Feeding Fondant

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House Bee
Dec 31, 2008
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Shropshire, uk
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newbie question - got some lovely fondant for a mid winter feast...

Question: It is quite a chunk - I am assuming I will have to put an eke/super on like when feeding syrup ....?

Sorry - daft question maybe - but my first winter with my bees!

Many tx

Yes. Put on an empty super, place fondant inside, and note you may have to cut it to size, and then cover with blanket or such. Then the crown board and roof of course.

Tx Polyhive.
So you put it on top of the frames then?
I was going to place over one of the holes int the crown board as I was worried about heat escaping?????
when i feed my bees fondant, i cut two small chunks( thin but long) and placed it on top of the crown board, near the holes, i then placed the roof on top. i feel that will help to keep the heat in, by adding a super the bees have got the heat up the empty space before they get warm.Using more food to keep warm.

Being honest here my hives have it on top of the frames. I can see though that come Jan and time for the OA treatment it may cause an issue but I will deal with that at the time. Might need some hive tool work.

Bear in mind though my hives are all poly and it does make an odds.

I always put mine ontop of a queen excluder. It does tend to ooze a bit and getting it of directly on the frames can be a mess. But realy once you have added it the only time next you realy need to be touching the hive is for oxalic treatment.

I role mine out to be about 1" thick to cover the brood next area, then using a simple spacer section made of 1" X 1" then cover board then roof.
My method is this. Fill fondant into standard size dishes (I use the deeper Chinese take-away type). I cut a hole in the insulation sheet (placed over the crownboard) for placing the inverted dish and then cover with another sheet of insulation over that.

Keeps heat in, even when the plastic dish is nearly MT, one can see the rate of usage by simply lifting the roof and top insulation sheet, and is quite easy to replace with another dish as necessary. The top sheet would also prevent the fondant getting too hot if the sun warms the roof space.

Disadvantages? - possibly the relatively small amount fed each time, but with not so many hives requiring this approach, and the need to keep an eye on the hives, if they are short of stores, means it is of no great importance.

I covered the dishes with cling film and then fitted lids for storage, so the fondant did not dry out before use;I think I removed the lid and cut a slot in the cling film for use but may have fitted spare lids, with slots cut in, for the bees to gain access. The cling film prevents a sticky mess if it is not used by the bees.

The cut-out pieces of polystyrene are marked for easy replacement into the same holes, in the same orientation, from whence they came. Marked carefully because they are easily mixed up and if then forced together some will never fit together properly.

Regards, RAB
I use 1 kilo sugar to 250 mls water plus a spoonful of glucose powder. boil it up until it reaches 248 f, place pan in a bowl of cold water and stir until it turns white and starts to lift clear of the pan sides. this means it'a just right for kneading:). a few drops of cold water on the work top, hands chilled with cold water and kneaded into a soft dough and rolled quite thin (this is enough for one hive) . I wrap in a freezer bag (cling film is too fiddly and is chewed readily by the bees). I apply it directly above the frames, the freezer bag keeps it moist, I also use 1"x1" eke and feed the fondant immediately after O.A. trickling.

John Wilkinson

I've done the same but when I had a quick look they had clustered under and into the tub.

Shall I change it as I'm wary of disturbing the cluster at this time of year?
I cut the 12.5kg blocks into 5 slabs and put 1 slab over each hole on top of the cover board.(I have two holes in each of my cover boards! Not to everyones agreement I know). Push it down a little and make sure the bees come into contact with it as far as possible. They're not daft and almost always sus it out if they need it. Nucs get it put on at the start of the Winter whilst colonies needing it are given it after the OA treatment.

I have bought some bakers fondant but I have been making my own from a recipe found on another thread. My home made fondant also gives me the opportunity to put add some fructose which together with the sucrose and sugar should (and seems to be) palatable to the bees.
I then put it into zip lock bags which I can just slice a couple of times with a knife and place on top of frames, this keeps the fondant moist and allows the bees to get at it.
With cheap sugar from Bookers it’s not too difficult to make when you have a few hives to cater for but would be a pain if you had a lot.
Does anyone else make their own and if so, do you add anything else to the mix, herbs etc?
I have not been able to source bakers fondant over here so I make my own using Frisbee's recipe. The only variation from the recipe is I use half a tablespoon of powdered glucose.
Packed into freezer bags as a slab about 1" thick and stored in the freezer until required. I then thaw and cut a 4" x 1" slot in the bag and place on the top bars with an eke, the bees love it.
:cheers2: Mike

Not used to feeding at this time of the year! Never done it yet (this early) for a full colony. And this is the first year I am aware of that people are saying their colonies are already light on stores, before Christmas. I also hate disturbing the bees while clustered, what with risks of balling and such like.

But, that said, if they have nothing else you must change it. Can you divert them to the other feed hole? Might need a warm day for them to move across. Or gently move the dish across sliding the full one over half the feed hole. You will obviously be needing more than the odd kilo of fondant if they are already short of stores. A whole block might be more appropriate! I would probably be fitting a super over the crownboard and filling around the block with an alternative insulant.

What are they over-wintering on? Brood and a super or just a standard brood? I would not want to go with a single standard brood for the winter as I am on OMFs - they may have gone upwards to keep warmer. If that is the case, I would be closing off most of the OMF.

Regards, RAB
Thanks Rab.
A full block may be the way to go.
they are in a national B/b with a super under on (OM floor) which was full but getting much lighter.

I always wonder why one puts a super on as a sub! What is your reasoning behind it?

The bees always store honey above the broodnest, if not in it, never below, so why put their food where it will get cold, and the bees will stay with brood above until all hatched. That might mean they start the cold weather above those stores and will always munch upwards....

Regards, RAB
I'm a first year beek and that is what my mentor does and has done for 70,000 years and it always works well for him.
Did your mentor explain the reason why he does this?
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I always wonder why one puts a super on as a sub! What is your reasoning behind it?

The bees always store honey above the broodnest, if not in it, never below, so why put their food where it will get cold, and the bees will stay with brood above until all hatched. That might mean they start the cold weather above those stores and will always munch upwards....

Regards, RAB

If the bees work their way up through the stores they will start with the stores in the super in September/October when the weather is quite mild. By now my bees will be in the brood chamber and should they run out of stores in there they will reach some fondant above the crown board. I suppose it's quite a fine line between giving the bees too much stores and so no room to lay in spring, and not enough so that they either starve or need fondant. 1 of my friends colonies started eating fondant in November so I think he took too much honey off. I want to try and not feed sugar and only take the excess honey each year but how easy that will prove to be I don't know as no 2 years will be alike.
I think the bees will eat fondant if it is available rather than use up their honey stores.
I was told it is so the bees can move around better (no Q/E on) and that the queen will tend to lay in the warmer b/box.

Also, when applying OA means that more bees get covered (again I've been told this but have no personal evidence - at least not for a few years).

good point Veg.
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