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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Livingston County, NY
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    542

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Wicks sell 55 gallon drums of ACV. I put it in drinking water for cows, chickens, goats, etc. & in me too. (braggs raw vinegar)

    I didn't see that anyone mentioned that RAW not pasturized ACV is probably best.


    http://wickslivestock.com/convention...-cider-vinegar
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    thomasville, north carolina USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I was able to get in both hives last night after work around 5:00. I was pleased when opening my small hive with the bees i saw. I put 2 separate bricks over the cluster and few bees went right to it. Big hive i did the same with 2 bricks. Ill need to make some more just in case. Thanks Lauri and everyone else with their input.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    2,247

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Maybe try this? I have 2" shims on my hives, so I just take sugar & dump into brown paper lunch bags ... maybe about 2lbs in each. Smooth the bag down so it'll fit on top of the frames within the shims, replace lid, done. I find that the moisture in the hive solidifies the sugar (thru the bag) enough so that when the bees chew thru the bag, the sugar does not fall down between the frames. You can certainly mix in some dry pollen in with the sugar, should you wish.

    Works for me.......
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox OA Vaporizer,
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  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    610

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Laurie,

    I wanted to thank you for posting your recipe. I was intrigued when you first wrote about it, but with one thing and another the time never seemed quite right. I made 6 lbs worth of Laurie's Recipe blocks yesterday and they turned out just fine. (If you don't count the fact that I was using thin aluminum foil pans trays which caused the dried blocks to crack a bit -- I need to put the foil trays on cookie sheets next time!)

    I didn't use any protein sub on this batch as I am broodless now, and since I am in northern NY I didn't want to make things hard for my bees as we still have a long, frigid, January, with limited flying time, to get through.

    However, after 10 days of very unseasonably cold weather (below zero air temps at night), today was the day and almost as soon as I slipped the sugar blocks in the girls found them and started having a roaring bee-party. I have never done anything for them that they appeared to appreciate as much. Most of the time they exhibit, at best, a grudging tolerance for my earnest efforts. Whether, as you say, the bees' morale is improved, or not, I know my own sense of bee-competence was hugely bouyed today. As a first year beekeeper, it always seems like I am teetering on the edge of disaster, and I often fear coming here to Beesource lest I will learn of yet another reason I am failing my bees.

    But, today, I have my three hives cleaned out, tidied up, successfully moved to their ultimate location, possibly sufficiently reoriented enough to survive the first time they go out en masse, mouse-guarded, and most importantly, having a fabulous sugar "cookie" munch, just in time for Christmas. (My husband dubbed my project making Christmas Cookies for the Bees, so I used a pastry bag to write Merry Christmas in honey on top of each block.)

    So, thank you so much for posting the recipe and pictures, and I hope you and your family and all your bees have a warm, sweet Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Enjambres

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
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    257

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Enjambres, let us all know how your hives do over the winter! Your weather is a bit colder than our here in the PNW, but drier, I would think?

    I moulded 2" balls of pollen substitute and flattened them, then pressed those disks into the surface of the cooling sugar bricks. That way the bees can choose if they want a little protein snack or not. Our bees were bringing in lots of pollen right into November, so they should have lots of bee bread on hand.

    But several of my hives, through various mishaps, were light going into winter. I will follow Lauri's recipe (even made her screened inner covers) and hope that helps them get through.

    2012/2013 winter losses ranged from 25-90% in our bee club. And that takes in a wide range of hobbyists, new-bees, serious hobbyists, small business and huge pollination and honey operations. A complete range, some medicate constantly, some are treatment free, and we alas did not examine why such wide differences in outcomes.

    One thing I am thinking about as well is: if the colonies are supported through the winter, and come out strong, how do I go about building a strong population of mid-June foragers without triggering swarming? Advice welcome!

  6. #66

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I have only one thought on Laurie recipe. If you back off on the water a little bite you will not need the dehydrated. I got a recipe about the same time as this thread started that had only 3 cups of water to 16lb of sugar. I use a 1/2 drill to mix.
    David

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,070

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I have a monster drill that I could mix with if I could find a paddle that would stand up to it. this thing could mix sugar by the 55 gallon drum. we used it to drill 1 inch plus holes into a tree stump some 3 feet deep.

    I also have a concrete mixer that woudl work for large batches.

    Just thinking ahead to when a 5 gallon bucket no longer gets it done. at the rate I am expanding that will be next fall. 5 gallon pails of syrup will not be all that great next spring. I need to get out there and take advantage of sugar prices now before they go back up.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I tried another method...where you fill your moulds with sugar, pour in 2:1 syrup and put everything in a warm dry place to cure. I found that a bit messy. The syrup did not reach all the sugar, and often left a thick goo on the top of the brick...would mix the two in a separate container first. The advantage there is if you want to incorporate bee teas into the syrup, you aren't cooking the tea.

    I don't have tons of colonies, so the more time consuming method of cooking the syrup into a softish fondant works for me. The fondant bricks are easier to store and handle: they are solid but not too hard, aren't sticky or oozy.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    880

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I made a 1/3 batch, but it turned out all gooey . . . ?

    I calculated the proportions for a 1/3 batch from the original posted proportions to be:

    16.5 cups granulated sugar (edited to add: this is the error. As pointed out below, 8.3 lbs of sugar is actually 18.9 cups)
    1.3 cups cider (1 quart = 4 cups. 1/3 of 4 cups = 1.3 cups)
    2 tsp citric acid (1 Tbs = 3 tsp. 1/3 of 2 Tbs = 2 tsp
    0.5 tsp Honey-B-Healthy
    (I went simple and left out the electrolytes)

    Baked at 170F for 8 hours. Allowed to cool overnight.

    After cooling, the product is a very stiff gooey consistency, and not nearly as dry as the posted photos. I am afraid it would slowly ooze between the frames if I were to put it into my hives.

    I can't figure out what I did wrong. Did I somehow screw-up the conversion to a 1/3 batch. Did I over cook it?

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-24-2013 at 10:23 AM.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,067

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    If it is not burned brown you have little to worry about. The easy fix is just mix in dry sugar to absorb the excess moisture. Or just put down newspaper on top bars and pour a couple pounds of dry sugar on and set the candy on top. Merry Christmas.

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    6,341

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    > 16.5 cups granulated sugar (1/3 of 25 lbs sugar = 8.3 lbs.)

    According to this calculator, 8.3 lbs of granulated sugar is equivalent to 18.9 cups of sugar:
    http://www.traditionaloven.com/conve...r_amounts.html



    Sugar does not have the same density as water. While close enough may work fine for making syrup, baking is not necessarily as forgiving.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  12. #72
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    880

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Good to know that I can still use this first batch.

    My sugar conversion was from the Domino sugar website, with no mention that the stated 1 lb = 2 cups was approximate. Thanks Rader.
    Last edited by shinbone; 12-24-2013 at 07:50 AM.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,341

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I looked at the Domino's page when I was looking for the converter linked in post #71 above.

    They are not very helpful suggesting that water and sugar have the same density - that is simply not true. One would expect better from a sugar manufacturer.

    Here is a similar page from C&H Sugar:
    http://www.chsugar.com/baking-tips-h...re-equivalents

    Using the C&H chart, 8.3 lbs of granulated would be 18.75 cups.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,681

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Not sure about the conversion,I've never measured out 25# of sugar per cup. Also, I don't bake mine, I dry or dehydrate it. Baking may melt the sugar.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
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    542

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Lauri, where did you get the electrolytes, & how much do you use? V-C?

    Made four of your screened I.C.'s Great Idea. need to make 60 full size. I put planer shavings for moisture, & Hi-R inside tel.covers. I hate opening hives when it's this cold (25f) Now I can @ least see where they're @.
    I ordered Betterbee's "Winter Patties" I hope that they will do until I remedy drying "Lauri's Recipe." I have only an oven & long term use would be an issue w/the warden. Wax paper w/out drying a bad idea?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    610

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I calculated that a ONE-QUARTER recipe would work out like this:

    14.1 cups of Domino's cane sugar I used a the same Traditional Oven baking site noted above to do the lbs/cup conversion. (BTW, the cheapest place I've found for cane sugar is BJ's Wholesale Club where it's $9.69 for 25 lbs. Feeding sugar at grocery store prices would be ruinously expensive, I think.) It's possible there is a moisture difference between cane and beet sugar.

    Edited to add this: Laurie is using lbs of sugar, perhaps directly from marked bags which generally have a bit more than the stated amount. I was using a glass (liquid) measuring cup and was sort of shaking it down to get an even on top. In "real" baking this would be expected to throw off the actual measurements by being MORE than the stated amount you would get by the "dip and sweep" dry ingredient measurement technique with a conventional dry-ingredient measuring cup. So in both Laurie's and my case we may actually be using a somewhat more sugar than our stated amounts, resulting in a dryer product. The next batch I make I'll compare both my measuring methods and see if there was a notable difference.

    1 cup of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

    1/8th teaspoon of electrolytes (same brand as Laurie showed, purchased at Tractor Supply for a few bucks)

    1.5 teaspoons of USP citric acid (from health food coop). I was using the higher amount in Laurie's recipe converted this way 2T X 3 (for T/t conversion) = 6/ one-fourth recipe = 1.5 tsp. At first I thought it smelled very sour and I was a little worried, as it also tasted quite sour when raw. But the palpable sourness dissipated, perhaps as part of the sugar inversion process.

    This yielded two almost "quarter sheet pans" (a technical baking size) with the sugar mix firmly tamped down to a depth of about 1". I pre-scored (all the way to the bottom ofthe mixture, not just on the surface) the pans in thirds across the short dimension. I'm glad Laurie suggested scoring it before drying, because afterward it simply wouldn't work.

    My pans were thin aluminum trays from the grocery store and that resulted in late-stage cracking when I rotated them in the dehydrator. Sturdier baking pans would avoid this and also allow easier loading as the sides of the aluminum foil tray can't take a rolling pin as Laurie showed, so I had to pat it down instead. The cracked pieces weren't a problem except it takes a little longer to slide them into the hive, which on cold days might be an issue.

    The order of mixing was this: Measure the sugar into a five-gallon bucket I had set aside for this purpose (way overkill for this small batch); then mix the electrolytes and citric acid into the cup of vinegar, stir and then add the liquid to the sugar in a two or three stages. At first I stirred with a wooden spoon, but found it was easier to just roll up my sleeve and do it by hand, especially to mix in the sugar along the perimeter of the base. A stand mixer would work, too. Then I scooped up handfuls of it and loaded it into the trays and patted it down, firmly. I think uneveness of depth and firmness may promote cracking. The texture as I was loading it was like wet sand, or dryish mortar. The trays dried down to be very firm; you could hold one up by the corner and it wouldn't break off. The edges are a little rough and "sandy". They looked exactly like Laurie's except I didn't have any Ultra-Bee on top as it's too early for that here, I think.

    After they were dry, I mixed up a few drops of HBH with warm water and used my finger tip to paint it on the top surface (as if my bees would need that to discover these treats!), and as I mentioned I took a pastry bag of honey and wrote Merry Christmas on each brick (mostly to tease my husband who was watching jealously because he had been hoping for human Christmas cookies).

    I have to say that my girls are WILD about this concoction. I am headed out today to my food Co-op to lay in a supply of Bragg's in gallon jugs as I have a pre-Christmas sale coupon for 20% off.

    Enj.
    Last edited by enjambres; 12-24-2013 at 09:34 AM.

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
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    895

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I was too lazy to do the conversions for those 1/2 or 1/4 batches. I went to a straight 1/10th batch, much easier just move the decimal . 25#=2.5#, 1 quart (32 oz)= 3.2 oz and then I just used the 1/8 tsp of vitamins. In a kitchen sized mixer I just mixed the vitamins with the ACV, then did 2 cups of the sugar at a time with an ounce of the ACV. 6 cups to a full batch, then dump in 5 gallon bucket and repeat.

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by rweakley View Post
    I was too lazy to do the conversions
    I'm going to give this way a shot... I've had some that came out perfect and others that turned into ballistic gel... Or soft jolly rancher... *shrugs*
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
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    271

    Thumbs Up Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinR View Post
    I'm going to give this way a shot... I've had some that came out perfect and others that turned into ballistic gel... Or soft jolly rancher... *shrugs*
    One cup of Vinegar to 10 lbs of sugar will work too. Just mix it up so it feels like wet snow and then mash down to block size and into the oven at 150 for two hrs.

  20. #80
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    Jun 2011
    Location
    thomasville, north carolina USA
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    99

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    I made a 1/3 batch, but it turned out all gooey . . . ?

    I can't figure out what I did wrong. Did I somehow screw-up the conversion to a 1/3 batch. Did I over cook it?

    Any suggestions?
    Shinbone my first came out real bad then I tried again and this one came out perfect

    1 bag 4 pound of sugar from walmart
    1/3 cup of bragg vinegar
    4 teaspoon bee pro
    1/4 teaspoon of the electrolytes

    Mix real good, I used a cookie sheet pan and laid parchment paper down and I spread the mixture on the parchment paper and lightly rolled it out with a rolling pin. I used my pizza cutter to cut 6 blocks. I have a dial oven so I put a meat thermometer in to make sure it was around 170 degrees and then baked for 2 hours and checked. I then left it in the pan on a cooling rack until the next morning then stored them in air tight container

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