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Which spring feeding type is best?

New to beekeeping & kindly looking for advice. Getting two new hives end of April. I’m seeing all sorts of mixed messages about spring feeding. We live in NE Washington, so we will have cool nights and not a lot is in bloom by end of next month. Some say do not feed sugar syrup at all. Some say sugar syrup is fine. Some say honey is the only thing to feed them, but only if it’s their own honey. Some say don’t feed them anything unless you absolutely have to b/c it will make them weak. My goal is to have as strong as a hive as possible with the least interference as far as supplementing them, although I don’t want to kill them if they don’t get enough food or the best type.


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You should find some local beekeepers near you for advice on the available nectar and pollen flows - my impression, having spent some time in southeastern Washington, is there there should be a lot blooming at the end of April but I don’t know what your local climate is like.

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Maybe this link will help

I think it also depends on what your goals are fit your new colonies and how fast you want to get there. April should be a good time to let them grow on their own, without feeding, it seems.

Sugar syrup is fine if they need it. Their own honey is fine.

No - feed them if they need it - the consensus here seems to be that they will forage over taking sugar syrup.

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Hi Nick and welcome! Alok’s reply is solid advice - I’ll just clarify that honey you feed to your bees should be from your own apiary. Not storebought, because it can be adulterated with other syrups; and not from another beek’s apiary because of the chance of bringing a disease into your colonies.

As Alok says, feed them if they need it - new packages do, and so do new nucs if there isn’t a good nectar flow on. They’ll stop taking the sugar syrup once it starts, which is sometimes the best indicator that nectar is available - unless you’re really well-attuned to your season and weather patterns it can be tricky because flowers don’t automatically mean nectar :wink:


Thank you for your input! :slight_smile:

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It seems most are saying sugar syrup is just fine to feed them. Since this is my first year, I do not have their own honey to give back to them. Thank you for your advice! :slight_smile:


Good to note ‘flowers don’t automatically mean nectar’. I’ll watch out for that, thanks!