Feeding Bees

Feed Ready Reckoner

When making syrup to feed bees it is essential to get the proportions correct.  This Feed Mix Calculator is designed to help by showing how much water to add to a given weight of sugar (the stored value) and what the final volume of feed will result.  Both metric and imperial measures are shown.

Although the sugar syrup has no scent as far as the bees are concerned once they come into contact with it they will quickly pass the message of a new food supply.  To reduce the chance of robbing, by bees or wasps, when feeding bees:

  • do so in the evening when bees are less active
  • do not spill syrup in the apiary
  • reduce the entrances to enable bees to defend their stores.

It is important to make sure that the stored sugar syrup does not get into the honey supers.  If necessary remove supers until the feed has been taken down and stored in the brood chamber.

Finally don’t forget that beekeepers can join Bookers Wholesale on production of your BDI Certificate and buy low cost sugar.


A simple recipe for making up emergency feed for when the weather is too cool for syrup.

You will need

  • 8″ saucepan
  • 2 kg. white granulated sugar
  • 350 gm. water (a 1 lb. honey jar full to brim)
  • 3 x 500 gm. margarine, or 2 x 900 ml ice cream tubs Carte D’or or similar, with lids.


Put the water into the 8″ saucepan.  Heat the saucepan and slowly add the 2 kg. of white granulated sugar stirring constantly. When the mixture has just come to the boil – turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes. A crust will start to form on the top of the mixture.  Stir until the mixture begins to thicken and turn a milky colour.  When cool enough pour out into the three 500 gm. Margarine Tubs or two 900 ml. Ice Cream containers leaving a bee space gap. Keep the candy in a cool dry place with a lid on until ready to use.

Feeding Bees download

 This guide is published in English and Welsh by the Welsh Assembly Government in conjunction with the FERA and the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association.  The pdf version can be viewed and downloaded by clicking the appropriate link below.


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