Feeding in Winter

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Nick W 

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Hiya

My Bees over the last few months have taken down a fair bit of syrup.

Its still on in case they need it.

When, if at all, should I change to fondant?

I have hefted the hive and it seems ok - but I dont know what is 'too light'.

Should I keep the syrup on or change to fondant?

Ta

Nick
 

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I canna quote you figures but below a certain temp bees cannot deal with syrup and it will not be taken.

Now is the time to take it off and now is the time to insure yourself and your charges by feeding fondant.

PH
 

Nick W 

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And just keep feeding and feeding until Spring?
 

Hombre 

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Unless it's got thymol in it and then it will just not get taken. PH is right, of course. Give them enough fondant to be going on with and top up/replace as necessary.

With the temperatures and the forecast as it is, then having a stock of fondant to hand isn't a bad idea at all and it keeps, so no problems there if you don't use it.
 

Vergilius 

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Nick,

As the girls are probably in a cluster they will not have any more time to cap stores. Un-capped stores may ferment and cause the bees dysentry in mid-winter- not what you want. However they can take down fondant just as it is and therefore the processing/storing problem is avoided. You should have probably switched about a month ago if they were really short... You have not provided enough information in your post- "they have taken down a fair bit of syrup" is not a very useful- how many kilos have they actually taken down? Also, how is the hive configured for the winter- is it currently 1,1 1/2 or 2 boxes? These facts are important.


Ben P
 

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I see that Swienty say their Apiinvert is a "wholeyear feed for bees"
 

Hivemaker. 

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I see that Swienty say their Apiinvert is a "wholeyear feed for bees"
One could say that about any syrup feed,fed in autumn and stored in combs for winter use,but is there any mention of sticking a feeder full of it on, when the temp is say -10 in the middle of winter.
 

Black Comb 

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No Pete, but an inexperienced beek could easily read it as that.
 

Nick W 

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I have given my 2 hives 1 gallon feeders with 1:1 syrup since autumn and kept topping up until they havent taken out any more.

1 hive has taken around 8 down (new swarm July) and 1 hive has taken down around half of that but an earlier swarm.

They still have around 1/4 left in each and it has been like that for some time.

I have hefted each hive and it takes some effort.

I have a 14x12 national with super outside on top which contains feeder.

So for the avoidance of doubt I should put on fondant now until when?
 

kazmcc 

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We haven't been topping up the fondant, but then they had plenty of stores....I intend to start feeding nearer spring. Is that right? I read that then is the time you lose you bees from starvation, as they've used all they stored through winter. How early can I give syrup, as getting fondant isn't as easy.
 

oliver90owner 

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A bit of a mistake here somewhere? 1:1 is not the recommended concentration for autumn feeding - far toommuch unecessary water to be evaporated. So your volumes might esily have been half that or less!

A full 14x 12 box has more than adequate stores for winter.

If needed, and it is probably not, until the spring build-up starts.

RAB
 

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I have given my 2 hives 1 gallon feeders with 1:1 syrup since autumn and kept topping up until they havent taken out any more.

1 hive has taken around 8 down (new swarm July) and 1 hive has taken down around half of that but an earlier swarm.

They still have around 1/4 left in each and it has been like that for some time.

I have hefted each hive and it takes some effort.

I have a 14x12 national with super outside on top which contains feeder.

So for the avoidance of doubt I should put on fondant now until when?
Until spring when they start bringing in nectar.
 

Nick W 

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As for concentration let me clarify 1kg of sugar per 1/2 litre of water (mmmm maybe thats 2:1)
 

Vergilius 

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As for concentration let me clarify 1kg of sugar per 1/2 litre of water (mmmm maybe thats 2:1)
Yes that is 2:1

The bees will not have taken down any of your syrup feed for quite some time. It is far too late in the year to feed liquid feed. Liquid feed is for Autumn and Spring build-up not winter.

In terms of feeding fondant you only really want to feed them it if they need it. Otherwise the bees will unnecessarily consume the fondant rather than their own stores and you will be constantly refilling and wasting money wilst the stores are untouched. If your 14x12 is full and still hefting heavy it may not be necessary.

When you say that "they still have 1/4 left" are you referring to space in the hive or syrup in the feeder?


Ben P
 

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clarify

Good! All clarified.

That means, on average, you have fed 26 litres of 2:1 syrup per hive since autumn.... that will be over 18kg of sugar to each hive on average?

For your two hives that means about 24kg to one of them, and about 12kg to the other?

I am not surprised it takes some effort to heft them!!

You now intend feeding them fondant for the rest of the winter? Do you have any spare, empty, drawn frames for the spring, because she will need some space to start spring brooding, if you want a prompt build-up ready for the OSR flow.

RAB
 

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