How to Make a Honey Bee Feeder

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People who keep honey bees need to keep them well fed during the winter months.
People who keep honey bees need to keep them well fed during the winter months. (Image: honey bee image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

A honey bee feeder can be used to supplement a bee's diet in fall or summer. Feeders are especially important for people who keep bee hives, as bees need to have a ready source of nutrition when flowers are in short supply. Build a honey bee feeder and fill it with sugar water to keep bees fed through the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • White sugar
  • Pot
  • Hummingbird feeder/Hamster water bottle
  • Wire or Twine

Mix a sugar water recipe for your honey bee feeder. For fall feedings, mix two pounds of white sugar with one pint of water. For spring or summer feedings, mix one pound of white sugar with one pint of water. Never use brown or unrefined sugar as it's bad for bees. Boil the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and allow it to cool.

Pour the sugar water mixture into a hummingbird feeder or hamster water bottle. Bees will be able to access the sugar water from either of these containers without endangering themselves.

Use wire or twine to hang the feeder over hives, if you have them, or outside in trees if you don't. Secure the feeders to overhanging branches or eaves, as you would do if the feeder was for birds. Hanging feeders at night, when bees are inactive, is a safer option than hanging them during the day. Watch the sugar water level and replenish the mixture as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Feeding bees sugar water will sweeten their honey.
  • Mix cake icing or honey into the mixture instead of sugar, using half the amount (1/2 pound of icing or honey to one pint of water, etc.).
  • Wear protective gear to avoid being stung while you're hanging the feeders.
  • Bees will drown in an open container.

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