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Syrup or candy: what are the differences?

To feed the bees, is it better to give syrup or candy? The two are not interchangeable. Young beekeepers sometimes do not know what the difference is between the two and under what conditions syrup or candy is given. So to know all about this issue, read the following article.

Feeding bees with candy

Both are made with sugar. Syrup is a mixture of sugar and water and often contains a high proportion of sugar, around 50%. The candy is hard and contains even more sugar.

The syrup

Syrups found in commerce are generally at least 50% sugar. These syrups are to be used when the temperatures are still high (over 15 °).

The job of bees is to extract the sugar from the water. The colder it gets, the more substantial this work will be and will exhaust the bees.

The syrup is therefore to be used in summer to stimulate the queen or in case of food shortage. It is also used at the end of the summer, even at the beginning of the autumn to constitute the provisions of the bees for the winter.

Ideally, this reserve building work should be finished by September in order to avoid having the winter bees work on this task. Winter bees are needed in the spring to restart the colony and their good health is essential.

You can make your own syrup, but be careful with fermentation. You have to use it quickly.


The candy is a mixture of honey and powdered sugar. The proportions must be adjusted to obtain a homogeneous mixture.

It is best to buy ready-made candy in blocks of one kilogram ready to use. There is also candy enriched with pollen. Very useful in the spring to help start the colony.

There are several methods of giving candy:
  1. The easiest way is to place the candy above the frame cover either in a container or directly in the one kilogram bag with an opening made in the plastic to let the bees pass. In both cases, plan to properly insulate the roof above the candy to prevent heat loss.
  2. The other method is to crush the candy with a rolling pin in a layer of less than one centimeter and place it directly on the frames below the frame cover. Enter the candy between the frames with your fingers.
The candy is also useful for placing in a queen introduction crate. Its role is to allow the bees to get used to the smell of the queen while they nibble on the candy. Prepared long in advance, the candy dries and cannot be used for this purpose because it is not malleable enough. A little trick. When you prepare the candy, add a few drops of glycerin and mix well. Your candy will remain flexible for several weeks.