Feeding Bees? That’s a real thing?

honey-bees-326334_960_720The first time I heard about feeding bees I was dumbfounded. Why would we need to feed bees? I thought that they wouldn’t need to eat or that they’d make their own food, honey. Well was I wrong! After attending a couple of classes over keeping honeybees I found that it is important to feed the honeybees this way they are able to work in the most efficient way possible. Don’t get me wrong, there are many ways to feed bees but the most common is through sugar syrup.

You can determine if you need to feed your bees first by seeing how heavy the hive is. I make sure to feed the hive at least two or three times in the early spring to stimulate the queen and workers to start laying eggs and drawing out comb and in the late fall and early winter to help them stock up for winter. I will feed them during the winter depending on their weight of the hive. I personally don’t feed my bees during the summer months because they tend to have a strong honey and nectar flow so I don’t worry about them too much.

honey-bees-345620_960_720You can feed your bees any way that you would like but I feed mine with a one gallon frame feeder. This is simple and easy to know and remember measurements and recipes. The only drawback is drowning bees. I would recommend using the ladders that extend into the middle of the feeder or if you don’t have one of those, use pieces of bark. They work just as well. Before I get too excited and forget to tell you, the most important part of feeding the bees is how to make their food. Depending on the time of the year and how your hive is doing you can feed them a variety of different concentrations of the sugar syrup. When you are making the sugar syrup, you will only use water and sugar. I recommend that you use white granulated cane sugar if possible. Avoid honey, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and beet sugar. In the spring, I would recommend mixing up a 1:2 syrup. This is considered a light syrup and is used normally during the months of March, April, and May. You will use one cup sugar to two cups of water. This syrup stimulates the queen to lay eggs and helps the bees draw out more comb. This is not the only type of syrup though. The second type of syrup is used during the months of June, July, and August. This is a 1:1 syrup, which is considered the medium syrup. You will use one cup of sugar to one cup of water. This syrup is used as artificial nectar to feed brood larvae and to get the bees to draw out more combs. Make sure that you stop feeding them when you add the honey supers during this time or any other time you decide to add the honey supers. The last kind of syrup that you can make is a 2:1 syrup. This syrup is used during the months of September, October, and November and is considered a heavy syrup. You will use two cups of sugar to one cup of water. This is used as a honey substitute for the bees during the winter to get them to store more food for the winter so that you won’t have to make a candy board or fondant for the bees during the winter. When you are feeding make sure that you feed only until your brood chambers are full. You want to feed them from their weak point to the point of where they look healthy and strong. If you determine that your hives are not heavy enough you can feed the bees candy boards and fondant during the winter months. For the most part, I believe that these other times will be the few times that you will have to feed them. I definitely would watch to see if you will need to mix up food for the winter though.

beesWhen you are making the syrups, you will first want to make sure that you bring the water to a proper boil and then reduce the heat to low. From there you will add the proper amount of sugar to the water and stir it until it dissolves. Do not burn or cook the sugar. As long as you get all the sugar to dissolve from the bottom, you will be golden. Make sure you let the sugar syrup cool before you feed it to the bees.

Once you have let the syrups cool and transport the food out to your hives, I would open up you hives and take out a frame to insert your feeder. There are many different kinds of feeders but in this case, it is a gallon frame feeder. After you place the feeder into the hive, I would take the food that you have mixed up and slowly pour it into the feeder, careful not to slop it all over the place. The more you slop it around the more work the bees have to clean up. After you have filled the feeder you can close up the hive and let the little workers get back to their normal, busy lives.Emily Cumming bio pic

Barbecued Brisket

Barbecued Brisket2Ingredients

4 lb. brisket

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon sage

½ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

1 ½ cup ketchup



  • If the brisket has abundant fat, trim some of the fat off before proceeding. Spread salt and pepper over all surfaces of the brisket.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Pour 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place brisket on the sauce.  Pour 1/3 of the sauce on top of the brisket.  Cover and bake in a 275º oven for 4 ¼ hours.
  • Slice thinly and serve with the remainder of the sauce.

Asparagus Bacon Quiche

Asparagus Bacon Quiche2Ingredients

1 purchased or homemade pie crust

8 oz. sliced mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

½ pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

6 large eggs

¾ cup table cream

4 green onions, sliced

1 roasted red pepper, sliced

1 ½ cup white cheese, shredded

6 strips smoky bacon, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

salt and pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Spray a removable bottom tart pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium skillet, saute mushrooms in oil until golden. Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Place asparagus pieces in a microwave-safe dish. Add a small amount of water.  Microwave for 3 minutes.  Drain, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cool.
  5. Roll out pie crust; press into the tart pan.
  6. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the cream and stir to combine.
  7. Add all other ingredients and gently fold them in. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the pie shell.
  9. Set the pan on a cookie sheet; bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in the pan 15 minutes before removing the tart pan sides.


Yield:  8 servings

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake2Ingredients:


½ cup flour

½ cup packed brown sugar

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, melted


½ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups blueberries


¾ cup powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan or springform pan with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides.
  2. Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with a fork until well-blended.  Set aside.
  3. To make the cake batter, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and milk and mix until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to batter and mix until smooth.
  5. Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. Top with about half of the streusel mixture, then half of the blueberries.
  6. Spread remaining batter over streusel. Sprinkle remaining streusel and blueberries over the top of the cake batter.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
  8. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  9. To make glaze, combine powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl. Mix until smooth.  Drizzle the glaze over the coffee cake.

NOTE:  Frozen blueberries may be used, but baking time must be lengthened.


Yield:  8 servings

Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad

Asparagus Egg and Bacon Salad


1 large hard boiled egg, peeled and sliced

1 2/3 cups chopped asparagus

2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

pinch of salt, and pepper to taste



  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender yet firm. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Arrange the asparagus on a plate, top with egg and bacon. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.


Yield:  1 serving if eaten as a meal, 2 servings if used as an accompaniment of a meal

Almond Chicken Casserole

Almond Chicken Casserole2Ingredients

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup mayonnaise

2 celery ribs, chopped

3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 8-oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1 4-oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper *

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup crushed cornflakes

2 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup sliced almonds



  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 12 ingredients (through *)
  2. Transfer to a greased 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish; sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Toss cornflakes with butter; sprinkle over the cheese. Top with almonds.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350º for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.


Yield: 6-8 servings

Recipe source: Taste of Home Magazine

Eggs For Your Spring Basket Up, Salad and Orange Juice Down

Lower retail prices for several foods, including salad, orange juice, shredded cheddar, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, vegetable oil, white bread, ground chuck, deli ham and orange juice, resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.28, down $.59 or about 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, ten decreased and six increased in average price.

CS16_054 Spring Marketbasket Graphic_vert“Egg prices are up sharply from first quarter of 2015, a year ago but are down even more sharply from the third quarter of 2015. This shows the effect of the HPAI (High Pathogenic Avian Influenza) event last year,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Prices soared in the latter half of last year, but are working their way back down as increasing production has started to catch up with demand, which has moderated prices somewhat,” he said.

Prices on the beef items in the marketbasket – ground chuck and sirloin tip roast – are lower compared with the first quarter of 2015, explained Anderson.  Retail beef prices peaked in early 2015 at record high levels.
“Since then, a combination of increasing beef production, weaker exports, and lower competing meat prices have led to modest price declines,” he said.

Dairy product prices also remain relatively low. At $4.29 for a one-pound bag, shredded cheddar cheese price is at the lowest price in this survey since the third quarter of 2012.  The whole milk price rose almost 3 percent from the third quarter of last year, but that third quarter price was the lowest price in the survey since 2010, noted Anderson.  The whole milk price remains well below the 2015 first-quarter price.
“Apple prices are up quite a bit year-over-year. This is a reversal of retail prices that were historically low in 2015,” said Anderson. Last year, the apple market faced a really tough export environment with labor disruptions at west coast ports as well as an increasingly strong dollar.

“Current retail apple prices are still below some pretty recent years, for example 2011 and 2012,” he said.

Items showing retail price decreases from a year ago included:

  • bagged salad, down 11 percent to $2.20 per pound
  • orange juice, down 8 percent to $3.21 per half-gallon
  • shredded cheddar cheese, down 7 percent to $4.29 per pound
  • whole milk, down 6 percent to $3.23 per gallon
  • ground chuck, down 5 percent to $4.36 per pound
  • vegetable oil, down 5 percent to $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • white bread, down 3 percent to $1.69 per 20-ounce loaf
  • flour, down 1 percent to $2.49 for a 5-pound bag
  • sirloin tip roast, down 1 percent to $5.65 per pound
  • potatoes, down 1 percent to $2.71 for a 5-pound bag

These items showed modest retail price increase compared to a year ago:

  • apples, up 12 percent to $1.64 per pound
  • eggs, up 9 percent to $2.23 per dozen
  • bacon, up 8 percent to $4.78 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, up 6 percent to $3.31 for a 9-ounce box
  • chicken breast, up 3 percent to $3.37 per pound
  • deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.57 per pound

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.13; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.32; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.67.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm) report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $53.28 marketbasket would be $8.52.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 87 shoppers in 28 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.