Winter Sugar Block Recipe

Winter is fast approaching here in Western WA and with so much moisture in the air, it is time to stop feeding your bees liquid sugar syrup and move to sugar blocks. With this winter sugar block recipe, your honeybees will not only have the necessary carbohydrates needed to survive the winter, but they will also have another moisture wicking mechanism in the hive.

Follow this easy winter sugar block recipe to help get your ladies through the rainy, wet and cold winters out here in the PNW!

Materials Needed:

  • Tray: 15”x21” (Can be found @ Costco or Cash & Carry)
  • Knife
  • Big mixing spoon
  • Measuring glass
  • Tamping device

Ingredients:

  • 8 pounds of sugar (this is roughly 1/3 of a 25lbs bag of sugar)
  • 3/4 cup water (use sparingly) **
  • 1+ tbsp. Pro-Health or Honey-B-Healthy (both available online and at local beekeeping supply stores)
  • (Optional)1/2 tsp Agrilabs Vitamins & Electrolytes (available online and at local beekeeping supply stores)

** You can substitute the water with a little more than 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. (Use only pure apple juice derived ACV)

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together except the water in a 5-gallon bucket. The “Agrilabs Vitamin & Electrolytes” is optional, but it is inexpensive & is suggested in some of the recipes found at local beekeeping supply stores or online.
  • Next, SLOWLY add water (as needed, it may not need any water) until the mixture is ‘fluffy & slightly moist. The best description of consistency is that of making a snowball that isn’t wet.
  • Once thoroughly mixed, spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet and roll the mixture down until well packed. Using a meat press, rolling pin or wine bottle to do this.
  • Once rolled down, use a knife to cut the blocks into the size that is easiest to place into your hives.
  • Let the mixture sit until it is thoroughly dry, it will take roughly a week or more to dry and hardened up (at room temp). If desired, the sheet can be placed in a warm oven for a couple of hours at roughly 180 F, let the mixture cool in the oven after two hours.

Using the sugar blocks:

  • Place the sugar blocks directly on the top of the frames above the cluster. The warm respiration from the cluster will soften the underside of the sugar block to make consumption easier for the colony.
  • It will be necessary to place a shim or a spacer of some kind on the hive to make room under the inner cover and lid for the sugar blocks.

 

Sugar blocks drying in baking dishes.

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