What to feed bees in winter (NZ)

Sorry - complete NOOB here - what can I feed bees in winter, am on a small block in NZ with mostly pasture, I have no hive yet (eagerly awaiting december) and have a ton of bees hanging around softdrink cans etc - clearly hungry, what easy solution can I make up for the bees and the best way to present it to them? Thanks in advance for your help.

Good nutrition is important to bees and is sometimes overlooked. You are spot on for asking! Studies have shown that well fed bees are healthier and more able to deal with disease and pest levels.

**Syrup Recipe:
Spring (To stimulate colony growth) 1 : 1 ratio of sugar to water
Fall (over winter storage) 2 : 1 ratio of sugar to water

Boil the water and then remove it from heat. Pour in the sugar and stir until the water turns clear.

I make large quantities. In the USA measurements I use one gallon of water to 4 pounds of sugar.
I hope this helps.


Thanks Gayle, thought it would be something simple like that - will get cracking - am assuming a thin amount on a saucer is best?

Yes, or a pie pan with rocks, pebbles, or marbles in it so they have something to cling to or they drown. Some people float bits of straw or twigs too. If you give them just liquid in a plate or shallow pan they will find a way to drown :frowning:

Why not leave them enough of their own honey to over winter.

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The original question was based on stray bees going for soda. There is not a hive involved.

What you might want to do to eliminate bees drowning is put out plastic Ziplock baggies. Lay it down flat on a surface and make very small slits in the top part of the plastic bag with a sharp knife. The bees will find it and drink from it, and there is no mess. This is how I feed my bees within my top bar hives. If you do have hives, don’t leave sugar water outside anywhere near them or you will be encouraging a host of problems - ants, robbing, you name it.


sounds like a great solution