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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    126

    Default Sugar Block Year Round

    Hello All,

    I am a total newbee waiting to get my first 2 hives in the spring. While waiting, I have been busy building the necessary equipment to house the new hives. Now that the boxes and bottom boards are built, it is time to focus on building the feeders.

    In looking at the feeders that are available from the different suppliers, I notice that there is a potential problem with bees drowning in the sugar syrup. Plus, leaking syrup has been another issue. Because of those issues, why couldn't I feed the bees sugar blocks year round instead of just in the winter? There won't be drowning or leaking issues, obviously. I realize that because the block needs to be dissolved by the bees in order to be ingested, water would be an important resource next to the hives which is in my plan. Building a candy board would be alot easier than a syrup feeder.

    Has anyone done this? Am I missing something because this seems to be a no-brainer? I've never made a sugar block but have watched a few videos and it doesn't look too bad.

    I welcome your advice!

    Thanks in advance!

    Eric

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    I guess that you could, but syrup is easier for the bees to process. There are many ways to feed syrup without drowning bees. The main reason for feeding dry products is that bees will not take syrup below 50 degrees.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,629

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Welcome to Beesource!

    If you feed sugar year round, you will likely have "sugar" in the combs where your honey would normally be stored. What are your goals for your beekeeping?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Welcome!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    I wasn't planning on feeding year round but when the bees do need food, I was thinking of using a sugar block instead of syrup.
    It would keep me from having to find a design that doesn't leak or drown the bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,629

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    The simplest way to feed without drowning or leaking issues is simply to use granulated sugar. In the winter the preferred method is to put the sugar on top of a piece of newspaper directly on top of the frames. At other times, access to the hive is improved if you put the sugar on top of a board with an access hole for the bees. This could be an inner cover, or you could make something specifically to act as a dry feeder.

    But given that you are in Georgia, I would think your need to feed would be relatively minimal once your bees have settled in and built out appropriate comb. I think you will find that bees much prefer nectar to candy or dry sugar. If you want them to take your feed, syrup is closer to nectar than a solid feed.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,576

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Have you try to do a search on this forum on feeding yet? There are many ways to feed syrup or dry sugar. It seems like dry form is for the cold region and syrup for the warm region during the winter time. The reason is the concern over condensation inside the hive with the cold temp. The latest I read is using a chicken feeder but use a marble or pebble to block out the big entrance so the bees cannot get inside the feeder. What work out for me is to put a giant syrup feeder inside an empty hive on a shallow pan lined with thin sponge pads for the bees to land on. Cut the sponge pads to line up the pan like a puzzle pattern but with small gaps in between so the bees can put their tongue in to feed on the gaps. So far no drowning yet. On sugar block feeding some just pour a cup of water directly onto the one pound bag after cutting an opening slot. Then invert the block over onto the hive. The bees will eventually chewed off the wet paper and feed on this way. No messy stuff to play with. The dry sugar will help to absorb water too inside the hive. I'm not too concern over them drowning (problem solved) but rather to keep them well fed during this cold winter months.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    480

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Mel Disselkoen......
    Feed sugar bricks year round
    http://www.mdasplitter.com/docs/SugarBricks2.pdf
    http://youtu.be/qIYz65Vquxg


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,629

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    On sugar block feeding some just pour a cup of water directly onto the one pound bag after cutting an opening slot.
    This ratio will result in 2:1 syrup. Not good if you are placing it directly onto the frames. Perhaps you were thinking of a ten pound bag of sugar, instead of a 1 pound bag?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,526

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    I've seen one southern nuc producer that kept an open 55 gallon drum of granulated sugar available at all times for the bees. I'm not a fan of this method (and I'd be less of a fan if it were my neighbor doing this), but it can be done as a way to insure enough "forage" so that none of the bees starve...especially if you have hundreds of colonies in a very small area.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,456

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    I use the Kelley hivetop feeders. Won't leak until they crack or are damages since they are one piece plastic moldings, no drowning to speak of since there is a screen for the bees to walk on, and that screen also means there are no bees above the feeder unless the top doesn't fit right. Easy to fill.

    I would only feed when starting off a new hive and if, and only if, the hive is too light in the fall. You need to start off the new hive with all the help you can to get them up and going well -- feed until they have drawn and filled with brood or honey whatever you are going to winter them on. In your case, a deep or equivalent is probably enough, or a deep and a shallow that you will leave in place. Once they have done that, stop feeding and add supers, since you may get honey in a good year. Don't feed with honey supers in place unless you plan to leave them for the bees, sugar "honey" isn't actually the same as nectar processed into honey, and the bees won't separate them. Feed 1:1 for buildup, and put a protein patty on there too at least once -- you don't want a lagging hive because they have too few bees to collect enough on their own to start with.

    Leave them on their own, but check -- if they start moving up and leave the bottom box empty, they are not getting enough forage and you should feed a first year hive, and if they don't have enough honey stored in late August or early September, you should feed 2:1 syrup until they have adequate stores for your winter.

    Leaving sugar bricks on the hive all year is going to encourage ants and put sugar syrup in you honey supers when they start to fill them, and the bees are limited in what they can use from sugar bricks by how fast syrup forms on the surface. They will take syrup much, much faster so long as it's warm, and they should be wintering on stored honey, not supplied feed anyway.

    Peter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Sugar Block Year Round

    Thank you everyone for your kind advice.
    I was reading another thread http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...464-My-Feeders that was discussing different feeders and I think I am going to get a few Tractor Supply poultry waterers for syrup feeding and watering. From the comments, this sounds like the perfect solution.
    With that issue resolved, onto making the inner covers.
    Thanks again for the advice and I'm sure you'll be hearing some other dumb questions coming out of this profile!

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