Keeping your Hive Alive during the Winter

Now that winter is upon us it is time to think of your bee’s and how their food supply is looking for the winter.  It is important to maintain a source of food for your hive especially in the states where winter is very harsh. A simple solution is to make Sugar Candy for your hive. This Sugar Candy or Fondant can be made and fed to bees in small molds or with a special rim feeder called candy boards. To make these candy boards, use an inner cover, add a rim that is 1 inch or deeper on the edges. When the candy board is filled with fondant, place a queen excluder over it (prevents it from breaking up), then invert it over the cluster. This method is less messy than feeding syrup or dry sugar.

The basic Fondant or sugar candy recipe ( for one colony) is:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, or 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (tartaric acid)
  • 11/2 cups boiling water
  • Combine all ingredients and heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves; heat the mixture to 238 F without stirring ( or until medium ball develops on the candy thermometer)
  • Pour the syrup onto a cold platter and let it cool until it is warm to the touch.
  • Beat the syrup until it turns white, and then pour into molds or shallow dishes if you did not go with the board feeder. Please use caution, Syrup mixture is very hot!
  • Make sure that the mold are made from metal or glass.
  • Once the candy has hardened, it can be inverted over the top bars near the cluster.

Fall Preperation

Now is a good time to check for mite and lice on your birds and treat if necessary. Also check for signs of worms. Some people treat for both of these problems every fall as a preventative measure, while many others only treat if they see a problem. However, fall is a great time to give your birds and their coops a thorough evaluation.

Welcome to Cutler Supply’s Blog

Welcome to Cutler’s Supply’s new blog. We hope everyone is having a good summer with their birds and/or bees. We are hoping that this blog can serve as a duel purpose, A) to help our customers connect with other customers: to get advice, share stories about problems and solutions, and provide/receive information about what is working or not working. B) Cutler’s Supply staff share information or answer common questions that we hope will be beneficial to our customers.

We will try to keep up with this blog, but it is new to us and will continue to have getting orders processed and shipped our top priority. If you have an urgent question or concern please call us at (810) 633-9450 or email us directly at

I personally have never written on a blog so I will do my best, with the help of our staff and customers to make this a valuable resource for our customers. If you have any suggestions of topics or questions you would like us to post please feel free to let me know. Thank you for your continued business.


Karen Cutler-Racz

older publications

We have old “Peafowl Today”, “NAGA (North American Gamebird Association) News”, and “APWS (American Pheasant & Waterfowl Society) Magazine” publications that we would love to share with you instead of filling the landfill. Email us your address if you would like us to mail you a few of these.

Should you medicate your hive this fall?

Some beekeepers do not medicate at all, some medicate only if there is a bad outbreak, while others medicate as a preventive measure. After your last honey harvest you can medicate hives for mites, nosema, or any other pest or disease if needed. Be sure to follow the pesticide’s directions exactly and use only the approved methods.

Mite-away-Quick Strips are effective in treating varroa mites and leave no residue.

If your bees are showing signs of nosema, the antibiotic Fumigillin is used to keep the spores from germinating.

American Foulbrood is also often treated in the spring and fall with the antibiotic Tylan.

Our link to Beekeeping medicine and information about the above problems is:

Feel free to add information about why you do or do not medicate your hives in the fall.


Fall chores for beekeepers

Your colonies should be getting set for the winter by now. They may still be bringing in pollen from the late-blooming plants. It is time to ensure that the hives are watertight, well ventilated and guarded against unwelcome intruders such as mice. It is also a time for some form of Varroa mite control. The reason for treating the colony at this time of year is that there aren’t as many larvae around, which is what the mites feed on, so if you rid the hive of the pest now, the new larvae laid in the spring will hopefully be Varroa-free and any traces of medication will have gone by the time the honey flow arrives. There are a range of different methods and treatments for Varroa Mite control, we carry Mite Away II Quick-Strips (BZMITE).

Most people recommend that you have two deep brood bodies and, in the colder longer winter states, a super or two of capped honey for the winter. At this point you should remove and clean the extra supers and frames. While storing them for the winter you may want to use our  BZM4 Para-Moth  Wax Moth Control.

This is a good time to give your hives a fresh coat of paint and check to make sure the hives are tight and seal any cracks. It is also important to provide adequate ventilation so when the warm air from the cluster of bees rises and hits the cold air it does not cause condensation which drips down onto the bees. You may also want to use our BZWRAP Bee Cozy Winter Hive Wrap to insulate your hive. wrap

Fall is also a great time to make plans for using your beeswax you collected. Are you going to make Christmas gifts? Candles? Lip Balm? Moisturizers?

Please feel free to add your comments about what you find helpful or necessary to help your bees survive and thrive during the winter.


Cannibalism in Game BIrds

To prevent cannibalism in game birds you need to use red lights to help keep them calm and to not see the other guy so well. You also need to give them as much space as possible. Over crowding is a big problem. There are plastic and metal bits that can be put on their beaks. Some will need to be changed as they grow. This fits over the top part of the beak and hooks in to the side of the nostril. They can’t close their beaks tight and that keeps them from pulling out the feathers of the other guy. If you can wait until they are four to six weeks old you can put the peepers on them. This will give them blinding protection so they can’t see the other guy. The perfect peepers are more square and can’t go on until they are six weeks old. These will give more blinding protection and cause more stress on the birds and that is why you need to wait until they are older. You can chose from c-clips or nylon pins to attach the peepers. There are economy blinders that can go on when they are four weeks old. They will need either pins or c clips to attach them to the birds also. We also have the clip on ones that don’t require pins or c-clips to attach them. They have a built in pin that just hooks into the side of the nostril. These may not stay on as well as the others. There is also Blue Kote spray and Hot Pick lotion to help prevent pecking and heal the wounds.