Do it yourself

Recipe for Candy Boards


Are you looking for a way to feed your bees over winter and reduce in-hive moisture?  Candy boards are the answer!  During cold winter months, feeding sugar water solutions can cause deathly moisture build up in your hive.  As water evaporates from the sugar solution, it condenses inside the inner cover.   This then showers down onto your bees and can kill them.  With candy boards the dry block sugar not only provides a source of food but also absorbs excess moisture.

Below is a simple step by step recipe for preparing candy boards.  We have these available in-store while supplies last.  Please message us for availability. 

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  • Wooden candy board

  • Large mixing bowl

  • Measuring cup

  • Metal spoon

  • 1 tablespoon of White vinegar

  • 16 lbs of sugar

  • 3 cups of water

  • ***OPTIONAL: Ultra Bee or Pro Health



Start by placing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar into 3 cups of water.

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Next, add 8 lb. of sugar in a large mixing bowl (by splitting up the 16 lb. total sugar, it makes for better mixing)



Slowly add 1.5 cups of the water/vinegar mixture to the sugar while stirring with a large spoon.


—> If desired, this is the time to add 1 scoop of pollen substitute (Ultra Bee) or feeding stimulant (Pro Health).

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Make sure you mix it well and the consistency should be like wet sand.  Make sure sugar it is not runny. (if mixture is too runny add sugar to get desired consistency)


Place candy board on a washable, flat, level surface such as a counter top or the flat side of a telescoping cover.


Next dump the sugar into the candy board.  Make sure to pack down the sugar while keeping it even.  If you have an entrance on you candy board, make sure you leave space around the hole.  Do this by placing a block of wood in front of the hole and pack the sugar around it.


Mix the remaining 8 lb. of sugar in the large bowl.


Slowly addingthe remaining 1.5 cups of water/vinegar mixture to the sugar, while stirring with a large spoon.


Add in the remaining sugar mix to the candy board while packing it in tight.


Wait 24 hours for them to fully dry then they are ready to addto your hives!

Hope you enjoy! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  

Preparing your bees for winter

Photo credit to Amanda B Griffin Photography

Photo credit to Amanda B Griffin Photography

Preparing your bees for Winter

The cold months are upon us which means that the largest amount of colony losses is right around the corner.  It is important to do your hive inspections before the cold temperature sets in.  We wanted to share some tips on what to look for in your upcoming inspections.  From the right amount of food to hive location.

Photo credit Amanda B Griffin photography 

Photo credit Amanda B Griffin photography 

Honey bees are cold blooded insects that regulate their own body temperature and do not hibernate during the winter months.  Instead, they will vibrate their flight muscles, creating friction to keep the hive at about 93 degrees fahrenheit .  In order to do this, they need energy.  The honey bees will eat the stored honey during the months they can not forage.  This is why adequate food storage is crucial.  
How much honey is good?  The general thought is 70-90 lbs. per hive here in the mid-west region but keep in mind that climate will play a role in this amount.  Please check with other local beekeepers if your climate is different then ours.
Do I feed my bees?  Yes, we feed.  During fall months we feed our bees a 2:1 sugar:water solution to help them store up.  We have a DIY article on making your own feeder if you are interested in how we feed.  Click here.
Are there other ways to feed?  Yes there are, it is called "dry feeding".  You can do this by placing granulated sugar on newspaper on top of the frames in the top box.  This method is best used as "in-hive" feeding during cold months when liquid feeding is contraindicated .  Other options are fondant "bee candy" and pollen pattys.  Simple recipes can be found online.

Photo credit Amanda B Griffin Photography

Photo credit Amanda B Griffin Photography

"When the Queen is happy, there is peace in the Kingdom", a quote that I heard once and enjoyed.  Going into winter with strong, healthy Queens free of disease will give your hive a better chance at survival.  The Queens age will also be a factor for survival.  Some beekeepers will re-queen a second season Queen because she has a 50:50 chance of failure over winter.
What should I look for on my fall inspection?

  • Pest management which includes mite counts and treating if indicated.  
  • Check for hive beetles and wax moths that may be looming in the crevices.  
  • Ensure to visualize adequate food stored in the combs.  
  • Make sure you have brood, the pattern should be tight as a spotty brood pattern can indict a poorly laying queen.
  • Your worker bee population should be large, if your numbers are low you may need to combined smaller colonies (see video).
  • Eliminate unused space.  If you observe that your bees are not storing food or laying eggs in a particular box, remove that unused space.  The extra space will welcome unwanted guests.
Photo credit Amanda B Griffin Photography

Photo credit Amanda B Griffin Photography


  • If not already done, your hives should be facing the southeast direction. It is important to have early morning sun and  direct sunshine most of the day.
  • Moisture will form on the lid of the hive as the bees consume the honey.  Absorbent material can be used in exchange for your inner cover to help diffuse moisture.  These can be purchased or can be made.  Absorbent boards can be purchased or you can make your own "quilt box".
  • Angling the hive also aids in safe moisture run-off.  This can be done by placing shims under the rear of the bottom board, slightly elevating the back of the hive.
  • By propping the top open, between the telescoping cover and inner, you can create an alternative exit for your bees.  This may come useful in months where your entrance may be blocked do to snow. Without proper ventilation they can suffocate. We use a simple twig about the diameter of a pencil as a spacer. This also aids in ventilation.
  • Wind breaks and wrapping may come in handy.  Using a wind break (such as a piece of privacy fence or plywood) creates a barrier from damaging winds.  Hive wraps can be used to add exterior installation or to absorb UV light for added heat.  We use 2" foam installation to cover our hives or you can purchase pre-fabricated ones.

Hope you enjoyed our tips for planning for winter.

Hope you enjoyed our tips for planning for winter.  If you have any comments or concerns please feel free to contact us.
Have a good inspection! 
Krystle & Cory Gaiser

Feeding your Honey Bees

It's time to Feed the Bees

I hope you are having a fantastic summer enjoying these long summer nights and the beautiful weather. Even if you are a busy bee I hope you can take a moment to stop and smell the flowers ... even though that may be hard right now.
As we all know July and August are some of the hottest months of the year which means, little rainfall resulting in nectar dearth for our honeybees.  No flowers means no food.  As much as we try to plant wildflowers and clovers ... sometime it just isn't enough.  We want healthy, strong bees so we feed sugar water in these times.
This week we started our new feeding technique and wanted to share with everyone our success story since it is working out so great for us!

We have a few techniques to feeding, which all work.  But we have found that this new DIY gravity feeder is a lot more bee-friendly and results in less drowned bees.

What you'll need:
5 gallon white bucket
Lid with a rubber seal
1/8" drill bit
25 lb sugar
4 gallons of water
Pro Health
Marbles and/or Rocks

Make sure your bucket and lid are completely cleaned out and there is no harmful residue in it.


Start by identifying the outer rim through the inside of the bucket (see photo).Then using the drill and 1/8" bit, begin drilling holes roughly 2.5" down from the lip going from the inside out.  
Be careful not to perforate the outer wall, but place holes about every 1".

Clean out plastic shavings and fill the jug half way with warm water and add roughly 25 lbs of sugar.  Then we add a few table spoons of the vitamin packed Pro-Health which is available on Mann Lake's website.  It works great and gives the girls some much need sustenance.

**You can use marble or even pebbles to keep your girls from drowning. 

Securely fasten lid to the bucket and flip it over.  We placed ours on another empty 5 gallon bucket to elevate it off the ground.  Take marbles/rocks and place in reservoirs to help keep bees from drowning. 
PLACEMENT: We have 13 hives within a small area so we put this in a central location within the middle.  Everyone is enjoying their dinner together.

**Summertime feeding is typically a 1:1 sugar:water ratio.  They use the extra water to cool their hive then the sugar is used for energy.  While fall months you want to do a 2:1 sugar:water ratio.

Please comment below or email us if you have any questions about how to make your own 5 gallon bucket feeders.  Thank you for reading.