Types of feeders :
There are different types of feeders and feeding:
-In the form of frames only for liquid feeds;
-Round or parallelepipedic, placed on the frame cover with holes;
-In the form of a wooden feeder frame cover.
Types of feeding :
The feed is administered solid or liquid depending on the season:
-50% syrup is recommended in early spring;
-In the autumn it is candy that should be given, because in the cold period the bee would not have time to transform a liquid feed to store it.
When and how to feed the bees?
After winter, from the end of February, the 50/50 syrup is recommended to stimulate egg-laying, to stimulate breeding and to avoid the risk of hunger for reserves, as this is the time when the hive can quickly starve and die of hunger without your intervention.
Some people feed en masse in one go, we prefer to progressively give a small dose of half a litre every week, in abundance the queen is gorged, she lays the colony develops.
In our regions, pollen is not rare, the first is served by the hazel tree then the almond tree, the moments of dearth seem to us more worrying, colonies in full rise consume but after feeding, generally at the blooming of the cherry tree is brutally deprived of resources by climatic surges during the same dangers as at the end of winter.
In excessively wet or dry periods, we must be vigilant in order to compensate momentarily for these climatic variations.
Feeding is recommended to revive survival and development, when you divide it will be with 50/50 syrup, similarly for a colony that is weakening and therefore does not have sufficient reserves at this time, the new queen will lay eggs but the new foragers will not be operational until a month later and still in too small numbers.
We never touch the reserves of the hive bodies, which is not necessarily the case, especially in the coastal region where there is always and early abundance.
Laying slows down from July onwards, the spaces in the cells left free are gradually filled, the supers are licked, in September or even October it is important to estimate the reserves, a hive must weigh at least 25 kg, it is often desirable to supplement this with solid feed, either candy or honey, this feed at this time must be able to be stored quickly to preserve itself, which would not be the case for liquid feed
When we talk about syrup we mean the one we make with water and granulated sugar plus possibly honey, there are however some available in the shops, we buy the candy because it is too technical to make, making its syrup has an advantage as it can be served warm, the rapid absorption of the syrup and the near absence of corpses in the feeder are a guarantee of good health for the colony.
How to prepare candy for bees?
Importance of candy:
Candy is very important for the feeding of bees, especially during the winter, when temperatures are often very low, which makes it very difficult for the bees to collect syrup from the feeder:
-on the one hand because they have to move to feed
-and on the other hand because they will consume energy to transform the saccarose (compound sugar) in the syrup into glucose and fructose (simple sugars) as the bees only feed on the simple sugars.
Ingredients to prepare the candy:
We need :
-A large pot,
-two cups of water,
-2 kg of honey,
-10 kg of crystal sugar,
-a wooden spoon.
The method of preparation:
We will start by putting the two litres of water in the pot, add the 10 kg of sugar and bring to the boil until 90 degrees.
Before turning on the gas, stir the mixture with the wooden spoon until it is homogeneous, then turn on the gas.
During the whole heating period it is imperative to never stop stirring so that the mixture does not caramelise at the bottom of the pan. In the meantime, we take the opportunity to soak our honey pots in hot water so that they can be easily removed from the pan.
When the mixture reaches 90 degrees, we can cut the gas and incorporate the honey to let it melt. The second step consists in raising the syrup with the honey to a maximum temperature of 116 degrees, not to go beyond that for the final candy consistency.
When it reaches 116 degrees, turn off the gas and mix two tablespoons of white vinegar, stir and let it cool down to 60 degrees.
When the mixture has cooled to 60 degrees, we can use a classic kitchen mixer and blend the mixture until it whitens and takes on the texture of candy.
At the end we fill freezer bags with the candy and leave it until it cools down completely, it will freeze and take on its final appearance.