Making Sugar Syrup From The Candy Board
by Anita Deeley at BeverlyBees.com
Last year I made a no cook candy board to feed one hive over the winter because it was short on stores. The following spring I was left with 12 lbs of sugar that the bees did not eat. Instead of tossing it, I used the left over sugar to make 1:1 syrup for some new package bees.
This is what the board looked like after I removed it from the hive. With the sun shining through the board you can see how the bees made tunnels through the sugar, which are the lighter spots in the picture. Although they ate some sugar, I still had 12 lbs left over in the spring after the bees were finished with it. I planned to turn this left over sugar into 1:1 syrup for spring feeding.
The recipe I used to make 1:1 sugar syrup was 5 lbs sugar to 2.5 quarts water (which is 10 cups of water). Before I could weigh the sugar I needed to get it out of the board. Since the sugar was a solid block, I put it over a cookie sheet and used a hammer to break the sugar into pieces. This worked great but I still had one problem.
Last December, when I made the candy board, I used sheets of paper to line the bottom of the board to keep the sugar inside it while it was drying, per the instructions. This is how the board looked before the sugar was added.
While this worked great to hold the sugar in place while making the board, it was a hassle in the spring when trying to remove the paper from the sugar. The paper was stuck to the sugar and mixed into the sugar where the bees had chewed it. I tried to remove as much of the remaining paper as possible but it was not easy and not possible to get all the pieces out.
After I removed the sugar from the candy board and rinsed the frame of the board with hot water, it was as good as new.
I also retrieved two quart size bags of sugar from the candy board.
Next I weighed 5 lbs of sugar on my handy dandy postage scale and poured this sugar into a bowl.
Here it is in the bowl.
Then I boiled 10 cups of water in my electric kettle and poured it into the sugar.
I stirred this mixture until the sugar was completely dissolved.
After the sugar was dissolved I was left with cloudy syrup. It was cloudy because the syrup was filled with little bits of paper that I used when making the board that I could not get out. These bits of paper would clog up the holes in the boardman feeder lids that I was planning to use to feed the syrup to my new package bees. Plus I did not want to feed this paper filled syrup to my new bees.
I fixed this by straining it through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
The syrup is no longer cloudy and quite clear.
I was able to use this strained syrup to successfully feed my new package bees. Here is the final result jarred up and ready to go.
Conclusion: The leftover sugar from the candy board dissolves fine. Using the paper in the candy board making process means the left over sugar made into syrup needs to be strained through a coffee filter to remove the left over paper bits at the end of the season. This was quite time consuming and frankly a pain in the butt. When I make the candy boards again, I will not use the paper, so I can avoid this straining step in the spring. Instead I plan to lay out a sheet of plastic on the floor, put the board on the plastic, then fill it with wet sugar and let it dry. When the board is finished drying I will be able to lift the entire thing off the plastic and not have to worry about bits of anything in my syrup next year. I also plan to remove any paper off any pollen patty I may use before embedding it in the sugar board.
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Did you recycle your sugar candy board into syrup? How did it work for you?