sugar syrup - how?

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House Bee
Apr 16, 2009
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uk, Abingdon
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How do you make your sugar syrup?
how i make it - i boil the water and add it to the sugar, heat it a bit to help solving the crystals. The question is why is it crystallising in the feeder? am i doing something wrong here?

I mix mine in a gallon plastic container, put in 4lbs sugar and add 2 pints boiling water straight from the kettle, lid on and shake a few times, that weight is not a problem to shake, double the amount tends to be harder work as the liquid creates it's own momentum which you have to fight :) Then I pour it into a larger container and start again. Crystalizing indicates the sugar has not dissolved properly, if a sugar/water solution boils before the sugar crystals have dissolved then they will not do so, don't ask me why, but all recipes that are a sugar boiled product....jam etc. all tell you to carefully stir over gentle heat till the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil.

should i give it a little boil before removing from the heat? i use 3 kg of sugar and 1.5 l of water. makes me 3.5 l of syrup. and it takes time to solve all that.

Don't boil it at all. Add the sugar to cold water, in parts if it's a large amount, and warm it until the sugar crystals disappear stirring all the time. Takes about 5 mins.
the bee's will still except even if its not all dissolved wont they?
I'll spare you the techy bit but don't boil the water, you'll get partial di-sacharide breakdown (which you dont want). Either go for an invert sugar (like you'd get in a good fondant) or not - syrup is 'not'. Most effective dissolving technique is to warm to 45'C (thermo is great if not thats roughly a warm bath). Check with your finger! leave on a low heat, in with the sugar, re-warm whilst vigourously stirring until back to your warm bath, heat off. Continue to stir until virtually clear and then cool. Check your sugar does not have additives like sulphites (some do). Cane or beet source should not make any difference. Dont use caster or icing even if it's in the cupboard crying out to be used - often contain silicon dioxide an undeclared anti-cake agent. Syrup wont clear and you wont know if its just the SiO2 or a poor mix. R
I have a double based 'dixie' (holds 2 gallons of syrup!,
I place required amount of sugar in, then add required amount of water from my hot water system, stir and apply heat , continue stirring until boiling point is reached, check that there are no crystal left. Job done!.
Don't boil the syrup , the temperature will quickly rise above 100c and before you know it you are in the realms of toffee making :).

John Wilkinson
Sorry rossi,
cross posted ( takes me longer than 4 mins to type a passage :cheers2:)

John Wilkinson
well, already three different ways to make the point out I buy my 5 kg sugar bags from tesco and that must do the job.

well, already three different ways to make the point out I buy my 5 kg sugar bags from tesco and that must do the job.


You're making it too difficult......................:grouphug: You have now been advised by at least 3 different people not to boil the syrup. I explained it simply, Rosti went a bit technical. It doesn't matter what size bag you use, if it's 5kg use 2 and a half litres of water add it hot and stir or cold and heat and stir. Don't boil. :)

the bee's will still except even if its not all dissolved wont they?

They won't eat the crystals, they will get left in the bottom of the feeder, it's a waste of may not be much but it's easy enough to do the job properly.

There's cheaper than that :). The BBKA has a deal with Brooker :).

Baaa howl baaa !!!. ..

John Wilkinson
All beekeepers have a deal with Booker if you are a member of the BBKA or not.

Or has that just gone over my head John :laughing-smiley-004

just mentioned my origin of the sugar i use, hence the Tesco bit:)

Thanks for your good advice Frisbee!

Just to add to the confusion I am on the look out for a single tub washing machine as my old one is in another life.

I have mixed tons of sugar using one, just needed to replace the impeller now and again...

Cold water worked fine. Two pounds to a pint ratio.

does anyone adds a drop of vinegar to their sugar syrup? once red from one smart book that adding vinegar changes the ph more acid which helps bees to convert it more easily. Specially good was a wine vinegar ( made of apples) which consists lots of potassium to give your little ladies some winter boost.


Dunno Lauri, but Netto are doing sugar at 50p / kilo atm.

Thick syrup - winter feed (inc autumn after honey crop)
I use a jam kettle on a hob, and do 6 bags (=6 kilo) to 2 electric kettle-fulls (=3 litres), warming gently makes it dissolve faster but is not essential. Never fails and doesn't crystalize afterwards. I add a large pinch of thymol which is anti-fungal and seems to prevent fermentation.

Thin syrup - for spring and summer
Same as above but 3 bags sugar and no thymol.
I heat water and make about 63% syrup.
If syrup is too strong, it is slow to suck and start to carry water.
They need not vinegar or other tricks.

i have tryed cold water syrup but it leaves too much water in syrup.
I use about 600 kg sugar now.

polyhives washing machine trick is good. I will use it.
Last edited:
PH - we know you discovered the washing machine lark after you sugar starched your petticoats ( as in the 60's!!)

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