Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...
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  1. #1

    Default Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Does anyone use solid food to feed their bees? I know that lots of people add it as supplemental (emergency) food during the winter if their colonies stores are on the light side. I?m wondering if there would be any problems using it in place of syrup to keep them occupied during other times. For instance, right now we don?t have much available as far as nectar resources and all of my colonies have been fed to bring their weight up. We have been experiencing some very warm weather for this time of year and I would assume that the bees are eating through more stores than usual. Would Putting a candy Brick or Sugar Block our for them prevent them from eating up their honey? Any harm in doing so other than the cost?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    I'd say no harm but watch the landing board for your money going out the front door. Even during the middle of winter after they've been eating on the bricks, the first warm period and my trash haulers are busy getting rid of the "schtuff" on the top bars.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3

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    I have seen that happen with ?sugar bricks?.
    I have not seen it with hard candy.
    What are your thoughts on feeding 3:1 sugar syrup as opposed to 2:1 in the fall?

  5. #4
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    Default

    2 : 1 is about as heavy as you can get the syrup. It just won't dissolve and suspend in the water much heavier than that. I have found that even just slightly above that the sugar eventually will recrystallize. J

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    In my opinion, syrup works a lot better for actual feeding. In my opinion, solids are only good for cold weather emergency feeding when hive access is limited - - these are my opinions though and others (I am sure) will feel different.

    One thing to be careful of now is that since your hives are up to weight, you don't want them back filling the brood nest area. The queens are still laying and need room. It might be better to check hive weight and then decide to feed or not.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    yes, I use sugar bricks year round on the smaller hives. Less robbing than syrup. I also put a sugar brick in each hive as "insurance" after I get each hive up to the desired weight in capped stores.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    We put sugar bricks on all of the hives in November. Last winter had to add more in January. Warm winter, bees flying almost every day, they ate through their honey stores and where in food trouble by mid January.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Winter is actually here. With the exception of today and yesterday our days have been in the 40's. Have had a couple days of snow already. 2-5 inches or more.

    We have sugar bricks from last year we are going to place but thought we'd try fondant as well since we have VSH and Saskatraz. Might end up hauling out more than I'd like.

    We have a very small hive we put bricks on already. Not sure if that one will even make the winter but we are going to try.
    4a

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Ruthiesbees
    yes, I use sugar bricks year round on the smaller hives. Less robbing than syrup. I also put a sugar brick in each hive as "insurance" after I get each hive up to the desired weight in capped stores.
    I don't want to side track this thread too far but you perked my interest. How have you noticed your bees using this? Have you ever seen them seem to store and cap the dry stuff. I ask cause I had sugar blocks on some hives last year over winter and they used the sugar brick and also drew some comb and everything was full come spring. Some of the fullness and comb drawing might be due to early blooming trees.

    What have you noticed all year. I see you say you still have to bring the hives up to weight and so I jump to the conclution that they don't store the dry stuff.
    thank you
    gww
    zone 5b

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    I fed my bees sugar bricks during the dearth - mid july and august around here - when I did an apiguard treatment. They gobbled em up. A lot easier than liquid feed. Then goldenrod started and they were on that. Probably ate about 10 pounds of sugar per hive. I also do it in winter. More like 20 pounds. Part of my thinking was they'd eat the sugar during the dearth instead of their stores. I haven't fed any liquid this year and the hives are heavy going into October.

  12. #11

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    I have made a bunch in preparation for winter. One of them broke so I figured I would see what the interest was from the bees. I put out a few pieces and they were on it like white on rice.
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  13. #12
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    bhh
    I fed my bees sugar bricks during the dearth - mid july and august around here - when I did an apiguard treatment. They gobbled em up. A lot easier than liquid feed. Then goldenrod started and they were on that. Probably ate about 10 pounds of sugar per hive. I also do it in winter. More like 20 pounds. Part of my thinking was they'd eat the sugar during the dearth instead of their stores. I haven't fed any liquid this year and the hives are heavy going into October.
    Yes, that is part of the reason I was asking, it does sorta seem like it could be easier sometimes then liquid if it performed and was used by the bees in a simular manner.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    Ruthiesbees


    I don't want to side track this thread too far but you perked my interest. How have you noticed your bees using this? Have you ever seen them seem to store and cap the dry stuff. I ask cause I had sugar blocks on some hives last year over winter and they used the sugar brick and also drew some comb and everything was full come spring. Some of the fullness and comb drawing might be due to early blooming trees.

    What have you noticed all year. I see you say you still have to bring the hives up to weight and so I jump to the conclution that they don't store the dry stuff.
    thank you
    gww
    I never see them storing it, but through my windows in the hive, I see the worker bees on it continuously. For a small 5 comb nuc, I've replaced the brick twice since June when I did the split. The foragers are still gathering nectar and pollen, but it seems to give them the extra edge. I tend to run very small nucs without a large field force.

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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Ruthiesbees
    Thank you for answering my question.
    gww
    zone 5b

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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    I never see them storing it, but through my windows in the hive, I see the worker bees on it continuously. For a small 5 comb nuc, I've replaced the brick twice since June when I did the split. The foragers are still gathering nectar and pollen, but it seems to give them the extra edge. I tend to run very small nucs without a large field force.
    During the warm months they don't carry it out of the hive?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz-kill View Post
    During the warm months they don't carry it out of the hive?
    Not when it is in brick form. I don't use the "mountain camp" method where you pour flowable sugar in the hive. It's an actual brick. 3 cups of sugar to 1/4 cup water. Mix and press into a pan. Let dry for a week inside and it's hard as a rock.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    Not when it is in brick form. I don't use the "mountain camp" method where you pour flowable sugar in the hive. It's an actual brick. 3 cups of sugar to 1/4 cup water. Mix and press into a pan. Let dry for a week inside and it's hard as a rock.
    I have been making a lot of blocks using a modified Lauri method, for winter feed. Mine are made with 10 lbs of sugar, 1 1/4 cup of vinegar and a bit of citric acid. That fills 3 1/2 cookie sheets that fits my dehydrator. I make two batches at a time (6 - 1/2 cookie sheets), just hand mixed, compressed into the sheets. The bees love the blocks. I bought a dehydrator to make it easier to dry and harden them.

    I add some lemon grass oil, spearmint stirred into the vinegar, before dumped into the sugar.

    I will try feeding them the blocks during our dearths, after honey harvest, which is basically July and August. We were feeding them liquid feed, sure would be easier to toss a block on!

    I put crumbs out a month or so back and they sure attacked them!
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz-kill View Post
    During the warm months they don't carry it out of the hive?
    I don’t think they deliberately take the the sugar out of the hive as it’s something useful to them. But if it falls into the “housekeeping area”, it’ll be treated as a foreign object and carted out.
    I’m finding out that syrup is more advantageous than bricks in the warmer weather, IMO keeping a tank feeder in the hive is well worth the two frames of stores that it takes up.
    Rod

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by rwlaw View Post
    I don’t think they deliberately take the the sugar out of the hive as it’s something useful to them. But if it falls into the “housekeeping area”, it’ll be treated as a foreign object and carted out.
    I’m finding out that syrup is more advantageous than bricks in the warmer weather, IMO keeping a tank feeder in the hive is well worth the two frames of stores that it takes up.
    Why do you find liquid advantageous over bricks?

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Feeding Sugar Bricks, Candy , Fondant, etc...

    I made some monkey bread yesterday (cinnamon roll) and miss jugded my ingrediants. Ended up with a cup and a half or more of exess cinnamon and sugar and probly some butter bits. I put it out on the bottom of a five gal bucket that had a tiny bit of water on it but mostly the sugar was dry. It has one heck of a cluster of bees on it and they have it about half or more gone already. I doubt they are carrying it off since it is more then 100 yards from the hives. They seem to be finding some way to use it. I don't know about all the solids in it but figure it is probly no worse then the soda cups that they are scavanging at the gas station trash cans.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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