Feeding Sugar Syrup

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Feeding Sugar Syrup

    By now, you must have heard that you need to feed, feed, feed about a million times, and if not, you need to feed, feed, feed. Whether you are receiving an NUC or a Package of Bees, it is critical that you begin by feeding.  Carbohydrates play a major role in the honeybee’s life and are naturally obtained from plants in the form of nectar. The nectar is processed into honey, which is the honeybee’s lifeline.

 Once a bee is 12 days old, her wax glands begin to produce wax. This process starts with carbohydrates, which the honeybee needs to create wax.

   There are two reasons why beekeepers feed sugar syrup. First, in the spring, to stimulate feeding and brood production. However, there must be a comb in the hive for the brood to be produced.  Second, a beekeeper feeds the colony in the summer during dearth and fall when the colony is low on honey resources.


There is more to feeding than just mixing sugar and water together. The blend of sugar and water varies depending on the time of year. Weighing the hive is the best way to determine the colony’s needs.

  • In the Spring, from March to May, a one-to-one by-weight mixture of sugar to water is used to create a comb and stimulate the production of the brood.
  • In the Summer, from June to August, a one-to-one by-weight mixture of sugar and water is used when there is a light to no nectar flow. Note it is very important to pay close attention to the amount of nectar coming into the colony to ensure that they have a good energy source to maintain the hive during this time.
  • In the Fall, from Sept to November, a two-to-one ratio by weight of sugar to water is used if the hive is low on stores. At this time, the colony should weigh 100 to 120 pounds.

   When making syrup, the ratio is measured in pounds. Never cook sugar syrup because it is easy to burn. Simply use the hot water from the tap and stir the mixture until it has dissolved. Only make what you plan to use, do not let sugar syrup out.  



      When we make syrup, we add Apis Biologix (Bio-Control), a feeding stimulant made with natural floral nectar to entice the bees to drink it faster while aiding in their digestive health and disease management through improved nutrition. This mixture helps prevent syrup fermentation and can be sprayed on undrawn frames to encourage the bees to accept and draw out the frames quickly. It can also be used to calm the bees instead of smoking. While this is not a miracle drug, it has huge advantages when used regularly.


     No matter whether you use syrup in the Spring, Summer or Fall remember to always clean your feeders after use to prevent the growth of bacteria. Or your bees could end up like this guy.