Tag Archives: winter

Beehive Candy Boards- An emergency food source for overwintering Honey Bees

candy boards installed
candy boards installed

Today was the first dry day in a month or more here in Oregon. A beautiful, cold, frosty & sunny late December day. It was our first opportunity to apply candy boards to the beehives since settling the bees in for winter back in October.

We use Candy Boards as an emergency food source for the overwintering honey bees. Not as a main source of nutrition but just in case they run out of the honey stores that we left on their hives in the Fall. With the unpredictable seasonal weather we have been experiencing in the past few years, where honey bees may consume their honey stores more quickly, it is an insurance policy against starvation before the nectar flow begins in Spring. Sometimes they bees consume very little of the candy board before Spring, other times they may eat most of it.  As an example- in the Spring of 2015 the weather here warmed & stayed warm in March bringing the bees out and about into a world without any nectar available. The candy boards were their food source until the blooms began.

Building a candy board is relatively simple.  Check the photos below to follow the process.

We constructed a wood frame out of scrap 1 X 2 lumber set on edge. Cut these pieces to the dimensions to fit your hive boxes. Once the frame was built we covered one side with 1/2” hardware cloth to hold the sugar candy. The 1/2” squares allow the bees easy access to the candy while supporting it above the frames of the top hive box. Cut the hardware cloth 2” greater in height & width of your frame. To form a shallow box to fit inside the frame cut a 1” square (4 boxes) from each corner of the hardware cloth. Then bend 1” (2 boxes wide) of each of the 4 sides up at a 90 degree angle to form a box. Place the hardware cloth inside of the frame so it is even with the bottom edge. Secure in place. Done…

Making Sugar Candy- a simple no cook recipe. This recipe makes 1 candy board.

7 1/2 #’s of White Cane Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 Tablespoon White Vinegar
Optional:
1/2 teaspoon Mineral Salt (I use loose cattle minerals)
1/2 Tablespoon Honey-B-Healthy or Pro Health

Place the sugar in a large pot or bowl.
To the water add the vinegar and optional ingredients, if using.
Add the water mixture to the dry sugar & stir to combine.
Mix well. (I use my hands, it is easier)
Place the candy board, hardware cloth side down, on plastic, on a firm surface.
Place a can/glass or other object at one edge to form an access hole for the bees to the top side of the candy.
Scoop the sugar mixture onto the hardware cloth. Spread out evenly & Press down firmly. Remove the can/glass to open up the access hole.
Let air dry 24 – 48 hours to form a hard, dry candy slab.
Place in your hive on top of the top hive box so the bees can access the candy.
Replace your inner cover or quilt and then the hive top or roof.

Wishing you the thrill of overwintering healthy vibrant bee colonies!

 

 

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Farm Meanderings- Winter Ends… Spring Begins

grape hyacinth
grape hyacinth

Let me start by saying- Condolences to all of you who have had, and in some cases are still having, a brutal Winter.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, 2015 was the Winter that never was. It feels like Spring & has for awhile now. Though the calendar, and experience, says not quite yet. Restraint. There is a palpable stirring of life on the farm. Sweet scents in the air, a pop of color here and there. An awakening.  Come take a walk-about the farm with me… Eye candy for you beleaguered sufferers of Winter.

Farm Meanderings- Winter

Welcome Home
Welcome Home

It has been a very mild winter in our corner of the Pacific Northwest this year. No snow. Rain & wind events, fog that sometimes lingered for the entire day, and glorious revitalizing sun.  Always enough variation to keep it interesting. Even in the starkness of a winter landscape there is beauty to be found. This is where we live and what we have been up to this winter of 2015. Enjoy the meanderings…

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice

’Twas the week before Christmas,
on FullCircle Farm.

When all about the barn,
nary a critter was stirring,
but possibly a barn mouse.

The star has been hung
on the cupola with care,
In hopes that Winter Solstice,
soon would be there.

The cows are all nestled
in their warm straw beds,
With visions of Spring pastures
dancing in their heads.

With Momma in her Bogs,
and Poppa in his Carhartts,
we have just settled in
for a short winter’s break.

For today is a rebirth,
a new beginning.
As the days begin to lengthen,
I am feeling quite giddy.

Happy Winter Solstice
from all of us at FullCircle Farm!