The most common way to feed bees at this time of the year is with sugar syrup in a concentration of 2:1, two parts sugar to one-part water. When making up sugar syrup, always boil the water and remove it from heat to add the sugar. Never boil the syrup, as this can create toxic compounds that can negatively impact your bees. It is a good idea to add a feeding supplement to your sugar water, such as Pro Health or Pro-DFM.
Pro-Sweet™is also a very good resource. Unlike sugar water, Pro-Sweet™ has both binomial (bees treat these like nectar) and monomial sugars (bees treat these like honey), so it not only stimulates the bees but helps add weight to the hive.Pro-Sweet™ also will not crystallize or ferment like sugar water.
Use an internal hive top feeder and reduce the entrance of the hive to protect the colony from any potential robbing. If feeding sugar water, you must do it before the average daily temperature drops too low. Once the temperatures are too low, 50 degrees or lower, the bees are unable to dehydrate the syrup to a moisture level that is suitable for capping. Syrup or nectar stored in uncapped cells may ferment.
Mann Lake Bee & Ag Supply carries a pre-formulated product, Pro Winter Feed. Our Pro Winter Feed will provide your colonies with food stores when the bees find the cupboards bare. Pro Winter Feed provides carbohydrates and only a very small amount of protein, so your bees won't be encouraged to start rearing brood too early. As warmer weather approaches switch to a pollen substitute patty such as Ultra Bee or Bee Pro® Patties which will provide both carbohydrates and protein for brood rearing.