Ratios of Sugar Syrup for Feeding Bees
Many people know that beekeepers feed their bees sugar syrup. This is done to stimulate faster buildup of the colony or to ensure the bees have enough food for the winter. But, did you know that there are different ways of mixing the sugar syrup for different purposes? Well, here are four different formulas, for sugar to water ratio, and their uses.
1:2 One part sugar to two parts water. This makes a very light syrup that is used in late winter and early spring to stimulate the queen to lay eggs. It also helps to stimulate comb building since bees need more space to store the syrup.
1:1 One part sugar to one part water. This makes a medium weight syrup that is used during spring and summer to feed the brood larvae and to encourage comb building. Due to the high water content it is not advisable to use during summer or winter. It is used in preparing other bee foods such as pollen patties or essential oil supplements.
2:1 Two parts sugar to one part water. This makes a heavy syrup that is ideal for adding weight to hives in the fall. The low water content makes it possible for the bees to store the syrup almost immediately without much additional processing. This is the most widely used syrup, by commercial beekeepers, and is often made with High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar.
3:1 Three parts sugar to one part water. This makes a very thick syrup which is used during cold winters. This syrup has the lowest moisture content and is less likely to freeze. This syrup has almost no stimulation of laying.
The actual measurements will depend on how much syrup you want to make. For example, 1:1 requires one cup sugar for every one cup of water. This would yield approximately two cups of syrup. For 2:1 syrup you would use two cups of sugar for every one cup of water.
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