Mixing sugar water

Pretty basic question. When mixing sugar water (1:1,2:1) are the ratios based on weight or volume? Cup to cup or pound to pound? Thanks!!

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I simply take a large measuring jug, pour in the dry sugar, see where it comes to, then duplicate that with boiling water

Dexter has it but if you must then
1 litre water and 1 kg sugar.
1 litre water 2kg sugar.
Convert to whatever you are used to

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If I mix then I use a robust plastic food grade Jerry can and half fill it with sugar. Mark the level. Fill to level marked with hot water. Shake.
I prefer invert syrup if I need to winter feed

Hey Dee,

I have a Jerry’s Bucket that I use for my syrup !! Actually I have 3 (three) of these 5 gallon white pails/buckets. :sunglasses::+1::wink:.

Sincerely yours,

Gerald or Jerry :grinning:


Boy there is some serious feeding going on over there if you are using jerrycans or 20l buckets.



That rather depends on how many hives you have :sunny:

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Thought you might say something like that but 20l of syrup means a lot of hives.


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I take my honey off at the end of August. There is still a flow from Himalayan Balsam if the weather is good and Ivy is just round the corner. I don’t want Ivy in my supers so they have to come off. I run 14x12 which enable the bees to overwinter in one box with their stores around them. At this time of year the bees’ nest is contracting but they are yet to put much honey in the brood box. Ivy sets really solid and some …only some… colonies do not use it very well and can starve. SO I dilute it it with their own honey (if it is too high in water content) and invert syrup.
Each colony needs around 18kg of stores to get through to spring.

SO…you see that syrup doesn’t go that far.
My colonies usually get 10litres of invert each and the rest is up to them.

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A pint of sugar weighs a pound. A pint of water weighs a pound. It makes no difference, but the easiest, in my experience is to measure your water in pints and your sugar in pounds, since the sugar is already in pounds. If you’re doing metric, a liter of sugar weighs a kg. A liter of water weighs a kg. Same principle.


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I do it in small batches as I only have two hives… and also prevents spoilage. I use a half gallon mason jar and fill it with the required amounts so I use volume. Considering that bakers use sugar as a wet or liquid ingredient that’s how I do it. seems to work great. It’s also important not to boil the sugar syrup or even bring it to over 120 degrees. It forms small amounts of compounds that is toxic to bees.

Adding sprigs of thyme to the mix also helps to control varroa.

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I use the cheapest white sugar I can find. 6kg goes into a stainless steel pot together with 3L of hot tap water. I use a flat ended wooden paddle type mixing spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan. I have the biggest gas ring going flat out and I do the stirring, scraping thing about 4 times as the mixture heats. The feel of the scraper on the bottom of the pan changes as the sugar dissolves and the solution clarifies. As soon as it’s mostly dissolved, the gas goes off and I go do other things for an hour or so. The now tepid sugar mixture ends up in a 20 litre plastic jerry can with a tap on the base. If I have the time, and my lovely lady doesn’t need the kitchen, I repeat the syrup making process with another 6kg of sugar and 3Lof water.

After both lots of concentrated syrup have gone into the jerry can, I add 6L of cool tap water. The chemistry teacher in me usually makes an appearance and the pot gets rinsed a few times with some of the added water. This gets all the sugar and all the water into the jerry can. I mix the lot by inverting the can a few times as I carry it to the shed.

I’ve been experimenting with caked sugar feeders but according to the link below, 1:1 sugar water is better for stimulating the bees to breed up during the cooler months. I wanted to expand my little apiary from three to 10 colonies before spring and I’ve managed to get to 8 so far.

I make 5:3 all year around for all purposes. It keeps much better than 1:1 and the bees don’t care what concentration it is. They use it all the same. I start with hot tap water, boil the water, add seven grams or so of ascorbic acid, add the sugar and continue to heat until it is all dissolved then turn off the heat. I have a turkey fryer that holds a little over five gallons and has a spigot.


I use 24 pints of water to 40 pounds of sugar. This syrup, at 5:3 with the ascorbic acid, will keep for much longer than 1:1. For a given amount of sugar I don’t have to haul as much syrup, the bees don’t have to dry it as much and almost none of it ever spoils. If my hard water would allow 2:1 to dissolve and not crystallize, I would probably make that instead of 5:3.


what is invert syrop?

It is this:

The idea is that it is closer to honey in chemical composition. Nectar is mainly sucrose. When bees gather it, they “invert” it enzymatically, breaking it down into fructose and glucose. If you feed them invert syrup, you save them from having to do this, but you can also make it much more concentrated than sucrose, as the glucose and fructose dissolve more easily.


To add to Dawn’s description, it is actually more concentrated than you can make sugar syrup at home. If the bees don’t manage to cap it for winter it will not spoil

Easily made in the thermomix :wink::+1:

A 7 quart crockpot will make 6 quarts of 2:1 (sugar:water) syrup.

Recipe I use:
5 lbs water
10 lbs cane sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt

Add water and turn crockpot on high. Stir in cane sugar. Stir as needed until syrup is semi-clear to clear (below 100ÂşF). Turn off crockpot and add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Last 3 ingredients are optional to prevent moldy syrup.

The syrup can be used immediately, if it didn’t get too hot. Store extra in refrigerator and let come to room temperature before use.

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Why do you add the last three ingeredients ?