You can find lots of articles andrecipes that recommend using candy, sugar syrup and
even plain granulated sugar for feeding bees in the winter. However, recipes that use a
sugar-based supplement do not provide any additional nutrients or feeding stimulants.
A more nutritionally complete product gives your bees the best chance at survival when
honey stores are low.
Pollen Pattie Recipe
Add pollen patties in the fall, after the winter solstice or at the New Year.
0.65 pounds hot water
1.6 pounds sugar
2.5 teaspoons vegetable oil
1-pound dry pollen substitute
½ cap of apple cider vinegar
1. Mix pollen substitute and sugar using your hands to break up any clumps.
2. Add water, vegetable oil and apple cider vinegar, and be prepared for a messy mix.
3. Once you are satisfied with the moist, sticky consistency, clean your hands, get out the wax
paper, and tear off 1-foot strips.
4. Use a spatula to put a big glob of the mixture on half of a sheet of wax paper.
5. Fold the wax paper over top and flatten it with your hands since you are placing it on top of
your frames, or use a rolling pin if your hands aren’t strong enough.
Note: Apple cider vinegar stops black mold spores from growing and extends the life
of the pollen patties.
Note: You can store leftover patties in the freezer or a spare refrigerator until needed.
Water In Winter
Although water requirements are lower in the winter, bees need water to mix with and thin out
their honey stores before eating them or feeding them to their larvae. A lot of condensation can
build up inside a hive in the winter time, especially if poorly ventilated, and they probably use this
water. They also collect water drops from blades of grass and other plants as days begin to
As the weather warms and foraging activity picks up, honey bees will start looking for water as
well as pollen and nectar.
On warmer days, provide a shallow pan of water near the bee hive. Of course, bees can't swim.
They must be able to stand where it's dry and drink. Good systems include shallow bird baths
or pot bottoms filled with water and pebbles or corks. These allow the bees to stand and drink.
Sugar Brick Recipe
When you remove the honey supers in fall and the average temperature is less that 50° C,
add sugar bricks and a pollen patty for the bees to make sufficient honey reserves in the brood
box to carry them through the winter.
14 cups granulated sugar
1 cup REAL apple cider vinegar (not artificially flavored and colored)
1½ teaspoons citric acid powder USP
1. Combine sugar and citric acid powder in a large bowl.
2. Pour half of the vinegar over the sugar.
3. Stir the mixture.
4. Add remaining vinegar and stir completely.
5. Scoop the mixture into shallow, jelly-roll baking pans, no taller than about 1 inch
deep, over-filling the pans slightly above the rims.
6. Use a rolling pin to smooth and compress the sugar into the pan until it is firm
and level with the pan rim. Press down firmly to make sure there are no voids.
7. Use a knife to cut lines in the sugar to separate the bricks. Cut completely down through
the mixture to make sure you will get a clean break after they are fully dried.
8. Place pans in the dehydrator or a convection oven set for 140° F until the sugar is
very hard, which can take 8-36 hours. You can pause the drying process if you need to
use the appliance for cooking, or don’t want to run it while you are asleep or at work.
9. Once the bricks are hard, remove them from the oven and let them cool. Store in air-tight
containers, until needed.
Sugar Syrup Recipe
When early spring or when your package bees arrive, having enough sugar syrup ready to feed them will help the honey
bees adjust to their new home in your hives. A 1-to-1 mixture of sugar and water — measured either
by weight or by volume — provides the energy your bees need to stimulate brood rearing and start
drawing out foundation.
The goal of feeding syrup in the fall is different from spring feeding. In the spring, syrup is fed
to encourage population increase and comb drawing. In the fall, the purpose is to create a
stored surplus in the already-drawn combs. In this case, a 2-to-1 mixture of sugar and water is needed.
10 ⅔ cups of sugar (plain cane sugar or organic cane sugar)
10 ⅔ cups of granulated water
Optional: Add Nozevit (Dadant) as directed by manufacturer
Optional: Add Honey-B-Healthy (Dadant), 4-8 teaspons
1. Heat your quantity of water on the stove in a saucepan.
2. Just shy of boiling, take it off the heat and stir in the sugar.
3. Mix until everything is homogenous.
4. Allow the solution to cool before feeding your bees.