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Making Candy – and Using It
Margaret Cowley, MSc
When the hive feels light and the cluster of bees is at the top bars you can give your bees candy
AROUND THIS time of year either because it is to the side of the
beekeepers heft their hives to make cluster or because it is blocked with
brace comb, then the food may besure that they have plenty of food
better placed under the crownboard,to see the bees through the winter.
directly on top of the frames.
With the poor summer and, in some An alternative is to convert the sugar
places, a mild autumn it may well be into candy, a form that the bees can
that despite copious autumn feeding eat more easily. It can be also be
(till the bees no longer take down any yelplaced close to the cluster. Bear in
wmore syrup) the hives are already o
C rmind that in the winter a liquid feed is
etfeeling rather light. a
Preputed to lead to dysentery or
Traditionally, many beekeepers have over-stimulation of the colony. Candy Bees utilise candy by touching their
given light colonies a Christmas present contains more water than a moistened tongues to the surface. If it is dry
of a bag of sugar that has been sugar bag so reducing the need for the they will regurgitate some saliva to
moistened with a few drops of water. help dissolve itbees to collect water to take
However this might not be the best advantage of the food. Fondant is
solution for colonies that need a winter available commercially. However some CANDY RECIPE
feed since it is difficult for the bees to commercial fondant is aimed at the Making candy is not difficult but
take in sugar from the granules. catering trade and contains things can go wrong with any process.
preservatives and flavouring. Trying to feed bees anything in cold Basically you are trying to set sugar
weather can have its problems. At low Candy is easy to make yourself and, if into a block while retaining enough
temperatures, individual bees cannot you do, you know exactly what is in it. moisture for bees to be able to eat it.
leave the cluster to travel far for food. Candy can be formed into a shape Before you start to make the candy
The food, in whatever form, therefore that fits under the hive roof (with or give some thought as to what shape
needs to be near the bees. If the without a crownboard or eke) and size you want the blocks to be
cluster is directly below the feed hole, depending on the roof design and and prepare suitable receptacles. I use
feeding can take place there. If bees whether bees can easily get at it a roasting tin lined with greaseproof
cannot be seen under the feed hole, through the feed hole. paper as this gives a large, thin block
that fits beneath the roof of my hives.
On warmer days in the depth of winter, bees can break out of the cluster to find Other people use aluminium fast-food
candy above the feed hole. Here bees have already eaten half the block containers.
Make sure that you have some spare
containers ready. Once you start to
pour out the candy you can’t stop to
prepare an extra container.
If you use fast-food containers you can
feed the candy straight from the
container and if filled to a few
millimetres of the top you will have a
built in bee space, though bees seem
to manage perfectly well with a solid
slab, creating their own bee space
very quickly.
You will need a large saucepan to
allow space for the solution to bubble
up as it boils, a wooden spoon for
Bee Craft digital January 2009 Page 29
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