View Full Version : Feeding Dry Granulated Sugar

Nov 13th 2008, 06:55 PM
Is anyone on this forum using dry sugar over newspaper as emergency feed or even just 'insurance' this year?


Jan 15th 2009, 09:35 PM
after finding mold all through my hive from using pail feeders im going to try it

Jan 15th 2009, 10:44 PM
Good luck, post some pictures, and let us know how it goes.

Jan 22nd 2009, 07:47 PM
after finding mold all through my hive from using pail feeders im going to try it

I don't use the dry sugar. But I read it does work really well. Helps to suck up the moisture from the hive too. A really big plus. If you like the pail feeder try using Honey B Health. It helps the molding problem.

Jan 23rd 2009, 05:24 PM
i put in dry sugar today,ill keep you posted,and thanks for the tip about the mold problem

Jan 29th 2009, 08:50 PM
checked sugar today,mold is going away and they are eating good,they dont seem to be using as much of the dry as they do the syrup

Jan 29th 2009, 09:11 PM
Remember, the syrup is 2/3 water. If they are taking 1/3 as much dry as they did the liquid, they are getting the same amount of sugar.

Jan 31st 2009, 05:47 PM
i should have thought of that,thanks

Feb 17th 2009, 05:49 AM
I'm using dry sugar, lost a few hives due to die outs, I added the sugar for insurance in remaining hive.

Feb 17th 2009, 04:06 PM
i have been using top feeders since i started and they work well i think and i dont see a moisture problem at all but i sure do like the way those bees are working on the sugar - i think im going to try it - so do you just put the paper right down on top of the frames of the top box ?? and do they eat it up as fast as they do the 1:1 mixture ? - if so i guess it will be time to buy sugar again :D

Ole Weird
Feb 17th 2009, 09:02 PM
I had never heard of using dry sugar for feeding like that before. I am going to try it and see what my girls do. Thanks for the idea. Will also present the ides to my beekeepers association for information and comment. We have all used liquid feeders in the past as far as I have heard none have fed dry. Ole Weird

Feb 18th 2009, 10:09 AM
Don't worry if they don't take to it, not all bees do... I've even heard some folks try it and it works for a while then they just stop.

Feb 18th 2009, 09:01 PM
...so do you just put the paper right down on top of the frames of the top box ??...
Yes. Make sure there's no holes in the paper or the sugar will drain down onto your bees before it has a chance to form a crust on the outside of the pile. This is a good method to use during cold weather when the bees can't break cluster and are at or near the top of your top box. This is also a good way of getting around some of the problems associated with trying to feed syrup in cold weather. Some folks use a variant of this where fondant is used instead of dry granulated sugar. I still personally prefer the sugar due to its ability to absorb excess moisture and its ability to be removed, crushed up again, and used to make syrup in the spring after the weather warms up enough that the bees can frequently break cluster. In my area, this is still a couple months away.

Feb 21st 2009, 07:05 AM
Last year I did a trial- feeding half my hives with the dry sugar and the other half fondant. Both were successful in there own way. the dry sugar was easier to prepare and did seem to absorb moisture but was a bit of a pain to deal with in the spring. The fondant worked well for me too. I made a patty with it using a scant amount of HBH working it through with my hand and making a ball about the size of small melon. I slapped that on a piece of wax paper then took half a pollen patty and put it on top of that, another piece of wax paper on top. I smashed the whole thing down and slid it into a 1 gallon zip lock then flattened it so it took up the whole bag. When I went into the yard just before putting it on the hive I cut an X into the bag and placed it over the the frames- pollen patty side up. I also put a shimm on the hive to accomodate the patty. My thought was that by the time they worked through the sugar they would be ready for the pollen. It worked well for me and I'm doing the same thing again this year. The nice thing about this method is that the bag catches some of the moisture too. The bees crawl right up into that bag and eat away- keeping the fondant that way allows it to stay soft and easy for the bees to work.

On the dry sugar- make sure you put the news paper in and leave a few inches open on the end so they can crawl up

Feb 21st 2009, 09:41 AM
I'll look at the addition of fondant by baggie this year, the idea seems to have merit. However, my proud side would like to say that I won't have to use either method this year because my boxes will all be heavy enough that they won't need any emergency feeding or even insurance. :lol: I'm pretty confident that I've gotten any moisture issues worked out as well, but again that's my proud side saying that. ;)

There is a following for each method, and the two camps seem to be separated in a similar way to the way that folks using top entrances are separated from the folks using middle or bottom entrances. Each has different benefits, and some don't fit with certain beekeepers' management styles. Neither is wrong or right, and at the end of the day I suspect that each beekeeper's susrvival rates are not dictated by the difference in management style.

I've used the dry sugar for winter feeding exclusively. I like that the pile can be spread out over a good bit of the top bar area, out to as many as 3 sides contacting the outside of the empty super if you need to feed by sheer volume. On the flip side, if you had a very large 'block' of harder fondant, you could just cut a very large piece and spread out too. As for the pollen feeding, you can use it with either method. Ernie Lucas (BEES4U) feeds his together with a sugar pile too.

I have to admit that I'm coming at this a little one-sided, so I'll look at the fondant method too especially with the use of a baggie. I've stayed a little one-sided on this in the past also because of the larger footprint (larger clustering area) that a sugar pile provides, the pile's ability to absorb more moisture due to that fact that it's pure dry sugar, and the sheer volume that you can feed at a time. A light hive or a small cluster benefit from the fact that no matter at what location they reach the top of the top brood box, a sizeable sugar pile should be within reach of the cluster. The pile should be accessed from below, and the bees really don't need break cluster to crawl over to the edge and up over the edge of the paper...they should cluster up into it from below.

The sugar hasn't presented me with any problems in the spring, it's actually been pretty easy to deal with - if and when they begin to haul it out, or when a good flow starts, I remove it. If it's hard caked and comes off in solid pieces, great. If not, I put the telescoping cover on the ground upside down behind the hive, and tip the box back dumping the stuff I can't pick up off into the cover. If one needed to, they could probably just slide the top brood box back a little and accomplish the same thing, but haven't really had problems with this. From my experience, it has seemed that piles that were used by the bees have large cavities eaten away, and will generally come off in pieces. Piles that were ignored are good candidates for just being dumped off into the outer cover as I described. We then use any sugar that was taken off to make sugar-water for spring feeding, crushing it up a little if needed. At least that's how it's worked for me.

Papar, if you're ever over in our neck of the woods, let us know and stop in. We're in the Johnstown/Altoona area, and we'd be glad to have you stop in.


Feb 21st 2009, 03:25 PM
i have been feeding dry sugar and dry patty mix and the bees are doing great,no mold :D