How to feed honey bees

You’re new to the world of honey bees, and the new colony being established needs to be fed in order to provide a steady flow of energy to produce new brood, wax honeycomb, and other essentials necessary for a healthy happy hive.  Here are several different techniques you can use to feed your bees eitherdirectly or indirectly.  Some of the feeding techniques require little to no skill, while some may require some basic carpentry skills.

The best time to feed your bees is in the early evening around 6pm when the workers have finished the majority of their harvesting.  When using one of the first two feeding techniques, be sure to put the feeders far enough away from your hives that robbing (or stealing from different hives) does not occur.  Feed your bees only an amount they can gather within a single day.

Method 1:  Bowl Feeding

The simplest and easiest of all honey bee feeding methods, bowl feeding has been used by apiarists all over the globe for thousands of years because it works.  When in doubt, the bowl method is a reliable fallback.  Simply fill a bow with wood chips or sticks, and then top it off with your desired food (sugar/water mix, nectar gold, etc…).  The wood scraps are essential to ensuring the honey bees don’t drown in the food source.  Although this method may be the easiest, it can also attract a lot of unwanted visitors like wasps, so use at your discretion.

Method 2:  Mason Jar Feeding

This method is also fairly simple and eliminates the need for wood chips.  This method is also much cleaner than the bowl feeder.  It also reduces evaporation and protects the feed from contamination.  First select a mason jar and thoroughly clean with a light natural soap.  Punch several holes in the lid.  Fill the mason jar with the food source you’ve chosen and turn upside down.  Place on several napkins and the food will drain out, into the napkins where the bees can drink it.  This technique also leaves the food open to other insects but is a great alternative to bowl feeding.

Method 3:  Inner Hive Feeder

The optimal method, the inner hive feeder can be made from a variety of materials, but is most often made of wood.  This is the most complicated of the three feeders to make and will require basic carpentry skills.  Start with a box that is the same width as your hive.  Place this on the top most box, and put a tray inside it, placing a mason jar or bowl feeder on the tray.  Make sure the tray is not the full size of the floor so the bees can climb around and on to the tray.  This technique is great for beginning hives and weak colonies because it feeds even the young that cannot fly.

 

Use these simple feeding techniques to provide food for your honey bees, and be sure to use Nectar Gold with every feeding to maximize colony health.

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