Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Making Candy Boards In The Blooming Grove Beez' Lab!
This time of year we are prepping with candy boards, winter patties and more solid forms of feeding our colonies. As we make the switch from thick syrup to solid food we want to prep ahead and let our candy boards dry out so we are not adding cold moisture to our hives. There are so many recipes out there, it is hard to sift through, but know that you can take the recipe, modify it, double it, add a dash of honey bee healthy etc.. whatever you feel your needs are, and get it right for yourself in terms of consistency.
Here is our Blooming Beez Club recipe to make a candy board with a spacer shim and hardware cloth, or a plastic queen excluder with holes cut through to allow your bees to access the food during all months. Secure your hardware cloth or plastic queen excluder to your spacer to create a "dish" for your candy. Line your board or "dish" with wax paper, newspaper etc.
When creating access holes for your candy board we use a number of items to block off areas where holes are created so the ladies and queen can gain access mid winter from a few different sides of the hive. Using wood blocks, mason jars, long wood, bee creative! Then cut or poke holes through your wax paper or newspaper to allow ventilation and access.
Make the recipe below in a large bowl and spread evenly throughout the board around your blocked off items. After spreading evenly, you can remove your blocks or jars, to make another, or you can leave them in until your board dries.
8 Lb Sugar
1.5 Cups Hot Water
Stir to medium consistency, not to wet not too dry.
If you feel your sugar water ratio is too wet, sprinkle a dash of dry sugar on top to soak up excess water. If you find your recipe is too dry, keep a spray bottle of warm water near by to make your sugar a bit more pliable. Doesn't have to bee perfect either! Allow your candy boards to dry up nicely before placing on top of the hive. Once you have placed your candy board on top of the hive you may want to consider a quilt box or insulated inner cover to help absorb moisture in the hive. See more on our quilt box post!
Many are asking about the timing of quilt boxes and candy boards and as usual, it depends on your situation.. November in general is a good time to get your winter setup final here in the northeast. However if you know your food stores are low, get your candy boards on sooner than later. If you have an abundance of honey and are putting your candy board on purely for insurance, waiting a few weeks into November may bee ok. Know the size of your colony and current stores from your last inspection and make a judgement from there.
Bee sure you make your candy boards a few weeks before usage so that sugar consistency dries up and we're not adding cold and damp elements to the hive. Make sure it's cool enough where ants won't be an issue. Also remember you can always add additional sugar patty if need be. Take a peak at your candy board every week or so to see if bees are in need or may not even touch it.
Feel free to come by the shop to talk more about your own situation as "one size fits all" rarely fits the prescription.
Send us your pics of winter setup! Love DIY options and creativity from all!