Feeding Bees

It’s that time of year where feeding bees can get a little tricky.

Ask a few beekeepers about feeding bees and you’ll get at least 5 reasons why you should or shouldn’t feed them. Some beekeepers feel that sugar water stimulates the bees. Some beekeepers are purists and don’t believe in feeding the bees with sugar water or anything else for that matter.

It’s March. Our weather is not consistent yet, but this weekend temperatures here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore got warm enough for us to open the hives and feed the bees with top feeders. I mixed up a 1:1 sugar water syrup and added “Honey B Healthy”.

Despite a well done video tip on adding spearmint, wintergreen and lemongrass essential oils to the syrup, it wasn’t necessary for this batch. We don’t seem to have issues on the shore with the Tracheal Mites that spearmint and wintergreen essential oils address, and Honey B Healthy already contains lemongrass essential oil. An overdose of lemongrass oil may not taste good to the bees. They may reject the food.

It’s fun to learn from everyone, but it’s best to check with local experts to understand what works best in your area for the bees. It saves time and potential hazards to the bees also. My mentor Dale Large showed me an excellent new tip on how to keep the top feeder bucket in place– a new use for chopsticks!

opening hive
square chopsticks
top feeder

About the Author


Kara waxes about the bees, creates and tests recipes with her friend Joyce, and does her best to share what she’s learned and continues to learn about the bees, honey, ingredients we use and more.

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