Friday, October 30, 2009

Patty Cake, Sugar Cake, Yummy said the Bees

I really never liked cooking. So this recipe is perfect for me. It's a no cook sugar patty recipe.

After reading around the web a bit about fall feeding I decided to add some kind of feeding in addition to the sugar syrup. The weather had been cold at night and the bees were really only eating the syrup on warmer days.
I got "fine sugar" which is caster sugar in the baking aisle at the grocery store. Caster sugar is regular white cane sugar but it's ground up into a fine powder-like consistency. I remember many, many years ago making caster sugar in cooking class at school by putting regular sugar into an electric grinder. It's used a lot to sprinkle on top of fruit or fancy desserts. Icing sugar isn't really the best for feeding because it contains corn starch which the bees don't really digest very well.
I used sugar syrup as a liquid to pour into the caster sugar bit by bit. You have to start small because the sugar can get too running if too much liquid is added. I made it into a moist consistency of thick paste.

I laid strips of wax paper on the top bars of the hive and spooned the mixture onto the paper. (At a later feeding I did all the spooning onto the paper before opening the hive so it was ready to set right in - reducing the amount of time the hive was open in the cooler weather). I suppose I could have got my hands dirty too and formed them into patties like hamburgers.

I also sprinkled just the plain caster powder on another strip of wax paper.

I returned today (5 days later) to find that the bees in both hives had gobbled up both the sugar cakes and the powder sugar. They were swarmed all over the paper and I had to shake them off.

In Hive #1 they had chewed up the paper and later I watched as bees left the hive carrying out bits of the white wax paper - cleaning house.

They hadn't taken much of the sugar syrup. Hive #2 had lots of bees under the clear panel in the hive top feeder but I didn't see any in Hive #1. It was concerning at first for Hive #1 until I removed the feeder and saw the top bars covered in bees licking up the sugar cake.

So, I made up a fresh batch and left it for them. Bon appetite!
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