From left to right: a four-pound bag of sugar; approximately the same amount of dry sugar in a half-gallon jar before dilution; a half-gallon jar with the sugar diluted with about one quart of hot water. Mark the top of the dry sugar and then add enough hot water so that the finished syrup comes up to the mark. No measuring needed
If you’re looking to simplify how you make 2:1 sugar syrup for bees, look no further: We have tips for a homemade bee syrup recipe that doesn’t require measuring. With a few simple steps, you can make sugar water in the correct 2:1 ratio in a snap.
When to feed bees a 2:1 sugar syrup
While spring and summer bee feeding requires a 1:1 sugar syrup, fall feeding requires a heavier 2:1 ratio to help them prepare for the coming winter. During winter, however, solid feeds — including candy boards, sugar bricks, or fondant — are the best options.
Homemade 2:1 bee syrup recipe
While generally, you’d make a 2:1 bee syrup by mixing two parts sugar to one part water — for instance, two pounds of sugar to one pound of water — this method takes away the need to weigh and measure. Gather your supplies and ingredients, and give this method a try.
Supplies and ingredients
- Clean container that will hold about 125% of the quantity or unit of syrup you want to make — our example uses a half-gallon canning jar
- Very hot water
- Long-handled spoon
- Immersion blender
- Optional: wide-mouth canning funnel
- In a half-gallon canning jar (or a similar-sized container), pour most of a 4-pound bag of sugar to add sugar equal to the amount of syrup that you want to make. There’s no need to measure — just scoop or pour in the sugar.
- Mark the level of the dry sugar on the outside of the jar.
- Start pouring very hot water into the container with the sugar in it, and begin stirring it to dissolve the sugar.
- Keep filling and stirring until all of the dry sugar has dissolved and the level of the mixed syrup reaches the marked line.
- Use an immersion blender to mix the sugar and water together in the final stages. (For large quantities in big containers, use a paint stirrer or dry-wall mud mixer and an electric drill.) You may also find our creamed honey tool useful in mixing heavy syrup.
This amount of 2:1 syrup will increase the hive weight by about 5 lbs.
Bonus tips for mixing bee syrup
Making sugar syrup can be a messy job, but using this method helps contain the mess. We’ve also figured out a few other tricks along the way.
For even easier, tidier filling, do all of your prep and mixing directly in the sink. Use a wide-mouth canning funnel to pour the sugar into the jar. Then, add the water and mix with the jars still in the sink. After capping the jars, you can use your sink sprayer to rinse off the jars and the work area.
While this recipe won’t work for mixing a 1:1 ratio, this 2:1 sugar syrup mixing method saves on measuring and cleaning up, giving you more time to complete other bee yard tasks. For more bee feeding and beekeeping tips, explore our Beekeeper Guide.
» Read more about why to feed.
» Read more about how much to feed.
» Read more about when, what, and how to feed
» Read more about feeders, including DIY feeders