Here’s a few recipes that, on occasion, we mix up and offer our bees- namely in the spring and sometimes in the fall.
We utilize supplemental feeding on occasion under the following conditions:
1) we have run out of honey that we harvested and stored for the bees
2) as a prophylactic “dose” of vitamins to help curb nosema and other ailments that may develop during changing of the seasons.
3) Local forage is compromised due to drought
If you have a small colony that is just starting out- keep in mind that it takes over 17 pounds of honey for the bees to sweat out just 1 pound of beeswax. Their comb is their biggest asset. Offering supplemental feed can help them establish their comb and then give them the opportunity to forage for natural nectars and pollen to store. If a colony does not have sufficient nutrition available, they can be stunted and thus more susceptible to pest/disease infiltrations, lack of overwintering stores and thus colony demise.
Best to offer and if the bees ignore it, then no harm done.
Medicinal herbs and essential oils can be added for immune benefit (after proper research into indications and contraindications and also concentrations).
Remember that using essential oils or any oils can coat the bees and as insects, can suffocate them, so best to use an emulsifier such as lecithin (made of soybeans) to bond the oils to the water mixtures.
We also make a “grease” patty on occasion with coconut oil (serves as a fungicide) mixed with pure cane sugar and we add garlic powder. This can help with mites and dysentary though we have no concrete data to share- perhaps in the upcoming seasons we can begin to document our use of these and their benefits.
If in doubt- look to order HoneyBHealthy and pre-made pollen patty supplements from beekeeping suppliers such as www.mannlakeltd.com or www.dadant.com, www.brushymountainbee.com, www.glorybee.com….etc.