Wintergreen Grease Patties
Prep time: 20 minutes
Meal type: Side Dish, Snack
Misc: Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve at Hive Temperature
4.4 lb granulated sugar (use plain white sugar from cane or beets)
3 fl oz corn oil
1.5 lb vegetable shortening (this should be solid at room temperature, such as crisco or coconut oil)
1 lb honey (you can also use sugar syrup)
0.5 lb mineral salt (this is usually pink or gray)
2.2 oz wintergreen oil
Grease patties provide minerals for your bees and may help reduce the number of Varroa mites in the hive, although this is questionable. If you cannot find a source of mineral salt—or you don’t want to buy a 50-pound sack of it—go to your local pet store and buy a “bunny wheel.” A bunny wheel is nothing more than a mineral salt lick for rabbits and the bees don’t object to this addition of rabbit food to their diet.
Large doses of wintergreen oil (methyl salicylate) can be toxic to humans. Since it can be absorbed through the skin, protective gloves are a good idea.
- Pulverize the salt so it will mix evenly throughout the patties. This also prevents water droplets from forming around large salt crystals.
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly using protective gloves. Do not get wintergreen oil on your skin.
- Make patties the size of small hamburgers.
- Press the patties between pieces of wax paper and store in the freezer until you need them.
- Before serving, cut excess wax paper from the edges of the patty, but leave the rest in place. The bees will eat from the sides of the patty while the wax paper prevents the rest from drying out.