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Spring Feeding for Growth

Updated: Apr 30

If you've got ambitions to grow your apiary, a good feeding strategy will help you meet whatever goals you have set for building up your hive numbers.

*Please note: I am intentionally using a lot of words like goals and strategy, because I want it to be very clear that you DO NOT need to feed like this if you are not planning to expand.

**Please also note: Just because you don't feed in spring doesn't mean that you won't be faced with a split-or-swarm decision later in the year. Bees don't always read the play book.

Feeding Syrup

You may have heard people refer to 1:1 and 2:1 syrups and spring and fall syrup. I prefer to call them by their ratio and talk about the different uses for them (which don't always follow the seasons)

1:1 syrup has two main purposes. It is what the bees need to build comb, and it will also stimulate egg-laying in your queen. Both of these are important for early spring build up. We have found that bees won't take syrup down until daytime highs are in the mid teens (50s farenheit).

Feeding Pollen Patties

Feeding pollen patties will also kick-start hive growth in the spring. We aim to start feeding pollen about two weeks before we expect the first natural pollen to appear on trees and flowers. We often feed two full patties at a time, but we do not need to worry about small hive beetle. If you are in an area where hives are prone to beetle, you may want to feed smaller amounts more frequently.

Feeding your hives in early spring can mean the difference between making one split from a hive and making 2-3 splits from that same hive. If you're looking to build up quickly or produce some nucs for sale, get ready to feed your bees!

Looking for more?

Looking for more beekeeping education? You can find my virtual, on-demand beginner and intermediate courses at

Or if you'd prefer a more tailored experience, you can join my mentorship group at

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