It’s critical to feed packages to ensure that they are able to get established. There are only ten thousand bees in a three pound package and drawing out only five frames of wax requires visits to approximately eight million flowers. That is a lot of work for so few bees, especially because they’ll be feeding babies and taking care of hive duties at the same time. If it’s rainy and the bees can’t get out at all your new colony will really suffer. Please feed your bees!
TO MAKE 1:1 SUGAR SYRUP (RECOMMENDED FOR SPRING FEEDING): Gently heat one gallon of water. Remove from heat and stir in approximately eight pounds of white granulated sugar. Stir until dissolved. This will make over a gallon and a half of syrup. Additives such as Honey B Healthy can also be added per label instructions.
TO MAKE 2:1 SUGAR SYRUP (RECOMMENDED FOR FALL FEEDING): Follow the instructions above for 1:1 sugar syrup, but double the amount of sugar used. The water will need to be heated quite hot in order to dissolve this amount of sugar. With winter approaching, bees have less time to concentrate syrup down to a consistency that can be stored for future use. Switching to a 2:1 ratio helps them speed the process.
– Don’t add sugar with the heat on. If it burns the syrup will sicken the bees.
– Wait until the syrup is cooled to add any supplements or medications.
– Reduce the entrance to the colony so the syrup doesn’t attract robbers.
– Don’t stop feeding syrup for at least the first few weeks after package installation, longer if it continues to be rainy. Your bees will build their brood nest according to the quantity of food available. If the food source disappears before the bees can provide for themselves the colony could starve. Pacific Northwest springs are tough on bees.