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Sugar/water ratio

11410 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Ben Brewcat
In one of the beekeeping classes I took this spring the instructor said to make sugar water you should mark your container at the halfway point and also at the full point, fill to the halfway mark with water and then add sugar until the solution is at the full mark. Is this a better way than just using volume measurements?

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Bees can handle many ratios. If you fill half way with water and then fill with sugar to full, you'll get about 3:2. If you fill half way with sugar and then with water, you'll get about 2:3. Neither will be the usualy 1:1 that is popular for spring. But I have nothing against the 3:2.

"Don't confuse the issue of how you measure. Measure before you mix. In other words, you can't fill a container 1/3 of the way with water, and add sugar until it's 2/3 full and have 1:1 syrup. You'll get more like 2:1 syrup. Likewise, you can't fill it 1/3 of the way with sugar and then add water until it's 2/3 full and have 1:1 syrup. You'll get more like 1:2. You have to measure both separately and then put them together to get an accurate measurement. I find the easiest is to use pints for water and pounds for sugar since the sugar comes in packages marked in pounds and volume is easy to measure for water. So if you know you are going to add 10 pounds of sugar and you want 1:1 then start with 10 pints of boiling water and add the 10 pounds of sugar. "--Michael Bush
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Paul H.-

I don't believe sugar:water ratios are all that critical either. Just remember why your feeding in the first place. If your goal is to give them an energy source and temperatures are warm enough so they'll accept it, make as concentrated a sugar solution as you can. No sense diluting that energy source with any more water than necessary. Even I can boil water on the stove and add sugar until it won't dissolve anymore. Of course, I've gotten lazier. I just fill quart Mason jars about two thirds full with sugar, a splash of lemon or lime juice,add water until full, and throw it in the microwave for a couple of minutes or until the sugar dissolves...and while have the lime juice out I mix up a gin and tonic for this old beekeeper and the bees and I both enjoy our refreshing ****tails! (Interesting it takes just as long to mix my drink as it takes the microwave to dissolve the sugar!!! Of course, if you have more than one hive you either need some friends or learn how to drink excessively!!!)

Got to love this hobby! Sad part is when the nectar flows and they don't need the sugar syrup anymore...I end up drinking alone!
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Thanks very much for the replies. I have another question now. Would it be better to feed HFCS instead of sugar water?
That's a good question, Paul, but I'd like to know the answer to that as well.
IMO, no. I'd rather have sugar water.
current thread running on bee forum:
Dianna Sammataro said in a recent lecture that sucrose seems to be the most innocuous non-honey feed.
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