Feeding the Bees

feeding-the-beesInvest in a few good bee feeders as they are essential tools to feed the insects when natural nectar supplies run low. Feeders also make it easy to medicate the bees if required. New colonies of bees work well with pail feeders and entrance feeders. Keep the sugar syrup as close to the bees as possible. If the bees are ignoring the sugar syrup it is because there is a strong nectar supply in the wild. They syrup needs to be removed immediately. Do keep checking periodically if they require it.

The bees will accept food right through autumn till it becomes too cold to go outside. When it becomes too cold and they have started to cluster, providing them with a top feeder makes it easier on them in the winter. Emergency feeding will need to continue right through winter and sometimes into early spring, till it is warm enough for them to fly out.

Feeders can be hive tops, entrance feeders or division boards. Hive top feeders are to be placed above the colony and come equipped with entrance reducers and floats to protect the entrance to the hive. Feeding bees through hive tops creates the least amount of disturbance for the bees. Division board feeders can be brought right into the hive by replacing a frame. They usually have textured walls or floats to provide protection. Entrance feeders usually consist of a plastic feeder with a tray and an upside down bucket. This can be easily replaced without dismantling the hive.

Bees need different strengths of syrup in spring and winter In spring to aid in the growth of the colony make sure syrup with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. In winter, to provide nutrition during the cold months increase to a 2:1 ratio of sugar and water. To make the syrup, boil and cool the water to about 140 degrees(F) and dissolve the sugar in the water.