brood larvae in spring and summer.
  • 2 : 1 => 2 lbs. of sugar dissolved in 1 pint of water is a winter feed substituting for honey in the fall or early winter.