How to mix sugar syrup (and a little on pollen patties)

One-Ton tote of sucrose (table sugar) 

After purchasing a new package, you will probably need to feed it until nectar flow is strong. Leftover honey is the best bee food, and second choice is sugar syrup. Bees prefer sucrose (table sugar) to other sugars. You will probably use about 20-25 pounds of sugar per hive in the spring. 

Light Syrup (1:1). Use to feed bees in the SPRING. 
1/2 gallon sugar
1/2 gallon hot water.
Mix together and pour into feeder. It doesn’t have to be exact.
Feed bees in the spring until there is a steady nectar flow, they have drawn comb in most of the frames in the bottom box, and they have two full frames of honey. In 2012 in Utah, this never happened, and beekeepers had to feed bees the entire summer, due to a drought. 

Plan on feeding pollen substitute as your package gets started as well. Purchase pollen substitute commercially-made in the form of patties or powder. Mix the powder according to package directions so that it is about the consistency of cookie dough.  

Heavy Syrup (2:1). Use to feed bees in EARLY FALL. 
1 gallon sugar
1/2 gallon hot/boiling water, or enough to fill the container.
Mix together and add to feeder. It doesn’t have to be exact. 

Your hive should be about 100 pounds, gross weight, going into winter. This includes the lid, bottom board, frames, bees, and 2 deep boxes. If bees do not have adequate honey stores, feed heavy syrup to make sure there is enough honey to make it through the winter. 

Do I feed pollen in the fall? 
Pollen is often stored under honey in the hive, and bees probably will have more than you think. Also, extra pollen stimulates brood-rearing, which bees need to slow down for winter. However, if you are trying to “brood up” for almond pollination, you may want to feed pollen to encourage brood-rearing. It depends on your intentions for bees in the early spring.

Inside the sugar tote

Note about the ratios for the chemist out there: 
Sometimes people get confused about if they should use weight or volume measurements when mixing sugar syrup. We weighed a cup of granulated sugar and a cup of water. They both weighed 8 oz. This means ounces by weight and ounces by volume can be interchange on both water and granulated sugar. 

We use division board feeder trays that replace a frame in the hive. We mix the sugar syrup then pour it into a garden watering can. The watering can is useful to pour sugar syrup into the feeder tray. 

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