Can bees REALLY draw out wax on fondant??

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tchu 

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I was going to follow a method of Converting nation deep to 14x12 adapted for the beginning of April. Said method involves feeding them fondant this time of the year to encourage them to draw out combs.

I shared the method with an experienced beekeepeer who told me that bees won’t draw out wax on fondant, and if I wanted to feed the bees to draw wax, it needs to be liquid feed. Said beekeeper didn’t have to opportunity to answer me if I could give them liquid feed this week when temperatures are falling below zero.

So my questions are:

Can bees draw out wax on fondant?

Is it harmful to give them liquid feed in early storing when temperatures can still drop below zero at night?

Thanks
 

Finman 

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I was going to follow a method of Converting

So my questions are:

Can bees draw out wax on fondant

Thanks
Bees are not willing to draw wax in spring.
They do not have proper age of bees to make wax.

Why your bees chould draw combs now?

If bees are nyt able to make wax, they can move wax from combs or from foundations. They may make big holes to foundations.

What is the situation in hives? Are coloniew expanding? Do you have ready last year combs?
 
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Bear 

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Bees are not willing to draw wax in spring.
They do not have proper age of bees to make wax.
Have a look at my pictures taken on the 1st of April. They do make wax, just in the wrong places!!! I know of one beekeeper who only feeds his bees syrup, never fondant. Mine were on fondant now back on syrup because of this cold spell we’re getting just now.

1DDC2CDA-AFD1-4FFB-978C-056DE6FC5B08.jpeg43D8D675-D650-493C-85AE-687D30DB976D.jpeg
 

Erichalfbee 

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Have a look at my pictures taken on the 1st of April. They do make wax, just in the wrong places!!! I know of one beekeeper who only feeds his bees syrup, never fondant. Mine were on fondant now back on syrup because of this cold spell we’re getting just now.

View attachment 25276View attachment 25277
Why did you put the feeder straight on the top bars?
 

Finman 

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Have a look at my pictures taken on the 1st of April. They do make wax,
They surely do. But the "method" is very strange. No one use that.

At least white wax shows, that they are able to make wax.

The colony seems to bee strong and perhaps needs more space.In that situation I would pour syrup into directly into combs. 5 kg sugar would be good. Then those combs into a new box and the box under the brood box.
 

Bear 

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Why did you put the feeder straight on the top bars?
I ALWAYS feed directly on top of the frames. Had a couple hives die out not able to get through the crown board in the past so I take no chances now. I remove the queen excluder and crown board in the winter.
 

Mint Bee 

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I was going to follow a method of Converting nation deep to 14x12 adapted for the beginning of April. Said method involves feeding them fondant this time of the year to encourage them to draw out combs.

I shared the method with an experienced beekeepeer who told me that bees won’t draw out wax on fondant, and if I wanted to feed the bees to draw wax, it needs to be liquid feed. Said beekeeper didn’t have to opportunity to answer me if I could give them liquid feed this week when temperatures are falling below zero.

So my questions are:

Can bees draw out wax on fondant?

Is it harmful to give them liquid feed in early storing when temperatures can still drop below zero at night?

Thanks
Where are you based? Currently have comments from Finland, Scotland and Wales and their April will be very different to advice from elsewhere. Nectar was coming in in the South of England and I have added supers to a few strong hives due to space issues. Worth remembering, its better to work with the bees, and they don't work to a calendar, they respond to the ongoing environmental conditions.
 

Bear 

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They surely do. But the "method" is very strange. No one use that.

At least white wax shows, that they are able to make wax.

The colony seems to bee strong and perhaps needs more space.In that situation I would pour syrup into directly into combs. 5 kg sugar would be good. Then those combs into a new box and the box under the brood box.
Well nobody you know uses that method you mean!! As for pouring syrup directly into the comb, I’d think most would just go every where and make a mess. The hive is strong and ready for supers BUT the weather has changed and is below zero at night and have snow / hailstones. Temperature forecast for today 4 degrees at the warmest. Feeding them now because of this cold spell. Had the weather been normal supers would have Been added and no feed given.
 

Bear 

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Worth remembering, its better to work with the bees, and they don't work to a calendar, they respond to the ongoing environmental conditions
Couldn’t have put it any better than that!
 

tchu 

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Where are you based? Currently have comments from Finland, Scotland and Wales and their April will be very different to advice from elsewhere. Nectar was coming in in the South of England and I have added supers to a few strong hives due to space issues. Worth remembering, its better to work with the bees, and they don't work to a calendar, they respond to the ongoing environmental conditions.
Hertfordshire, SE
 

pargyle 

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Well nobody you know uses that method you mean!! As for pouring syrup directly into the comb, I’d think most would just go every where and make a mess. The hive is strong and ready for supers BUT the weather has changed and is below zero at night and have snow / hailstones. Temperature forecast for today 4 degrees at the warmest. Feeding them now because of this cold spell. Had the weather been normal supers would have Been added and no feed given.
Firstly, no the syrup does not go everywhere if you pour it into a frame with the frame horizontal and then gently tip it up to the vertical. The cells are angled slightly uprwards and if you leave a section of comb at the bottom of the frame with empty cells then any surplus tends to run into those. In some circumstances it's a good way of getting syrup into a colony that really need it.

Secondly, I suspect your bees are building all that free comb in order to store the syrup which they probably do not need ...

Thirdly, nobody puts a rapid syrup feeder straight on to the top bars and removes the crown board., You are creating a huge void above the frames and the brood space which is giving your bees a large area that they have to heat ..... you say you are worried about the cold up there in Aberdeenshire but you are creating conditions that will make it HARDER for them to keep warm.

I'm not convinced that your bees need feeding at present but if you must then use the rapid feeder as it should be used - with the entry above a hole in the crownboard, put an empty super around it and pack some insulation around the feeder (I have celotex/kingspan blocks with feeder size holes cut in them that fill the void in the super).

Lastly, have you really checked that they NEED feedng... if they are building free comb like that I suspect that there will be three or four frames of capped stores in the hive - more if you have been feeding them over winter ...
 
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pargyle 

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Firstly, yes - it is going to be a bit seasonally cold in your neck of the woods for the next couple of days but after that temperatures are rising and by the middle of April you will be seeing temperatures more up in to the region where they will take 1:1 syrup down and it will help them build comb.

So ... personally, I would hold off your intended box swap for a couple of weeks - there's no desperate rush and depending on your locality you will have an abundance of fruit trees in blossom by then.

Just put the national frames into your 14 x 12 box - they will add free comb at the bottom of the frames - nothing to hate in that - feed if you must but don't be tempted to add a super or you will end up with sugar in your spring honey crop. Again, I would not feed them - if there is forage about they will draw the comb that they need on the existing frames and then you can gradually swap out your nationals one at a time and give them 14 x 12's to replace them.

I can't think why your experienced mentor did not give you a better idea about how to move a national to 14 x 12.
 

Boston Bees 

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I was going to follow a method of Converting nation deep to 14x12 adapted for the beginning of April. Said method involves feeding them fondant this time of the year to encourage them to draw out combs.

I shared the method with an experienced beekeepeer who told me that bees won’t draw out wax on fondant, and if I wanted to feed the bees to draw wax, it needs to be liquid feed. Said beekeeper didn’t have to opportunity to answer me if I could give them liquid feed this week when temperatures are falling below zero.

So my questions are:

Can bees draw out wax on fondant?

Is it harmful to give them liquid feed in early storing when temperatures can still drop below zero at night?

Thanks
Coming back to your actual question tchu (rather than squabbling over Bear's photo :ROFLMAO: )

One of the triggers for bees to produce wax, and thus want to draw out comb, is when they find that they are gathering more sugar (whether it be from nectar/syrup/fondant) than they have room for. Rather than storing the sugar in cells they ingest/absorb (whatever) it, and convert it into wax.

Any major surge of sugar can cause this situation.

But it is probably true that bees can take down syrup faster than they can take down fondant, per unit of sugar.

As such, if you want to create a situation where the colony feels it has to expand, and thus produce wax and build combs, syrup is probably better than fondant.

In colder conditions (sub 12C?) bees won't take syrup. But then in colder conditions bees aren't likely to draw wax anyway......

I haven't done a side-by-side syrup vs fondant experiment to prove any of this!
 

Bear 

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Secondly, I suspect your bees are building all that free comb in order to store the syrup which they probably do not need ...

Thirdly, nobody puts a rapid syrup feeder straight on to the top bars and removes the crown board., You are creating a huge void above the frames and the brood space which is giving your bees a large area that they have to heat ..... you say you are worried about the cold up there in Aberdeenshire but you are creating conditions that will make it HARDER for them to keep warm.

I'm not convinced that your bees need feeding at present but if you must then use the rapid feeder as it should be used - with the entry above a hole in the crownboard, put an empty super around it and pack some insulation around the feeder (I have celotex/kingspan blocks with feeder size holes cut in them that fill the void in the super.

Lastly, have you really checked that they NEED feedng... if they are building free comb like that I suspect that there will be three or four frames of capped stores in the hive - more if you have been feeding them over winter ...
Well I agree they probably DONT need feeding. But how long is this cold going to last? “Nobody puts a rapid syrup feeder straight onto the top bars and removes the crown board”. Well I have, and as for insulation they are WELL insulated. Wouldn’t be much of a picture if I left it on. I agree it should be a contact feeder and not a rapid feeder, and the reason I have a rapid feeder on is there is food for them if they need extra food. And as I’ve stated in a last post. I have lost colonies and blame the gap between the top bars and the bottom of the crown board. I always feed directly onto the top bars regardless of syrup or fondant. Would you put supers on in this weather?98996399-D539-44E9-89FC-F12EF0E45633.jpeg
 

Finman 

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Well nobody you know uses that method you mean!! As for pouring syrup directly into the comb, I’d think most would just go every where and make a
I ALWAYS feed directly on top of the frames. Had a couple hives die out not able to get through the crown board in the past so I take no chances now. I remove the queen excluder and crown board in the winter.
Ok. You are full learned. No idea to to use time to you.
 

Mint Bee 

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Firstly, yes - it is going to be a bit seasonally cold in your neck of the woods for the next couple of days but after that temperatures are rising and by the middle of April you will be seeing temperatures more up in to the region where they will take 1:1 syrup down and it will help them build comb.

So ... personally, I would hold off your intended box swap for a couple of weeks - there's no desperate rush and depending on your locality you will have an abundance of fruit trees in blossom by then.

Just put the national frames into your 14 x 12 box - they will add free comb at the bottom of the frames - nothing to hate in that - feed if you must but don't be tempted to add a super or you will end up with sugar in your spring honey crop. Again, I would not feed them - if there is forage about they will draw the comb that they need on the existing frames and then you can gradually swap out your nationals one at a time and give them 14 x 12's to replace them.

I can't think why your experienced mentor did not give you a better idea about how to move a national to 14 x 12.
The only thing I would add to Phil's comments would be to consider the size of the colony once the temperature warms up. if you have a large colony with 6+ capped brood frames, you may want to consider adding the 14x12 box directly above the existing hive, and in which case I would feed to aid drawing out the comb, even with a flow on (look up Bailey brood change). Keep the hive well insulated above the crown board and they will take syrup at low temperatures, if they need it - are you on wood or poly hives?

maybe come back with more information once you have inspected prior to carrying out the swap?
 

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