Be sure understand that this post is for sustaining hives and keeping the honey bee alive. You don’t want to keep a feeder on your hive year-round. When feeding bees it’s more about providing food, not water. When you mix the sugar and water at different ratios, you can encourage different behaviors.
Sugar syrup can be made in three different strengths, each has its own purpose and is used at a specific time of the year. It is recommended to only use white granulated cane sugar if possible. Avoid, all other types of sugar or honey. Remember never feed the bees with the honey supers in place.
These recipes are a simple syrup that is poured into an entrance bee feeder or other feeders that made for feeding bees.
1:2 Use one part of sugar to two parts of water: When it is used in the spring it can stimulate egg laying. Use only when enough honey is available for feeding the brood:
1 pound sugar to 1 quart water
5 pounds sugar to 5 quarts water
Stir sugar into warm water until dissolved.
1:1 One Part Sugar to One Part Water: Used in the spring and summer to encourage comb building:
1 pound sugar to 2 cups water
5 pounds sugar to 2½ quarts water
Bring water to a boil and turn off heat. Stir in sugar until dissolved and cool.
I do not feed my bees in the summer but am including the information because some beekeepers do.
Fall and Winter when temps are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
2:1 Two Parts Sugar to One Part Water: Used in the fall to increase food stores in preparation for winter:
1 pound sugar to 1 cup water
5 pounds sugar to 5 cups water
Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar. Continue stirring over heat until all crystals dissolve. Remove from heat and cool. Each gallon of syrup increases the colony’s reserves by about 7 pounds
For more information on caring for bees refer to: Beekeeping 101: A Beginners Guide To Raising Honey Bees