You can help feed the bees this winter!! We are having some fun this season with stocking up for the bees winter food! We have had so many bee-loving folks ask how they can help support the bees and keep them thriving in our community, while also supporting our local small business! We came up with the idea of starting a fall/winter sugar drive with a hefty goal of 750 pounds of sugar.
How you can donate:
~ Drop off a bag of sugar at our house- it does not matter the size!! If we are not there, put it on the shelf by the mailbox and please let your name and address with the sugar. Nothing fancy either- our bees get the cheap brand of sugar and love it!
~ Wal-Mart gift card- send us an electronic Wal-Mart gift card to firstname.lastname@example.org for either $5, $10 or $20. We can buy 10, 20 or 40 pounds with these amounts!! It will be used by us to order our sugar online and have it delivered or picked up!
~ PayPal donation- you can donate by clicking on the buttons below which goes directly to our Hillside Hives PayPal account!
This will help us buy 10 pounds of sugar
This will help us buy 20 pounds of sugar!
This will help us buy 30 pounds of sugar!
750 pounds of sugar….REALLY!!!
Fall feeding at Hillside Hives begins in about mid-September when the fall nectar sources start to dry up and around when we do our autumn honey harvest. We feed a thick sugar solution in the fall: 2 parts sugar to 1 part water- plus we can add some of our essential oils for healing and preventing of bee pests and disease. The bees use this thick sugar solution to make winter honey that they will eat.
We will then also make a 15 pound sugar slurry solution for each beehive. We add pollen and essential oil before it hardens. This is the bees emergency food supply and sits directly on top of the top box of the beehive. We need at least 375 pounds of sugar just to make certain each hive has their own emergency supply of food for the winter!! Here is the board before we add the sugar.
We also keep about 40-50 pounds of honey in the hives for the bees to eat during the winter. This is their pantry and rely on this for energy to survive the winter! We rely on sugar in the winter to act as the bees emergency food supply in case they run out of honey!
Our goal is 750 pounds of sugar (don’t mind the $ on our little thermometer- they did not have pounds!!). It will take about 300 pounds of sugar to help build them up in the late fall, then each of our 30 hives will house 15 pounds of an emergency reserve of sugar on the top to help get them through our LONG New England winter and well into spring.
Information on why we supplement the bees with sugar
We supplement with sugar water for two reasons: it helps them through times when there is limited resources in our area, plus we can give them a dose of essential oils to help treat and prevent pests and disease. We supplement the bees with sugar water once each season for a variety of reasons. It is carefully timed so we do not have this affect our honey. Here are the seasonal reasons for doing so:
~ Spring to help new packages of bees build up their comb, as well as to provide them with food when nectar is scarce in our region.
~ Summer during dirth- this is a period we all go through when there is just not as much nectar out there for the bees. We typically feed about two weeks in the beginning of August to get them through this period, plus it is a great way to get them boosted with essential oils in the sugar water to help with fall and winter pests.
~ Fall feeding helps the bees build up honey supplies they will utilize during the winter. We typically start feeding mid-September, after our fall honey harvest, when our natural nectar resources are running thin. It is a time there are still many bees in the hive and resources run thin for them. We use a stronger concentration of