The last few months of a long, cold winter are a dangerous time for your hives. Colonies which have survived into January and February are in danger of starvation should they exhaust their supplies of stored honey. It would be an absolute shame if a colony which survived the harsh winter months starved out in early March.
Candy boards are one of the best and easiest ways to add some emergency food to your hives. To make a small batch of candy boards, you’ll need:
- 10 pounds granulated sugar
- 16 ounces (1 pound) of water
- Large stock pot
- Paper Plates (paper, not plastic or styrofoam)
- Clean 5-Gallon bucket for storage.
1) Add the water to your stock pot, and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
2) When the water begins to boil, add one pound of sugar and stir until it dissolves. A 16 ounce plastic Solo cup makes for a convenient scoop which holds one pound of granulated sugar.
3) Continue adding the sugar, one pound at a time, until it is all dissolved. Your final ratio will be 10 parts of sugar to one part of water.
4) Continue to heat the mixture until it just begins to boil. The mixture will turn a light beige color.
5) Remove the mixture from the heat.
6) Place 6 full-size paper plates on a heat-resistant surface, and then fill each with the sugar solution. For a 10lb batch, I usually fill five plates. Put on your bee suit — this stuff is hot and can cause sweet-tasting burns.
7) After the candy sets (about an hour), transfer the plates to your 5-gallon bucket for easy transport to your beeyard. Leave the candy on the plates, otherwise they will stick together in your bucket.
Now you’re ready to feed your bees!
1) Wait for a warm day. Do not open your hives if the bees are not flying. Typically, you’ll be looking for a day in the mid-40’s.
2) Remove the hive’s outer cover and inner cover.
3) Place an empty super on top of your hive. You can also use a simple 2″ spacer with the same dimensions as your hive.
4) Pop the candy discs out of the paper plates, and stack them inside of the empty super near the center of the hive.
5) Replace your inner cover, outer cover, and rock.
Make some candy, and feed your bees!