Bee Feeding Part 2: How To Feed Bees

How To Feed Bees?

Now that you learned why, when and what to feed honey bees, the next question we’re going to answer is “how do you feed honey bees?” There are many options for feeding honey bees. Here are some bee feeder supplies you can use:

Top Feeder

One way is using a top feeder. In the video, Adrian the Bee Farmer uses the Hive Doctor Top Feeder which simply goes on top of your beehive box. To use this, put your syrup into the tray. In the tray, there is a little cover. The bees will come up through the inside of this tray and access the sugar located inside the cover. So when you're actually feeding the bees, if you come late in the afternoon or at night time, one advantage of this feeder is you can simply unstrap, slide it forward, put your syrup in. The bees aren't actually flying. They're not coming out. You haven't opened it. You haven't disturbed them. So they're nice and calm in there and they can come up and access all the sugar syrup they need when they need it.

Internal Frame Feeder

Another option for feeding is an internal frame feeder which clips apart. One advantage of these feeders is that they do have a ladder inside, so the bees don't drown inside, they can walk in and out, access the sugar syrup and walk back out. You may find very minimal dead bees in this type of feeder compared to the conventional type.

To use the internal frame bee feeder, just remove the lid. You actually have to remove frames for these feeders and it just sits in place of the frames, and then your lid goes on top. However, one important thing to note is that when you're feeding, you really do need to open the beehive to access the frame feeder exposing the bees quite regularly.

Over winter at times of the year when it's very cold, you don't want to disturb the bees, but they might be feeling very light. You might walk past and feel the weight of the beehive. And if one hive's feeling very, very light, if you've left this feeder on at the beginning of winter, on a nice warm morning or a warm day in winter, you can come out and pour some lukewarm sugar syrup onto the bees early in the morning, and that'll give them a chance to get something fed and into their system, especially when they're clustering over winter.

In sugar feeding, 1:1 sugar to water ratio will cause bees to stimulate and the queen will lay more eggs. The bees will build a population and they will draw comb on that. And that's done when you're first starting a beehive, if you transfer a nucleus into a box and you've got a lot of foundation that you want the bees to draw, you would feed one-to-one syrup. That then stimulates the queen to expand and obviously draw comb. You can do a 2:1 ratio before winter. If they don't have enough stores and the bees are light and they only have one frame of honey, you would definitely want to put good five kilos of 2:1 sugar syrup on the bees, each hive, and then come back in a few weeks and check the weight and make sure they've put on weight.

In general, you can use a variety of bee feeder types, just always make sure that the type you choose is appropriate to the climate and the needs of your bees.

If you want to learn more about the wonderful world of beekeeping, be sure to check out ourbeekeeping resources here.