I ran across these photos and thought I'd post them again. I put a sugar block on every hive that is in a single or when the cluster is near the top of the hive. 25# cane sugar one quart cider vinegar sprinkle of electrolytes 1-2 T citric acid (Found in your canning dept) splash of pro Health...
None, None is a perfectly good option there are a lot of very successful beekeepers that supplemental feed with JUST sucrose. I sometimes use some thymol in my syrup to keep it from spoiling. I have used Lauris recipe for syrup and bricks and my bees loved it, but they like plain sugar just as much, and I think they did just as well on it, just a thought.
I agree. Unless you know that the particular "essential oil" has a defined benefit it probably serves no more than "feel good" exercise for the beekeeper. You may be forcing the bees to tolerate something they would rather do without. Shades of JWP's signature line that "My bees are doing quite well despite my attempts to help them"!
There are useful exceptions; Thymol or bleach does prevent souring and molding of feed. Oil of wintergreen has been used when acarine mites were an issue but it had a specific purpose in disrupting the mites ability to target a specific aged bee.
Scented sprays such as vanilla, pepermint, cinnamon etc. can be used to combine bees from different colonies. It messes up their smell sense tribal identity but it would not be a good presence on an ongoing basis.
I've had good success for many years with a cut down version of Lauri Miller's recipe, which is as follows:
o 6.25 pounds of white cane sugar
o cup of apple cider vinegar
o One pinch of electrolyte powder
o 1/4 - 1/2 table spoon of citric acid
o Splash of Pro Health, &/or 4 drops of spearmint &/or lemon grass essential oil.
o I also add 2 drops of thyme essential oil for V-mite control
I make into a patty, dice into cubes, and dry overnight on top of my water heater.
I feed by the handful as required during quick and dirty inspections.
I started out using HBH or a drop or two of lemongrass oil when I started making sugar blocks but stopped a couple of years later. The bees take the plain sugar blocks just as fast and it is one less step in the process of making them. I am currently working on no longer needing sugar blocks by making sure the hives have plenty of stores before winter comes.
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