Note: Several readers have requested posts on topics that have already appeared here – this is one of those posts that has been updated and republished.
To help the honey bees survive winter, we add bee candy to their hives in the fall. The candy is made of sugar, water, and high protein pollen substitute; and it’s placed at the top of the hive in winter – ready for the bees should they exhaust their honey reserves.
We mix 1 1/2 lbs. of water with 8 lbs. of sugar; and then heat to a slow boil while stirring. At about 220 – 230°F, candy consistency should be achieved.
After reaching candy consistency, the mixture gets taken off the heat and 1 lb. of high protein pollen substitute is added.
We chose to put the candy in the deep side of a two-sided inner cover. In the summer, the shallow side of the cover faces down and it functions as a typical inner cover. There is a hole in the center that can be used to feed the bees sugar-water from a mason jar. During the winter, the deep side can be used as a mold to hold bee candy. The picture below shows the deep side of the inner cover ready for the candy (the mason jar is covering the center hole and prevents the candy from flowing out when it’s hot).
Once the candy is poured into the inner cover, it takes only minutes to begin setting up.
Two finished inner covers with bee candy hardened are shown below – we make candy for all the hives.
Time to put the covers on the hives.
Inner cover with bee candy ready to go in the hive.
Removing the old inner cover, and brushing the bees back into the hive.
Placing the inner cover on the hive – the candy faces down and hive moisture softens the candy so it’s easy for the bees to eat. This puts the candy at the top of the hive, right where the bees will need it if they run out of their own honey.
That’s it, the bees have an extra source of food this winter – should they need it.