2022 Sep 9 – Feeding Bees

With the fall in Virginia comes dry days with little or no rain. Honey bees are not native to Virginia (or the United States) and struggle to find food, especially nectar. Left on their own honey bees tend to eat what food stores they have, putting them at a severe disadvantage going into winter.

Most Virginia beekeepers, myself included, feed their bees in the fall. A thick sugar syrup with 2 parts sugar to 1 part water encourages the bees to store the syrup in the comb. While syrup does not have some of the nutrients bees might need, it produces less waste than nectar and is a good food source for the winter months, when the bees might not leave the hive for weeks at a time. In more northern climates, bees might not leave the hive for months at a time.

I prefer feeders like the one shown in the picture, where the bees are trapped in the hive and don’t fly around while adding additional syrup. The bees climb up through a hole in the middle, and then down the wire mesh to the waiting syrup. The box is actually level, even though it does not appear so in the picture.

May you prosper and find honey.

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