Fondant for Winter

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john1 

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Hi,
I am away in December.

I am planning to leave a super (most of the frames have honey) and some of the frames in the brood have honey.

As I am away for more than a month, I am planning to leave a fondant above the super on top of the crown board.

Is it a good idea to leave fondant for more than a month on top of the crown board?

When I search online for fondant, I can see different brands, is there a good brand anyone can recommend?
Thanks,
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
A super and the stores in the brood is overkill for winter stores. Very doubtful you'll need anything more.
As for fondant, ignore the sales hype and the snakeoil salesmen, plain baker's fondant is all you need for winter feeding
Ask your local baker if they can sell you a 12.5 kilo slab, otherwise


no additives or caking agents just sugar , glucose syrup , water. They're out of stock at the moment as things are a bit slow coming from Belgium to Calais and the usual issues this side of the channel, but they do get regular topups
 

hemo 

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Simply no with that set up, stores will not seriously start to be used up until late winter in to spring. Brood rearing will start slowly after Xmas and into January before picking up then the stores will start to be used up.

What you need to do is to calculate the stores they actually do have, most of a super and some of the brood frames doesn't tell us much except their are stores in the hive. Physically and mentally tot up all the stores in lbs. I tend to go a little conservative on weights so 1lb per side for BS super/shallow frames and 2.25lbs for BS deep brood. If using 14 x 12 then 3lbs or 3.25lbs per side. Add them all up as you go along, somewhere between 30- 40lbs is a figure you are looking at, the higher the better.
 
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hemo 

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Yes remove the QX as the cluster/colony will move up not only to the stores but for the warmth, one doesn't want to lose the queen also help them with some insulation over the crown board.
 
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DeeJunFan 

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Have you considered Mountain Camp Feeding with dry sugar? Its cheaper than fondant and helps with condensation.
 

Boston Bees 

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Have you considered Mountain Camp Feeding with dry sugar? Its cheaper than fondant and helps with condensation.
Can't think of a way of making it harder for the bees to take the food down than feeding dry sugar.

I was hoping that idea was going to stay where it belongs, on the other side of the Atlantic.
 

madasafish 

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Have you considered Mountain Camp Feeding with dry sugar? Its cheaper than fondant and helps with condensation.
Tried it once: never again. Bees v slow in taking it down in cold weather.
 

Murox 

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Have you considered Mountain Camp Feeding with dry sugar? Its cheaper than fondant and helps with condensation.
The method was used in the 50's and 60's it was renamed / reinvented; yes all sugar is hygroscopic, even fondant. Is condensation a big problem for you then ?
 

john1 

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Yes remove the QX as the cluster/colony will move up to not only to the stores but for the warmth, one doesn't want to lose the queen also help them with some insulation over the crown board.
I do not use Queen Excluder.
Queen always lays egg in the brood.
I never had any problem without queen excluder.
 

hemo 

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I do not use Queen Excluder.
Queen always lays egg in the brood.
I never had any problem without queen excluder.
Trained your queens well then !!!
Mine lay every where but the brood given the freedom to roam.
 
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DeeJunFan 

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Can't think of a way of making it harder for the bees to take the food down than feeding dry sugar.

I was hoping that idea was going to stay where it belongs, on the other side of the Atlantic.
I'm going into my first winter so i haven't tried it yet but it seems like an interesting idea.

The method was used in the 50's and 60's it was renamed / reinvented; yes all sugar is hygroscopic, even fondant. Is condensation a big problem for you then ?
1st season so not sure what winter is going to bring but i'm heavily into insulation and when i speak to many beeks they always say damp kills bees not cold so i'm concerned that my focus on insulation is not going to be enough and i'm researching effective ventilation/humidity controls.
 

Poly Hive 

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It's very simple DJF. OMF floor and insulation over the bees. OP? The problem you are not addressing is isolation starvation. I feed fondant (bakers white bought from a baker) and I use an eke which is 50mm deep and made from 25mm insulation board. Over that sits the solid CB and the poly roof. I give a good slab some 3kilos and I lay it across the frames in the middle so there is easy contact. That will easily last you a month.

PH
 

hemo 

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Damp that is likely to affect bees is that which may accumulate on a crown board which has no insulation, if you make it the most insulated part of the hive then any damp will occur at the very edges or the walls and then run down said walls.
 
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Apiarisnt 

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...they always say damp kills bees not cold ...
Yes, I too have heard that many, many times, including from the NBU. Trouble is; no-one has ever been able to back that up with any evidence - including the NBU when I challenged them.

On the matter of ventilation I can recommend the authoratative 1947 book by E.B. Wedmore "The Ventilation of Bee-Hives" - but only for propping up a table leg and certainly not for reading. There has been plenty of work since 1947 that has demonstrated that ventilation of beehives is good for killing colonies. Emyr will be along in a moment to make this point more forcefully
 

hemo 

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My long hive made entirely out of PIR had about 18lbs of wet stores last week so I gave them 2/3 of a slab of fondant so 8-8.5kg. Today I looked only 10% is left, they will get the last 1/3 end of the week to demolish and that will be their lot. Ivy aroma is in the air and HB pollen is being seen on the bees.
 

DeeJunFan 

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When i speak to many beeks they always say damp kills bees not cold so i'm concerned that my focus on insulation is not going to be enough and i'm researching effective ventilation/humidity controls.

Even on insulation i get mixed messages so i'm trying to do as much of my own research as possible.
 

Poly Hive 

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