Why would I feed my bees green sugar syrup

I really don’t like to give my bees sugar syrup, but it is better than letting them die. The reasons I don’t like to give them sugar syrup are :

1)    Sugar water is poor nutritional supplement for honey

 Sugar water is to bees, as a snickers are to kids

2)   Making sugar water is a lot of work for me and the bees to process

     It takes 1/2 gallon of 2:1 sugar water to make just 1 medium frames of capped food

3)    It costs a lot of money to feed honeybees

  1 gallon of 2:1 sugar water costs $3.12 in sugar with the cheap Sams/Costco sugar

It may not seem like a lot for just 1 frame of feed for your bees, but when you start keeping more and more bees it takes more time and money for each one. 


2:1 sugar syrup dyed with green food coloring


Even though I really don’t like to feed  bees sugar syrup, I have to do it when it is needed. I never, never, never want to any sugar syrup to end in a bottle of my honey. It can easily happen to anybody, as capped honey and capped sugar water look exactly the same. If you feed your bees a lot of sugar syrup in the fall, that will lead to excess capped sugar syrup in the spring. That capped sugar syrup can get lost in the shuffle and end up getting uncapped and extracted in the spring.

Out of curiosity and because I had to feed my bees sugar syrup anyway, I dyed the last gallon I gave them green. I did it by adding a few drops of green food coloring, didn’t take much to get the job done. They took the green syrup down without a problem, and stored it away just like any other.

Questions I am trying to figure out:

1)    Is the most recent sugar syrup stored (the green one), the first consumed by overwintering bees or the last one consumed in the spring?

2)    Does this green syrup or any capped sugar water make it through the spring and into the summer?


Dyed 2:1 syrup next to traditional 2:1 syrup


Happy Beekeeping