Candy Board Feeder and Recipe

by Steven Josephsen


hand saw
framing square
staple gun
tin snips
mixing bowl
measuring cups/spoons
large mixing spoon


1/4" to 1/2" hardware cloth at least 22" x 19"
wood 1”x3” to match hive body
wood glue
small nails
granular cane sugar
white vinegar (prevents mold/mildew)
pollen substitute or 1 patty (optional)


Make a box frame the exact dimensions of your beehive. (16” X 19 7/8” = Langstroth 10 frame). The height should be about 2” to 4” but it is not critical. Getting it square and level IS critical, however. Using corner clamps really helps! I like to use wood glue AND nails to fasten the pieces together. You can use a spare medium or shallow honey super to make a candy board frame. If you have old boxes that have partly rotted away, you can carefully cut them down to a usable size with a table saw. Once the outer framework is hard & dry, add the hardware cloth. Lay the wire flat and center the box on top. Mark the wire on the inside corners, then cut out a square to that point. This will create four “flaps” that you will bend up so that the mesh makes a nest inside the wooden frame. Settle this down inside your box and staple it securely all the way around. Create a couple of easy access routes by clipping away some of the hardware cloth when using ¼” or 1/8” mesh. The ½” mesh is big enough that bees can get through anywhere, so clipping an opening is unnecessary. I like having openings at the front and back to good allow air-flow. Some put 5, (one in each corner and one in the center).


Full Frame (Makes 1 ½” thick layer)

16 pounds of granulated sugar
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Small Candy Block (Makes a 7” X 11” X 2” block)

4 pounds of granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Spread newspaper over the work area to make clean-up easier. Pour sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add vinegar to the water, and slowly pour into sugar, 1 cup at a time while stirring until well combined. This recipe creates a stiff damp mass of sugar that will hold its shape as you pack or tamp it into place. Allow it to set up for a few hours or overnight.


A Candy Board serves several purposes. It is a food source for bees over Winter when nectar is unavailable. It can prevent accidental starvation. It gives bees a head-start for making a strong colony in the Spring. (Adding a pollen patty is especially helpful for this.) Sugar candy will wick moisture away from hive over the winter, keeping your bees drier, helping to prevent condensation from dripping on them and freezing them.