9 Easy Steps To Make Sugar Water For Bees

In our planet’s delicate ecosystem, bees are pivotal as nature’s pollinators. These tireless workers are essential for pollinating countless plants, including many fruits, vegetables, and flowers that grace our tables and gardens. Yet, bees often face the challenge of finding sufficient food sources, especially during scarcity. As responsible stewards of the environment, we can offer them a helping hand by providing a simple yet life-sustaining solution: sugar water.

Creating sugar water for bees is a generous act and an educational and rewarding experience for anyone interested in supporting these remarkable insects. It’s a lifeline for bees when natural nectar sources are scarce or need an extra energy boost.

In this guide, we will show you how to make sugar water for bees and provide you with the ideal sugar-to-water ratio to ensure it serves as a nutritious and safe supplement for these vital pollinators. Whether you’re a seasoned beekeeper or someone who wants to contribute to the well-being of our ecosystem, this informative journey will equip you with the knowledge and tools to become a bee-friendly ambassador.

What is sugar water?

In the food industry, sugar water refers to any artificially sweetened beverage. It can be made from sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. It may contain other ingredients such as artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, etc.

The term “sugar water” was made from sugar, which is man’s version of nectar. Beekeepers often use a lot of sugar on a large and medium scale. The responsibility of keeping bees healthy fell to us when Mother Nature was having a fit and there wasn’t enough natural food.

Besides providing food, nectar provides honeybees the energy they need to build a comb. Since mother nature struggles with natural nectar, we take that business into our own hands with sugar water.

Also Learn: How Often Should You Water Herbs?

How to Make Sugar Water for Bees (With Ratio)

Follow those simple stages to make the perfect sugar water for your bees, which will help fill the natural nectar gap.

What You’ll Need

Certainly! Here’s a table summarizing the items you’ll need and the recommended sugar-to-water ratio for making sugar water for bees:

Items NeededQuantity
Clean Mason Jar (or containers)1 (or as needed)
Sugar1/2 cup per 1 cup of water
Water1 cup (any type, except distilled or mineral water)

Please note that the ratio mentioned here is a starting point, and you may need to adjust it based on your observations and the specific needs of your bee colony. Bees’ dietary requirements can change with weather conditions and seasonal variations, so it’s essential to monitor their consumption and adjust the sugar-to-water ratio as necessary to ensure their well-being.

Here is how to make sugar water

Materials You’ll Need:

  • A gallon jug (or suitable containers for storage)
  • A pot for heating water
  • Two and a half quarts of water
  • Five pounds of 100% pure cane sugar
  • A stirring utensil
  • A funnel (if needed)

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

  • Ensure you have a clean gallon jug or suitable containers for storing the sugar water. Make sure they are thoroughly washed and sanitized.

Step 2: Measure the Water

  • Pour two and a half quarts (10 cups) of water into a pot.

Step 3: Heat the Water

  • Place the pot on the stove and heat the water. Please wait for it to come to a boil.

Step 4: Add Sugar

  • Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low.
  • Add five pounds of 100% pure cane sugar to the hot water. You can add it in batches, stirring as you go.

Step 5: Dissolve the Sugar

  • Stir the sugar and water mixture continuously. As you stir, watch for the sugar to dissolve completely.
  • The water will become clear again as the sugar dissolves. This process should only take a few minutes.

Step 6: Cool Down

  • Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn off the burner. Allow the sugar-water mixture to cool down to room temperature. This may take some time.

Step 7: Transfer to Storage Container

  • Once the sugar water has cooled down, use a funnel, if necessary, to pour it into a gallon jug or other storage containers.
  • Ensure that the containers are sealed properly to prevent contamination.

Step 8: Storage

  • Store the sugar water solution at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on your preferences.

Step 9: Use as Needed

  • You can use this sugar water solution to feed your bees by pouring it into a bee feeder or spraying it on flowers for foraging bees to collect during times when nectar sources are scarce.

Remember that the 1:1 sugar water ratio described in this guide is typically used when bees need additional energy for foraging and building their hives in spring and summer. For fall and winter feeding, a 2:1 sugar-to-water ratio is commonly recommended to provide bees with a more concentrated energy source to help them survive the colder months.

The ratio of Water for Bees

Honeybees are essential pollinators to our food supply, but there is one thing that makes honeybees different from us humans: they don’t drink water. However, they need liquid, especially during the colder months of winter.

The amount of sugar water required depends on the temperature, humidity, and type of hive. As temperatures rise, the ratio of sugar and water needs to increase.

The ratio of sugar solution required by honeybees increases by about 5% every 10 degrees Fahrenheit above 30°F. This means that you’ll need to provide more sugar water in the summer than you’d normally think.

In the spring and fall, the opposite is true; as temperatures drop, the ratio of sugar solutions decreases. For example, the ratio of sugar syrup needed in the Spring is 2 parts water to 3 parts sugar syrup. By contrast, in the Fall, the ratio drops to 1 part water to 4 parts sugar syrup.

To determine how much sugar solution you need, you must know the exact number of frames in your hives. You can find out the frame count by looking up the hive manufacturer’s specifications online. Then, contact the manufacturer directly if you’re unsure of the exact number of frames.

Why Bees Love Sugar Water?

You may be wondering why bees are so attracted to sugar water. Bees love sugar water because it is sweet and has a high sucrose concentration. When a bee lands on your hive and smells the sweetness coming from the hive, he will want more.

The color of your sugar water also draws bees in; they are naturally drawn to bright colors like yellow or orange (which represent nectar). They also love texture: bees like things that “stick” together well—if you give them something to hold onto while they sip their nectar, they are more likely to stick around.

Finally, the temperature is essential too—bees don’t like cold things, so keep your container somewhere warm enough for them but not too hot (or they could melt.).

Why Shouldn’t You Use Honey for Feeding Bees?

You may have heard that honey is an excellent food for bees, but it’s not. Honey is too thick and sweet for adult bees to eat, making it difficult for the larvae to feed on. Also, if you are using any kind of honey that has pollen in it, this can cause problems with bee allergies.

It’s also important to remember that honey isn’t sterile—it could be contaminated by bacteria or mold spores from the environment where it was harvested or stored.

And finally, depending on how much money you spend on your local organic honey (which can cost a lot.) versus what you pay for sugar water at home (which costs close to nothing), feeding your bees with sugar water could actually save you money over time.

Storing the Sugar Water for Bees

  • You’ll need to store the gallon of syrup water for bees in a container that is closed tightly. This will keep out pests and other animals, ants, children, pets, and other people.
  • Place your container of a mixture of sugar for bees in a shady area away from direct sunlight so it doesn’t spoil too quickly. The sun can affect its quality and speed up fermentation, which could turn into wine or beer if not correctly cared for.

When to feed sugar water to bee?

Feeding honey water (sugar water) to bees is a common practice among beekeepers to provide supplemental nutrition, especially during times when natural nectar sources are scarce. The timing of when to feed bees honey water depends on several factors:

  1. Seasonal Considerations:
    • Spring: In early spring, when bees are just becoming active and starting to forage, providing sugar water can help boost their energy levels and stimulate hive growth.
    • Summer: During the peak of summer, when nectar flows may be abundant, you may not need to feed bees sugar water unless there’s a sudden dearth of natural nectar due to drought or other factors.
    • Fall: Late summer and early fall are crucial times for feeding bees, especially if you want to help them build up their honey stores for the winter. Bees need to store enough honey to survive the colder months when foraging becomes challenging.
  2. Hive Health:
    • Monitor the condition of your bee colony. If the hive is light on honey stores, showing signs of stress, or has a lower population of foragers, it may be a good time to start feeding them sugar water.
  3. Dearth of Natural Nectar:
    • Pay attention to the availability of natural nectar sources in your area. If there’s a shortage due to environmental factors like drought, a lack of blooming flowers, or extreme weather conditions, consider offering sugar water as an alternative food source.
  4. Newly Established Hives:
    • For new bee colonies or packages, it’s common to feed sugar water as they establish themselves in their new hive. This helps them build comb and establish a food source until they can forage effectively.
  5. Preparation for Winter:
    • Many beekeepers feed bees a 2:1 sugar water solution (two parts sugar to one part water) in late summer or early fall to help bees store enough honey for winter survival.
  6. Emergency Feeding:
    • In emergency situations where a hive is on the brink of starvation, such as after extreme weather or a sudden loss of natural food sources, immediate sugar water feeding may be necessary to save the colony.

Always ensure that the sugar water solution you provide is of high quality and free from contaminants. Additionally, monitor your hives regularly to assess their food stores and overall health. Beekeeping practices can vary depending on your location and specific beekeeping goals, so it’s a good idea to consult with local beekeeping associations or experienced beekeepers for guidance on when and how to feed your bees honey water effectively.

There are a few reasons you might stop giving your bees sugar water.

  • If the bees have finished their honey stores or are on their last bit of the season’s honey, they’ll likely be able to survive without any help from you. You can tell if they’ve stopped drawing out comb by checking to see if there’s any space in the hive.
  • It doesn’t matter how much sugar water you give your colony as long as there’s enough pollen for them to feed on; however, once they start producing honey, you must stop giving them sugar water so that they don’t waste energy storing excess honey instead of raising brood (baby bees)).

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How Can I Help Honey Bees?

Feeding sugar water to hungry bees is the most common way to help them.

2. Do beekeepers feed bees sugar water?

Yes, most beekeepers do use supplemental feeding at times. However, the beekeeping industry varies in opinions about whether or not feeding bees sugar water is wise.

3. What is the best sugar for honey bees?

Additionally, honeybees collect liquid food naturally. Therefore, you should only use white sugar when making sugar water for your bees.

4. How do I measure 1:1 sugar water?

You can measure with cups or use weight as the unit of measure.

5. what is the correct ratio for a hummingbird feeder?

Try a 5:1 water-to-sugar ratio.


This article covered the basics of sugar water and how to make it for bees. In summary, you want to use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. You can also add honey or syrup to your sugar water. You will need to adjust the amount of honey/syrup based on the size of your hive. I would recommend starting with about 10% (1:2) and then increasing as needed until you get the correct consistency. I hope the above recipe will help you out there.


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