Another Idea for Winter Feeding

In response to several questions, I wrote a post on December 11th about the making and use of bee candy for emergency winter feeding. I wrote about the same topic last year. Last week, when I spoke at the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association’s January meeting in St. Louis, it came up again as a question after my presentation. Obviously, it is a subject of perennial interest.

Yesterday, a friend from St. Louis emailed me concerning the conversation at the meeting there, and included a recipe for making and feeding Sugar Mush, a low moisture sugar/water mixture for use in winter. Another beekeeping friend mentioned a similar method in a phone conversation not long ago. As I said in the December post, the major drawback to winter feeding with sugar syrup is the moisture that it introduces into the hive. Offering bee candy, a solid form of sugar, minimizes this problem, but it takes some practice to master the technique of making it. Some beekeepers may find sugar mush a good compromise. It contains less moisture than syrup, but is easier to make than candy. It is almost like using pure granulated sugar, but the small amount of added water makes it easier for the bees to ingest.

The recipe for the sugar slush provided in the above link recommends feeding in a plastic bag using a rim extension. I see no reason why it could not be offered to a hive using a top feeder or even a division board feeder (which replaces a frame in the brood box). It should not be placed directly on the frames, unless in a bag, due to its slushiness. If you decide to try this method, let me know how it works out.

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