Sugar Cake Recipe Winter Beekeeping Video #5

Here’s a video on how to make sugar cakes to feed your bees in winter. Overwintering your honeybees is  challenge, here is one way I help the bees overwinter, feeding them sugarcakes with this recipe. You can make these at home. I use foil pans you can buy at the grocery store.

The sugarcake recipe is simple:

  • put 5 pounds of sugar in a large mixing bowl
  • add 7.5 ounces of water
  • add a teaspoon or two of essential oil mix if you choose
  • mix together and then spread out in a 9×13 or similar foil pan
  • allow to dry overnight
  • take off the inner cover of the hive
  • carefully turn the cake upside down onto a thin plastic or wood board
  • slide the sugarcake onto the top of the hive, and either put on either a shim or an insulated inner cover, and then the outer cover.

Here are some photos of how to make sugar cakes for bees.

We add a homemade honeybee essential oil mix to the sugarcakes, you can see the essential oil recipe here.

To put these cakes on top of your hive, you must use a spacer – shim, or an insulated winter inner cover.

There are many opinions on how to get your bees through the winter, this is one way we make sure our honeybees have enough food to get through the winter. What I like about sugarcakes is that the cakes absorb moisture in the hive, which reduces or prevents condensation in the hive.

Many beekeeping books say you should open the hives only when it is 45-50F, but I’ve found if you act quickly, you can pop the top of the hive to slide in sugarcakes when the temperature is in the 30s. Obviously you aren’t going to do a hive inspection at 30F, but you have a few seconds to open the inner cover an add sugar above the supers.

Read more of our beekeeping posts here and watch beekeeping videos here. Thx!


Do you use sugar in your hives in winter? let us know below:



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  1. Brian Johnson says

    Your propane stove has a pilot in the oven that is drying the sugar more so than the light.

  2. says

    I didn’t know about this method of making candy cakes. It seems easier and less messy than boiling the sugar mixture into hard candy.

    Last winter I switched to the simplest method: pouring raw sugar on newspaper over the top bars. Some people use an inner cover in the summer position, too, and the bees come up through the inner cover hole and eat the sugar. Either way, zero preparation involved.

    My bees were fine with the raw sugar feeding last winter.

  3. Jderouin says

    I put sugar cake in the top of my hive,but I opened the hive to find dead bees and no honey stores any ideas. Thx

  4. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    there are many reasons for a dead hive, maybe you could ask someone from your local bee club to come over and check? thx, eric.

  5. Steve Bugnacki says

    Three suggestions to this cake process. First add a few ounces of vinegar with the water(I’ve used both white and cider). This makes the sugar slightly acidic which bees have an easier time breaking it down in digesting. Second sprinkle some salt into the mix. [more people are saying that the salt is important to bee metabolism now]. Thirdly, since the cakes may be sometimes hard to move without breaking etc simply form the cakes on some coffee filters flattened. Since the paper is fine, the bees will get rid of it and you can slide the cake easy onto the spot in the hive easier.


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