Winter Feeding with Candy Boards

The last few months of a long, cold winter are a dangerous time for your hives. Colonies which have survived into January and February are in danger of starvation should they exhaust their supplies of stored honey.  It would be an absolute shame if a colony which survived the harsh winter months starved out in early March.

Candy boards are one of the best and easiest ways to add some emergency food to your hives.  To make a small batch of candy boards, you’ll need:

  • 10 pounds granulated sugar
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) of water
  • Large stock pot
  • Paper Plates (paper, not plastic or styrofoam)
  • Clean 5-Gallon bucket for storage.

1)  Add the water to your stock pot, and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

2)  When the water begins to boil, add one pound of sugar and stir until it dissolves.  A 16 ounce plastic Solo cup makes for a convenient scoop which holds one pound of granulated sugar.

3)  Continue adding the sugar, one pound at a time, until it is all dissolved.    Your final ratio will be 10 parts of sugar to one part of water.

4)  Continue to heat the mixture until it just begins to boil.  The mixture will turn a light beige color.

5)  Remove the mixture from the heat.

6)  Place 6 full-size paper plates on a heat-resistant surface, and then fill each with the sugar solution.  For a 10lb batch, I usually fill five plates.  Put on your bee suit — this stuff is hot and can cause sweet-tasting burns.

7) After the candy sets (about an hour), transfer the plates to your 5-gallon bucket for easy transport to your beeyard.  Leave the candy on the plates, otherwise they will stick together in your bucket.


Now you’re ready to feed your bees!

1)  Wait for a warm day.  Do not open your hives if the bees are not flying.  Typically, you’ll be looking for a day in the mid-40’s.

2)  Remove the hive’s outer cover and inner cover.

3)  Place an empty super on top of your hive.  You can also use a simple 2″ spacer with the same dimensions as your hive.

4) Pop the candy discs out of the paper plates, and stack them inside of the empty super near the center of the hive.

5) Replace your inner cover, outer cover, and rock.

Make some candy, and feed your bees!






  1. Posted February 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Excellent information Eric I have my candy boards ready and am now looking for the right day hoping it will soon be here. .. Good luck to all you beekeepers.

    Jim Sollenberger
    We are still on hold for more sugar!

  2. Posted October 26, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I used this method in Mid February of 2013 and it works.
    I added Pro Health to the mixture and the bees really took to it.
    I plant to use it this winter also 2014.
    I also placed a protein patty in the top but the bees took the candy board first.
    I am in Central Arkansas Zone 7

  3. Posted October 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Excellent!Just finished making five plates,and appreciated being able to refer to your step by step pictures and instructions. I could not find anything to work with on other sites.Now in just a short amount of time I am ready for another N.H. winter.Thank you.

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  1. By Seasonal advice | Vince Master Beekeeper on February 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    […] paper plates rather than waxed paper to hold the fondant, giving a very neat, usable product: This entry was posted in beekeeping advice, pennsylvania. Bookmark the […]