Today I made some sugar bricks using a big hardware store bucket instead of my usual metal mixing bowl, and now that I’ve done it, I’m never going back. It’s bucket mixing for now on.
I dumped 8kg (40 cups) of white granulated sugar into the bucket. I added 3.33 cups of water, though it looks like 3.0 cups would have been fine. I sprinkled in some lemongrass oil and maybe a teaspoon of the bees’ own honey. I mixed it up and then dumped it into 4 tinfoil containers, filling 3.5 of them. Each full brick comes in around 2.3kg or about 5 pounds. They will probably take a day or two to dry out and harden into proper bricks that I can easily slip into my hives in case of emergency.
Recipes for hard candy or blocks of sugar sometimes include other ingredients to reduce the growth of mould or assist the bees in converting the sucrose (white sugar) into digestable glusose and fructose. But I don’t bother with that because it doesn’t seem necessary. I’ve never had a solid sugar-based food turn mouldy on me, and my bees don’t seem to have any trouble disgesting the sugar. True, they need to dissolve the sugar in order to digest it, but they seem to produce enough moisture through their own respiration (warm humid breath) to dissolved and disgest the sugar.