Can bees REALLY draw out wax on fondant??

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Ian123 

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Yes bees will draw comb on fondant it’s just another food source. Bees will happily draw comb this time of year even Nucs but only expect results in relation to colony size. A couple of pints above a new box won’t hurt particularly if weather is fickle. But ask yourself do they need it! If the box below is jammed with stores score/scrape cappings adjacent to the brood area below they will shift it or convert. If they are expanding well next inspection lift a frame of emerging brood into box above and shuffle up below, that normally gets them up. You won’t be into them again until this cold passes so just give them syrup if you give them anything at all, why give them the extra work. Pouring syrup into frames works fine but is normally reserved for emergencies and putting feed in direct contact with the bees/cluster in situations when they are really starving. Finsky may use it more with his colder temps and bees reluctance to travel or use cold syrup. Ian
 

pargyle 

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Well I agree they probably DONT need feeding. I always feed directly onto the top bars regardless of syrup or fondant. Would you put supers on in this weather?
Well ... you are probably in a minority then ... of course I was not suggesting putting a super on ... what I said was that the conventional (and in my opinion best) way is to put the rapid feeder or contact feeder above a crown board with a hole in it, put an EMPTY super on top of the crownboard and then pack insulation around and above the feeder. The heat generated by the bees will keep the syrup at a temperature that they will take it down and the insulation will maintain the temperature. I'm not surprised you have lost colonies - bees do not like taking down cold syrup.

If it's cold then you are better off feeding them fondant (if they need it !) ... and you can put that straght on the top bars if you wish - it's a proven method. I rarely need to feed fondant but when I do, again, I do it above a hole in the crownboard in a plastic container and - you have probably guessed - inside a super packed with insulation !
 

Bear 

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Ok. You are full learned. No idea to to use time to you.
I have my method which in my opinion works, and until something goes wrong I’m sticking to it. You have your method and so will others. Im not criticising your method or anybody else’s. I’m sticking to what I have experienced as “working for me”.
 

pargyle 

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I have my method which in my opinion works, and until something goes wrong I’m sticking to it. You have your method and so will others. Im not criticising your method or anybody else’s. I’m sticking to what I have experienced as “working for me”.
Rather than something that works better for everyone else ? If you don't try something different how will you know your way is best ?
 

Bear 

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Well ... you are probably in a minority then ... of course I was not suggesting putting a super on ... what I said was that the conventional (and in my opinion best) way is to put the rapid feeder or contact feeder above a crown board with a hole in it, put an EMPTY super on top of the crownboard and then pack insulation around and above the feeder. The heat generated by the bees will keep the syrup at a temperature that they will take it down and the insulation will maintain the temperature. I'm not surprised you have lost colonies - bees do not like taking down cold syrup.

If it's cold then you are better off feeding them fondant (if they need it !) ... and you can put that straght on the top bars if you wish - it's a proven method. I rarely need to feed fondant but when I do, again, I do it above a hole in the crownboard in a plastic container and - you have probably guessed - inside a super packed with insulation !
Well I used to do that. But since I changed the way i feed them (straight onto the top bars) I haven't lost a colony. So it’s a case of me just sticking to what I know works.
 

Bear 

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Rather than something that works better for everyone else ? If you don't try something different how will you know your way is best ?
I Just like the way I do it. I used to use Kingspan, quntherm etc as insulation but found it a job to get right into the corners. I now use different insulation. As of now it equates too 600mm glass wool insulation. But it’s not glasswool. Fills the supers perfect to the inside. No gaps at all.
 

Finman 

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I use often foundations against the hive wall in winter. In spring I have sawn that bees do not touch the foundations. When dandelions and gardens give honey bees starts to draw foundations.

I give box or two foundations per hive during main yield.

According the amount of foundations 2/3 are brood size.

Artificial swarms are splended situation to draw foundations one or two boxes.
 

pargyle 

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I Just like the way I do it. I used to use Kingspan, quntherm etc as insulation but found it a job to get right into the corners. I now use different insulation. As of now it equates too 600mm glass wool insulation. But it’s not glasswool. Fills the supers perfect to the inside. No gaps at all.
I use Kingspan and Celotex a lot ... yes you do have to leave a couple of millimetres around the edges if you want to be able to get it out of the super. What I've been doing is putting a second solid crownboard (just a thin ply one) above the super and under the roof - but I'm not sure that it's really necessary as you can really feel the heat of the colony underneath the Kingspan blocks.
 

thebhoy 

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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
So many answers and variables...bees can and will draw out comb when being fed fondant, if they need the comb and, if the colony is reasonable size and temperatures are ok. It is a food source providing carbohydrates for energy and bees can convert the energy into wax production.
I see you are the south of England, temps have not been too bad although chilly just now but will warm up again, inside the colony the 'cluster' size / bee numbers will determine whether wax production is a viable use of resources and work accordingly.

By feeding a liquid on top of the frames the colony temps raise the temp of the liquid and the bees can use it, I tend to use some glass jars with holes punched in the lid, the bees take it as needed and the vacuum inside the jar stop the liquid leaking, I use an empty super for this and I actually use large incontinence pads to absorb any moisture and keep the heat in...I am in London and have been feeding some colonies liquid since mid Feb as well as fondant and protein patties to boost brood production...this in itself produces the young bees required for wax production.
Dependant on weather forecast from next week you could opt for a liquid feed via jars as this will be used up quicker, trick the bees into thinking a flow is on, encourage brood production and necessitate more storage space thus encouraging the bees to draw more comb and quicker.

Good luck with whichever you go with but the simple answer to your question is YES
 

tchu 

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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?
Wood hives only.

I got this method of converting national deep to 14x12 from an English Beekeepeer YouTube channel, who performed this method in the beginning of April last year:

Put 14x12 box (new box) underneath standard national (old box) so the brood can extend downwards, which allowed you also to keep your fondant on top of the old box so the bees can use that to draw out combs in the new box when they get out to get some water to break down that fondant. When you see that they are in a really good flow then you find the queen, you remove the fondant, get the queen, put her in a single frame underneath the queen excluder (qx), so you have the floor, new box with single frame of brood with queen on, qx on top, old box with brood in all stages. Leave that for 4 weeks (standard brood cycle is 3 weeks so leave them btw 3-4 weeks) and you will know that you will have no brood in the old box so you can safely remove it and replace with a super or leave old box as a super going forward.

Here’s his 14 min video of him performing this method:
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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The beginning of April last year was totally different from the beginning of April this year and, I have found, the beginning of Aprils most years
 

Sayle 

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I Just like the way I do it. I used to use Kingspan, quntherm etc as insulation but found it a job to get right into the corners. I now use different insulation. As of now it equates too 600mm glass wool insulation. But it’s not glasswool. Fills the supers perfect to the inside. No gaps at all.
Please do share. What are you using and how thick is it, because that is either crazy thick or you're using some crazy material. Or you added a zero to the number there.
 

Mint Bee 

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Wood hives only.

I got this method of converting national deep to 14x12 from an English Beekeepeer YouTube channel, who performed this method in the beginning of April last year:

Put 14x12 box (new box) underneath standard national (old box) so the brood can extend downwards, which allowed you also to keep your fondant on top of the old box so the bees can use that to draw out combs in the new box when they get out to get some water to break down that fondant. When you see that they are in a really good flow then you find the queen, you remove the fondant, get the queen, put her in a single frame underneath the queen excluder (qx), so you have the floor, new box with single frame of brood with queen on, qx on top, old box with brood in all stages. Leave that for 4 weeks (standard brood cycle is 3 weeks so leave them btw 3-4 weeks) and you will know that you will have no brood in the old box so you can safely remove it and replace with a super or leave old box as a super going forward.

Here’s his 14 min video of him performing this method:
Lawrence is based in North Wales. Conventionally the new box goes on top for changing frames. In the version described the probability is for the old box to be backfilled with a mixture of nectar and feed (if applying sugar) which you then have to deal with. This is OK if you can spin brood frames otherwise KISS

look up NBU pdf fact sheet for dealing with old comb

 

Finman 

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I have my method which in my opinion works, and until something goes wrong I’m sticking to it. You have your method and so will others. Im not criticising your method or anybody else’s. I’m sticking to what I have experienced as “working for me”.
I know ay least 15 "method" to feed bees, but thanks to you, I got once more. Actually I have used almost your method 60 years ago but the difference was that there was a board between feeding bottle and the board had a hole. Then box over the bottle that syrup stayed warm.

Then Americans have a feeding bottle through the entrance. What do they do with it all the summer around, I do not want to quess.

My favorite is to take a full frame or two from a hive which has too much food. When weather become warm, I can use normal feeding box.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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My favorite is to take a full frame or two from a hive which has too much food. When weather become warm, I can use normal feeding box.
That’s exactly what I did last week
 

Bear 

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Please do share. What are you using and how thick is it, because that is either crazy thick or you're using some crazy material. Or you added a zero to the number there.
Nope, the insulation I use is equal to six hundred millimetres of glasswool (600mm) Easy cut, easy stored, flexible and waterproof.
 

Finman 

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Nope, the insulation I use is equal to six hundred millimetres of glasswool (600mm) Easy cut, easy stored, flexible and waterproof.
30 years old Swedish Nacka polystytene hives have 20 mm thick walls. They do splended in Finnish climate, as well as 40 mm.

Bear, are you sure that you insulation is 60 cm. Over half metre. Or is it 6 cm.

Glass wool is not waterproof.

.
 

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