This recipe is only needed if the colony was unable to build up sufficient stores of honey for the winter! It is important to have a heavy syrup so that the bees do not have to work as hard to evaporate the water content of the tea; the feeding should go quickly at this point.
If you only have one or two colonies, you can afford a recipe with honey only (see above), but if you have too many colonies to feed after a bad summer (severe drought or too much rain), then you may have to add sugar. SUGAR IS NOT GOOD FOR THE BEES. The question becomes “do I want to let them starve to death or do I want them to survive the winter.” Adding FALL TEA to sugar syrup is helpful for digestion. Organic Sugar (preferably white) is always preferred because brown sugar or succant contains too many organic compounds, which are hard for the bees to digest. Make as much or as little tea as needed based on how much feeding needs to take place.
Desired quantity sugar (5 lbs. will produce about 2 ½ quarts of syrup)
Good quality honey
Hot tea solution (see “For Nucs, Swarms, Etc.” tea recipe)
1 pinch salt (not iodized!)
Fill a container with sugar.
Mark the container and add the hot tea solution to the desired level of syrup.
Let the solution cool to a lukewarm temperature.
Add 5 to 10%of good honey; it adds complex sugars to the simple ones.
Add salt (this aids in the digestion of the sugar).
NOTE: At this point we should consider the Honeybee colony to be in a life-threatening situation. Like the patient in an emergency room, she needs care, attention and love. Treat your bees with kindness.