Feeding bees honey, not sugar syrup

Small sticks keep the bees from getting stuck in the raw honey

I have a strong opinion the best food for bees is the honey and pollen they have collected themselves–I’m reluctant to feed my bees sugar. 

The standard approach for feeding bees is to use sugar syrup, or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and although these will keep the bees alive it’s a destructive practice.  I think there are better options. 

The best solution is to put in a spare frame of honey from another hive, but this is my only top bar hive and I don’t have any surplus frames of honey.   

Several beekeepers talk about making honey syrup by adding water, but it quickly ferments and spoils.  There is also some discussion about feeding liquid honey, but there are problems with bees getting stuck and drowning in the sticky liquid. 

Fortunately there is still some empty space in front of the hive, and I could fit in a pint of honey covered with sticks.  The twigs give the bees a place to stand without getting stuck, and I used the thickest, most crystalized honey I had to prevent the “drowning” factor. 

It will take a few days before the bees move all the honey into the comb themselves–the observation window is a very useful to monitor their progress.  When its empty, I’ll refill the tub and repeat the process.  This way they will store the honey in the comb, and I’ll be able to remove the feeder dish before it’s in the way.

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