Especially during times when natural forage may be scarce, providing supplementary sustenance by making bee syrup can make a significant difference in your colony's well-being. In this blog entry, we shall delve into the art of crafting nutritious syrup to keep your buzzing companions healthy and thriving.
Especially during times when natural forage may be scarce, providing supplementary sustenance in the form of syrup can make a significant difference in your colony's well-being. In this blog entry, we shall delve into the art of crafting nutritious syrup to keep your buzzing companions healthy and thriving.
The Essence of Syrup for Bees
Bee syrup is a concentrated liquid feed, typically composed of sugar and water, aiming to mimic the natural nectar that bees collect from flowers. During periods of nectar dearth or in colder seasons when flowers are scarce, providing syrup ensures that your bees receive the essential carbohydrates they need to fuel their activities and maintain their hive.
Making Bee Syrup
Sugar: Use high-quality, granulated white sugar, avoiding alternatives like brown sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Water: Ensure the water is clean and free of impurities.
The proportion of sugar-to-water, whether making 1:1 or 2:1 syrup, should be determined based on weight, not volume.
Unfortunately, granulated white sugar is actually less dense than water. When compared by volume:
1 cup sugar = ~7 ounces (oz.)
1 cup water = 8 ounces.
So when making 1:1 if you follow the adage of 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar, you are actually making it slightly thinner than of equal proportions. Below is a chart that details the proportions, organized by commonly obtained weights of bags of sugar, which are sold by the pound:
~ 1.25 - 1.50 cups
~ 6.25 - 7.50 cups
~ 12.50 - 15.00 cups
~ 31.25 - 37.50 cups
For the sake of reference, below are some other common volume-based conversions:
1 gallon (gal.) = 4 quarts (qt.)
1 quart (qt.) = 4 cups (c.)
1 cup = 16 tablespoons (tbsp)
1 tbsp, = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
1 pound (lbs.) = 16 ounces (oz.)
Determine Proportions: Reference the chart above to determine how much water and sugar you will need to make the desired amount.
Mixing: Place the measured sugar in a large pot or container. Slowly add water while stirring continuously to help the sugar dissolve completely.
Dissolving: Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not bring the mixture to a boil.
Cooling: Allow the syrup to cool before transferring it to feeders.
Choosing the Right Feeder
Selecting an appropriate feeder is crucial to ensure your bees can access the syrup easily while preventing drowning. Common feeder types include:
Ensure the feeder is securely placed within or near the hive for convenient access by your bees.
Tips and Considerations
Quality Over Quantity: Always prioritize the quality of the syrup. Use clean equipment and fresh ingredients to guarantee the best nutrition for your bees.
Seasonal Adjustments: Modify the sugar-to-water ratio based on the season. During colder months, increase the sugar content to provide additional energy for the bees.
Regular Monitoring: Regularly check the syrup levels in the feeders to ensure a consistent and sufficient supply for your colony.
Mastering the art of crafting syrup for your bees is an essential skill for any dedicated beekeeper, especially one with aspirations of establishing a small commercial apiary. By providing nutritious syrup to your beloved bees during times of need, you're contributing to the health and vitality of your hive.
May your bees thrive and your apiary flourish under your expert care!