Winter Sugar Patties

One of the recipes I like to make for my honeybees is sugar patties. They serve to absorb moisture inside the hive in winter and, when placed correctly, can supplement honey when stores run out.

After breaking my dominant right wrist September 2015, I knew I couldn't stir the wet sugar to make the patties. Enter my beekeeping friend David who one day in November showed up with pie tins full of sugar patties for my girls.

"Let them dry out for a couple of days," he said, stacking them on my garage work table.

 My stack of winter sugar patties ready to place in hives.

My stack of winter sugar patties ready to place in hives.

Some beekeepers object to feeding bees anything additional over winter. Having lost one colony to winter starvation, I prefer to give them the sugar patties so they don't starve. They will eat honey first so the sugar patties are for when they run out.

To make sure they can access it, the sugar patties have to be placed over the cluster, which may or may not be in the center of the hive.

 Sugar patty broke up when I took it out of the pan; bees don't seem to mind.

Sugar patty broke up when I took it out of the pan; bees don't seem to mind.

Bees will visit the sugar when temperatures warm up a little. It can also provide supplemental food if they run out of honey.

My girls thank you, David!

Charlotte