It’s April 2019. I’ve deleted the original post from 2012 and I’m rewriting it right now on the spot to keep things short and simple. So basically my bees seemed to be running low on honey. So I gave them some sugar by laying newspaper over the top bars and pouring dry sugar over the newspaper. This is often referred to as the “Mountain Camp method,” but really it’s just a variant of sugar feeding that’s been around for a long time. There are many ways to feed bees sugar in the winter. This is just one of them. Here’s the video:
The advantage of dry sugar feeding is that it’s easy. Lay down the newspaper and pour in the sugar and you’re done. The tricky part is adding more sugar later on in the winter (if necessary). The newspaper is often chewed to pieces and the sugar is off in small piles around the top bars — and then of course the bees are often crawling all over the sugar or clinging to the underside of the inner cover or the moisture quilt. And that’s when things can get complicated.
And that’s why I eventually switched to sugar bricks instead. It’s a mix of 12 parts sugar and 1 part water (always highly processed white granulated sugar for low ash content). It’s much easier to slip a brick under the inner cover than it is the expose the hive to cold weather while pouring in dry sugar. And it’s much easier to add additional bricks when necessary.
The only minor complication is that both dry sugar feeding and sugar bricks require a rim to create space for the sugar, but that’s a pretty minor complication.
If I had to feed bees dry sugar again, I would probably cover over the back two-thirds of the top bars, not the entire area as shown in the above photo. Having a third of the top bars clear of sugar allows me to look down through the frames and see what the bees are doing, which is always a good thing.