Queen candy

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Te Horo
Hi all, I was deciding whether to put this in the receipe thread but decided the girls wouldn't go for GF bread.
I'm trying to find a receipe for queen candy, I am going to have a crack and breeding my own queens, not too many so don't need to use 2kgs of sugar etc.
If anyone can help out it would be much appreciated.
Oh yeah, the simpler the better 😉


BOP Club
Well, I expect those with more current knowledge/experience than me to correct me...

But what I used to do, for own use queens, was to make the (small amount) of candy using a tablespoon or two of honey - scraped off a frame from either breeder queen or one of the finisher colonies! Unorthodox, for sure, and probably frowned upon? But queen candy is so much easier to make and use if it has been made with honey - or some other form of inverted sugar syrup for the liquid.

Making queen candy with honey could spell disaster if it happened to have AFB. The way I figure, if my breeder or finisher has AFB, and I haven't picked it up, the use of the honey in the queen candy is probably the least of my worries...

Now, the sugar, traditionally described generally as 'icing sugar'. But more exactingly, you want to find a zero percent starch icing sugar. Starch is added to make it more useful for cake icing, etc, allowing the sharp edges to remain better, I think. But for queen candy, you don't want any starch, as it causes problems for the escorts digestion. You may need to hunt around - much of the icing sugar sold can have up to 5% or so starch...

The easy part? Take a tablespoon or so of honey (or inverted syrup?) and then work as much icing sugar as you possibly can into it! Just keep kneading and folding and rolling and mixing. If it ever feels somewhat sloppy, put some more icing sugar into it! Your initial bit of honey will end up making more candy than you planned for. Be warned...

Like I say, my experiences were personal, and a long time ago. I'm not sure what is considered 'best practice' now, and look forward to learning!
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Semi Commercial
Heat 300g of honey in a saucepan. Once hot mix in 1kg icing sugar until completely mixed through. I store it in an ice cream container. No need to worry about it being lots, it doesn't go off. If you want to make less just halve quantities.
I only ever use my own honey for making it.


Staff member
From David Woodwards book on Queen Rearing- which I suggest may be valuable to you.

equal quantities of starch free icing sugar with invert sugar ie Fructose, glucose or dextrose and a few drops of water.
(Honey not recommended)
Heat sugar to 50-60 degrees. Add water a drop at a time. Knead into a ball. let stand overnight and if it looses shape, add more sugar.
store in plastic bag or airtight container
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Hawkes Bay
We were always told not to use icing sugar because of the starch content. Piping sugar is supposed to be what you need.
I really don't know if the starch thing is an old wives tale or the real deal. I certainly have known quite a few people that just use ordinary icing sugar and haven't had any problems.
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Te Horo
Thanks all, it is for my own queens, I had read about the honey and AFB, what if I added some store brought honey (yes I still buy it - at the moment anyway).


Founder Member
Semi Commercial
I just took a look at the ingredients section on a packet of icing sugar, it says 97% cane sugar, 3% tapioca and maize flour. So it is true that icing sugar contains these impurities as a spreader. However I've always used icing sugar and it works fine, bees in a cage with my candy can live a very long time.

I make mine with honey purely because I believe it makes a better candy than any of the non honey candies. My honey is tested for AFB now so I can know I'm using an AFB free honey or at least AFB below the detection level which is extremely low.

To a small beekeeper who's honey is not tested I would say just use some honey from a non symptomatic hive.

You don't need much honey, if making a small batch of candy for just a few cages put a cup of icing sugar on a chopping board the pour a little honey on it and mix. If needed add some more honey until you get what seems like the righ consistency. Honey made candy should be pretty thick with no wetness on the surface. To store, sprinkle it with some icing sugar to stop the surface of it getting wet, put in an airtight container and can be stored at room temperature, will keep for years.