Happy New Year! And what a wonderful way to start the new year - with temps about 52 degrees. I decided to walk back to the hives (first time in a couple of months) and see what was going on, and I was very pleased to see bees flying in and out of all three of my hives!!!!!
I was so excited about it, I even made a short video:
It started getting cold around the first part of November, and I hadn't checked on the bees since then, so it was very gratifying to see that there is some activity in all the hives.
I have my doubts that the hives have enough food to get the bees through the winter without some help, so today I decided to make up some Bee Candy. It's basically sugar candy that they can eat in an emergency. I got the recipe from another beekeeper's blog. I bought a candy thermometer a while back so I had all of the tools.
Here's the pot of sugar with the corn syrup and water:
Let me tell you, stirring 10 pounds of sugar with corn syrup sure puts my muscles to the test! I even had to switch to a stiffer spoon, so I didn't bend it. After a lot of stirring and a lot of heating, things finally got a little easier. But it still took over 1/2 hour of cooking (and did I mention stirring?) before the solution got thin enough to easily stir.
I had never made anything needing to boil sugar for candy, so it was a learning experience. Item #1 learned: boiling sugar syrup is HOT if you get some on your fingers. Item #2: EVERYTHING is going to get sticky, so be prepared.
After the candy reached the correct temperature, then cooled down a bit, I poured it into paper plates:
Item #3: you should not use the simple thin paper plates. Even though I used two plates per patty, it was a little flimsy and some of the sugar syrup spilled (see item #2 above). Next time I'll get Chinet plates.
Now that the candy has cooled mostly, it doesn't seem to set up as hard as I would have thought. Maybe I didn't let the temperature get high enough (although it did say 240 on the thermometer). But it'll do just fine when I put it in the hives. All in all it made about 13 plates of candy.
I'll probably put these in my hives this weekend; and maybe make a run to Sutton as well.
Here's to a prosperous new year for the bees!!