How to feed bees

There are few times when it will be found profitable to feed bees,--the right way is to keep them so strong that they never will need feeding. As it is hardly possible for a beginner to do this always at first, it may be well to know that the best substitute for honey in feeding bees is plain sugar candy. A few pounds of it, thrust down between the combs in the spring, will often save a colony from starvation. If honey is fed to them, it is apt to attract robbers from other hives.

Where movable comb-frames are used, a comb of stores may be taken from a strong colony that can spare it, and given to a destitute one, and that be saved while the other is not injured.

In the spring, rye meal may be fed to all bees with great advantage. It supplies the place of the farina of flowers, and is eagerly gathered by them. It may be placed in shallow pans or troughs, near the bees, and they will gather about it in great numbers. Large apiaries have often consumed a hundred pounds of this meal in a single day. Wheat meal is taken by them, but rye is preferred. When the earliest blossoms appear, and they can gather pollen from natural sources, they take the meal no longer. Bees use much water, and an apiary should be, if possible, located near some small running brook or stream. It is said, bees in the woods are never found many yards distant from running water. If they are not so situated, water should be set for their use in shallow vessels, with shavings, or leaves, or moss, for floats.

Return to The Household Cyclopedia of General Information