Fondant for winter

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john1 

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Hi,
I am away for a month from the end of December to the end of January.
So, I will not be able to feed sugar syrup for the bees.

I am planning to leave some fondant in the hive.

When I search online I can see a few like -






Which one of these is good? Will any of them do any harm to the bees?
Many thanks,
 

PeaBee 

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Neither will do harm. But if you have fed adequately in the autumn there should be no need to feed December to January.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Agree with PeaBee. if the hives are heavy now you won't need fondant
If you do...try these suppliers

Edit I see they have no stock..might be worth checking regularly
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Hi,
I am away for a month from the end of December to the end of January.
So, I will not be able to feed sugar syrup for the bees.

I am planning to leave some fondant in the hive.
In the first place you shouldn't need to constantly feed them syrup - you should pile in a load in October and that, stored, should keep them going until spring.
Although the fondants you mention is fine for the bees - it's even better for the pockets of the beekeeping suppliers - save some of your hard earned and just buy a 12.5 kilo slab of bog standard baker's fondant - either from chocolate falls as recommended by Dani or just find a local independent baker and see if they will sell you a box.
 

john1 

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I started giving sugar syrup from mid of September every weekend.
I am giving 500 grams per week.
So, by the end of November, I will be giving around 5 kilograms of sugar.

I have left a super with some honey in some of the frames (may be 5 frames nearly full).
When do people stop feeding sugar syrup?
Is it in December?

I am planning leave a fondant in the end of December.
Thanks
 

Ian123 

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I started giving sugar syrup from mid of September every weekend.
I am giving 500 grams per week.
So, by the end of November, I will be giving around 5 kilograms of sugar.

I have left a super with some honey in some of the frames (may be 5 frames nearly full).
When do people stop feeding sugar syrup?
Is it in December?

I am planning leave a fondant in the end of December.
Thanks
People stop when they have enough heft or check. Bees will refuse syrup when it gets to cold, it could be November it may be December. You don’t keep bees by dates on a calendar you see what’s happening or respond to the environment! As to 500g stop ducking around and give them a proper amount. If you had done, it may have been completed by now. With only 5 full frames in a super do they even need the space.
 
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jenkinsbrynmair 

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I started giving sugar syrup from mid of September every weekend.
I am giving 500 grams per week.
You should have mixed the whole 5KG in one go and given it all to them as fast as they could take it down, then given them another 5kg
then another 5Kg
all from the end of September, then leave them alone apart from checking their weight through the winter
 

john1 

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If I give 5kg each every week for 3 months, by December, I will be giving them 60kg of sugar.
Is that not too much?

I already have some honey in the super and also I am planning to leave a fondant.
Thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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If I give 5kg each every week for 3 months, by December, I will be giving them 60kg of sugar.
Is that not too much?

I already have some honey in the super and also I am planning to leave a fondant.
Thanks
you trickle it in and they'll just behave as if it's summer still, be activeand consume, rather than store it. The trick with winter feeding is to pile it on as quickly as they can take it (they'll hoover up a gallon of 2:1 in a couple of days) then let them settle down with the stores packed above them which hopefully (if done correctly) it will last them until spring with no need for supplementary fondant feeding.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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The thing is, once temperatures begin to drop late October/November, bees will struggle to invert the sugar and reduce the water content of the resulting 'honey' to under 20 % if it's stored on that condition it is likely to ferment later on and cause dysentery in the bees resulting in the loss of the colony, you will also find that the bees are reluctant to take down and store the syrup, only taking some for immediate consumption. Basically, you will either end up spending the whole of the winter trickle feeding them fondant to keep them alive or nursing a dysenteric colony.
 

hemo 

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Any feed stops by end of Oct before it gets to cold, once stores are up to speed and finished end of Oct they shouldn't need any fondant in December or Jan.
 
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PeaBee 

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As to 500g stop ducking around and give them a proper amount. If you had done, it may have been completed by now.
Spot on advice. Give them what they need in one hit (or two if your feeder size limits it) early enough to give them time to process it. I find 13 to 14 litres per colony in early October is taken down and stored pretty quickly and sees most through the winter. Feeding 500g per week seems painfully slow and I doubt at that rate they will have got enough down in time.
 

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The thing is, once temperatures begin to drop late October/November, bees will struggle to invert the sugar and reduce the water content of the resulting 'honey' to under 20 % if it's stored on that condition it is likely to ferment later on and cause dysentery in the bees resulting in the loss of the colony, you will also find that the bees are reluctant to take down and store the syrup, only taking some for immediate consumption. Basically, you will either end up spending the whole of the winter trickle feeding them fondant to keep them alive or nursing a dysenteric colony.
Not really the situation but the thought of the bees consuming fermented products conjures up the vision of bees kneeling in front of a toilet hurling up the contents of their stomachs while vowing never again with streaming eyes. Maybe it's good my teenage years are long ago now 😨😨😨
 

OH honey 

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I am at the end of my first season, so still green. I fed my 2 colonies 2:1 every 2-3 days giving about 15kg to each throughout Oct. Beginning Nov I putting down 1kg fondant in one hive, 2kg in other( which had one empty frame) directly on to frames. After 10 days one hive had finished the pack, other barely touched( the one with an empty frame!!), so I replaced the finished pack and will check both again in a few weeks and repeat. Either they take it or they don't. I'll stop in Jan when treating for varroa and reassess then.
 

Murox 

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I am at the end of my first season, so still green. I fed my 2 colonies 2:1 every 2-3 days giving about 15kg to each throughout Oct. Beginning Nov I putting down 1kg fondant in one hive, 2kg in other( which had one empty frame) directly on to frames. After 10 days one hive had finished the pack, other barely touched( the one with an empty frame!!), so I replaced the finished pack and will check both again in a few weeks and repeat. Either they take it or they don't. I'll stop in Jan when treating for varroa and reassess then.
You need to estimate (heft the hive) how much stores they actually have. This link for hive weight might help. There are other posts/threads that tell you how to heft a hive. What are you going to use for a winter varroa treatment?
 

OH honey 

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I checked the frames on a warm afternoon in late Oct, probably 6 in each hive full to bursting. Bit of burr comb on top with honey in, so not too worried. Used apiguard for 5 weeks mid Aug to late Sept, will use oxalic vape in Jan.
 

Finman 

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I am at the end of my first season, so still green. I fed my 2 colonies 2:1 every 2-3 days giving about 15kg to each throughout Oct. Beginning Nov I putting down 1kg fondant in one hive, 2kg in other( which had one empty frame) directly on to frames. After 10 days one hive had finished the pack, other barely touched( the one with an empty frame!!), so I replaced the finished pack and will check both again in a few weeks and repeat. Either they take it or they don't. I'll stop in Jan when treating for varroa and reassess then.

Bees should be in winter peace and not to feed bees all the time.

15 kg sugar should be enough on your latitudes.
In Finland we use on average 20 kg sugar.
 

PeaBee 

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Just wondering where this little and often approach to feeding with newcomers originates from, is it something picked up from the internet? bka's beginers courses? or a particular publication? Seems a lot of needless faff and interference to me. Please dont think I am having a dig at either John or OH as we all start somewhere and I still make enough mistakes every year and maybe learn from one or two. Just curious about the reasons why you are feeding small amounts so regularly.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I think al lot of it is down to BKA's - when I joined my previous BKA some years ago, the association apiary only possessed the small 4 pint rapid feeders which were filled once a week during winter preparations, they all seemed to think this was sufficient. They looked at me with wonderment when one of the first things I did when I was asked to take over as apiary manager was buy a job lot of 1.3 gallon feeders - and popped down from the office midweek to top them up after the Sunday meet.
 

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