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.
Fondant or Sugar Candy
Fondant can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer in gallon zip lock bags. When you
realize that a beehive needs to be fed, it’s ready. Unlike syrup, fondant is dry so the bees can
use it right away.
12 cups plain, white granulated sugar
3 cups water
¼ teaspon REAL apple cider vinegar (not artificially flavored and colored) for every pound of sugar
1½ candy thermoter
1. Put all the ingredients in a pot on the stove and heat over medium high heat until
it reaches a 235° F which is the soft ball temperature for candy making.
2. If you don’t have a candy thermometer you can check the consistency by putting
drops of the fondant into a cut with very cold water. If it balls up into a soft ball, you’ve
reached the stage.
3. Syrup foams quite a bit when it boils so make sure you use a large enough pot to
contain it all. Also, keep an eye on it and turn down the heat if it starts to boil over.
4. After it reaches the softball stage, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool until
it reaches about 190°F. If you don’t have a thermometer let it cool off enough that it
begins to look opaque instead of translucent.
5. Once it’s cooled, mix it well to break up the crystals. You may prefer to use an immersion
blender for this because you may not like having to pour the mixture into a stand mixer when
it’s super hot. Beat until the bee fondant is white and smooth.
6. Pour into prepared pans. You may like to use disposable pie pans, you could also use a plate
lined with wax paper. This size because fits in gallon zip lock bag without cutting it or breaking
7. Once it’s completely cooled, put it in zip lock bags and store in the freezer.
8. When it’s time to use the fondant, just put a disk in the topmost part of the hive. If the bees
need it, they will eat it. If they don’t need it, they won’t take it. But be sure to remove any leftover
fondant when it is no longer 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.