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Feeding a colony fondant into winter

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Lizbee 

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I'm in my first year as a beekeeper in Kent with two hives going into winter. I was advised not to leave any supers on but to feed fondant. I put the first block on 3 weeks ago and have just checked - gone completely in both hives. How many blocks might they get through? They had some frames of honey stores, but I'm not sure what is considered 'sufficient' for the winter. They are still out and about on most days, we have only had a few frosts but not much forage I shouldn't think now. Any help much appreciated.
 

Boston Bees 

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I put the first block on 3 weeks ago and have just checked - gone completely in both hives. How many blocks might they get through?
Depends how big a "block" is in this case? Could be anything from 1kg to 12.5kg, so a bit hard to answer. A hive left with little honey of its own could easily take down 12.5kg or even much more.

Others will advise you to "heft" to check on stores, and this is good advice, but in your circumstance to be honest I would just whack more on. Better safe than starved!
 

Apple 

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Possibly there should be a section called New Beekeepers Questions?
 

Lizbee 

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Thank you so much. They are only 1 kg blocks - I'll buy another box in readiness.
 

Boston Bees 

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Thank you so much. They are only 1 kg blocks - I'll buy another box in readiness.
No problem. If you took the supers off then I would be surprised if they need less than 6kg to get through winter, so whack on as much as possible on the next day it is vaguely warm (10 degrees +).
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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No problem. If you took the supers off then I would be surprised if they need less than 6kg to get through winter, so whack on as much as possible on the next day it is vaguely warm (10 degrees +).
:iagree:
I'm assuming that you weren't advised to feed them a gallon or two of syrup seeing the supers were taken off?
I'd just get as much fondant into them now as a matter of priority, temperature doesn't really matter as you're only going to be in and out in a few seconds.
How did you put the fondant on? above the crownboard or directly onto the top bars?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Bees need roughly 40lb to get them through the winter.
That's 7/8 brood frames if you're on National, 5 if 14x12
I reckon a wooden hive with enough stores should weigh about 65/70lb? (can anybody help here....I'm on poly 14x12)
You can weigh the hive with luggage scales by lifting up each side an inch or so and adding the two figures.
It will give you a decent approximation. But I would still keep adding fondant
 

hemo 

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Deciding how much the bees take depends on how much stores they had after/during late Autumn.
Don't buy fondant in small amounts as it gets expensive, most of us buy 12.5kg packs or several at once as it stores and keeps well.
Buying 12.5kg bakers fondant is cheaper then buying 2.5kg fondant packs via beekeeping suppliers.
 
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madasafish 

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Deciding how much the bees take depends on how much stores they had after/during late Autumn.
Don't buy fondant in small amounts as it gets expensive, most of us buy 12.5kg packs or several at once as it stores and keeps well.
Buying 12.5kg bakers fondant is cheaper then buying 2.5kg fondant packs via beekeeping suppliers.
And there are offers on fondant at present.. Bee Equipment.

I would work on Keep It Simple and just add fondant and check every two weeks and add more if needed.
4-5kg KG at a time if you can.

Then in early Spring, you can think about weighing etc..
 
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I agree with masaf above - just keep an eye on it and keep them supplied through to Spring. It will save you worry.
 
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Yes, but unfortunately, unless you buy an absolute shedful the carriage works out at £1.00 a Kilo making it pretty costly fondant.
Yes, but for just two hives you wouldn’t need a “shedful“ and the overall cost can be acceptable, despite the cost per kilo being more than a volume purchase would be.

I recently bought from “cake stuff” 12.5 kg for £23.91 delivered. Bako Select fondant. Approx £2 per kilo to keep the beasties alive? Well worth it in my view.
 
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jenkinsbrynmair 

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I must be getting charged loads then at 90p/£1 a kilo on a bulk order.(no carriage)
Where do you get yours cheaper jbm.?
Havent needed much fondant the last few years so the stock I have has been sufficient. BAKO Wales usually the cheapest, but you will either need to set up an account (awkward unless you have contacts) or persuade the local manager to sell you a one off batch (usually a minimum of about £70.00 worth) I think two years ago it was £7-8.00 a 12.5 kilo slab.
I don't think 90p a kilo is too bad for a local purchase.
 
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Havent needed much fondant the last few years so the stock I have has been sufficient. BAKO Wales usually the cheapest, but you will either need to set up an account (awkward unless you have contacts) or persuade the local manager to sell you a one off batch (usually a minimum of about £70.00 worth) I think two years ago it was £7-8.00 a 12.5 kilo slab.
I don't think 90p a kilo is too bad for a local purchase.
15 boxes we bought I've some left but for the future I wouldn't mind getting it cheaper.
The way they have got through it I might need more the blighters.
 

Lizbee 

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:iagree:
I'm assuming that you weren't advised to feed them a gallon or two of syrup seeing the supers were taken off?
I'd just get as much fondant into them now as a matter of priority, temperature doesn't really matter as you're only going to be in and out in a few seconds.
How did you put the fondant on? above the crownboard or directly onto the top bars?
Above the crownboard (a poly one with 2 holes). I didn't feed them syrup but because I had missed the chance to get the honey extracted it was suggested that I leave the frames of honey near the hives for the bees to take it back in to the brood box. They certainly did clear it, but I now think it was not such a good idea because it might have encouraged robbing.
Do most people just winter the bees in the brood box or is it better to leave them with a super of honey?
Thank you for all the help there is on this site, I really hope I can get the bees through the winter and start again next year with a bit more confidence and a lot more knowledge.
 

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