Fondant for winter

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OH honey 

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Firstly, I'm not feeding little, it's a full feeder tray , (about 2 litres or 3kg of 2:1) refilled when empty, usually after about 3 days. So around 5Kg sugar a week through Oct. Literally can't feed any quicker. Second, the advice to feed until bees take no more came from NBU inspector with 20+ years. He came to inspect hives due to disease up the road. I put in the fondant to see if the bees would take it as weather got cooler. One hive did, other didn't.
 

OH honey 

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Firstly, I'm not feeding little, it's a full feeder tray , (about 2 litres or 3kg of 2:1) refilled when empty, usually after about 3 days. So around 5Kg sugar a week through Oct. Literally can't feed any quicker. Second, the advice to feed until bees take no more came from NBU inspector with 20+ years. He came to inspect hives due to disease up the road. I put in the fondant to see if the bees would take it as weather got cooler. One hive did, other didn't.
Also, Abelo feeder over feed slot on poly crown board means lid off, pour in syrup, lid on, leave. Not really faffing, probably 15 seconds. Hardly saw a bee
 

PeaBee 

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If it works for you that's fine. I find putting 14L of 2:1 in a wooden or poly ashforth and leaving them to it works for me and has done for many winters.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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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.
I use the round feeders but my hives are but a short walk from the house so they get checked and topped up every day until the bees stop taking down the contents. (2:1 with hivemakers recipe in it)
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
Firstly, I'm not feeding little, it's a full feeder tray , (about 2 litres or 3kg of 2:1) refilled when empty, usually after about 3 days. So around 5Kg sugar a week through Oct. Literally can't feed any quicker. Second, the advice to feed until bees take no more came from NBU inspector with 20+ years. He came to inspect hives due to disease up the road. I put in the fondant to see if the bees would take it as weather got cooler. One hive did, other didn't.
I find the same; my feeders are the Abelo type and don't take more than about two litres. I also have an "English feeder" and find the syrup has a tendency to go mouldy at the edges and that it also kills bees, so I rarely use it. When bees do drown and the bodies start floating about, or if bees go off the syrup, there's less waste in a smaller feeder. I also figure that the syrup is kept warmer in a feeder which can be surrounded by insulation, although I am aware that polyfeeders are available.

There's a difference between feeding a little and often and letting the feeder drain dry and doing as you, making sure the syrup never runs out until they stop.
 

Apiarisnt 

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Having taken my rapid feeders off and dumped lumps of fondant into each hive , I finally got around to cleaning my rapid feeders ready for storage yesterday. These are the ones I use and am happy with: Jumbo 6L Rapid Bee Feeder

They are shaped to fit with in a BS super, so no special ekes needed. I have been coating the slopes of the dome with sand struck on with waterproof PVA and this seems to reduce the mortality through drowning.

STB has fewer than 10 left in stock, so I fear a price increase will ariove with the next batch.
 

victor meldrew 

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.I don't need a better feeder. Feeders for Abelo means no dead bees, minimal disturbance, no waste, no hassle.
I use Italian feeders a tenner each .
the dome is heavily ridged as is the the inner and outer surfaces of the the entry cone .
you can still drown bees if you give them access and then fill the same . Topping up is no problem ,just take your time . Don’t forget on installation you have opened the feed hole in the crown board , plonked the feeder on , the bees are in high alert and rush into the feeder , pouring syrup in at this time will overwhelm the initial rush and drown a few as the leaders of the charge can’t retreat against the crush of bees behind them .
be a little mindful and you should have no problems.
 

OH honey 

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I use Italian feeders a tenner each .
the dome is heavily ridged as is the the inner and outer surfaces of the the entry cone .
you can still drown bees if you give them access and then fill the same . Topping up is no problem ,just take your time . Don’t forget on installation you have opened the feed hole in the crown board , plonked the feeder on , the bees are in high alert and rush into the feeder , pouring syrup in at this time will overwhelm the initial rush and drown a few as the leaders of the charge can’t retreat against the crush of bees behind them .
be a little mindful and you should have no problems.
Abelo feeder has 2 lidded compartments. Syrup in one seeps into the other. Bees can only access 1st chamber from the feed slot in CB, and that has a bee ladder so very difficult to flood.
 

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john1 

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Hi,
I can see my bees are still taking sugar syrup.
Last Sunday when the outside temperature was around 7 degree during the day and 2 degree in the night, I left some sugar syrup in the feeder and on Monday afternoon when I checked it was empty.

Should I continue feeding sugar syrup until the bees stop taking it or is time for me to stop feeding?


I have left a super with around 3 frames 100% honey and 7 frames around 30%-40% honey (not sure whether the brood has enough stores).

If I stop feeding, I am planning to leave 2.5kg of Ambrosia Fondant above the crown board -


Any idea how much fondant do the bees consume in a month?
Thanks
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Hi,
I can see my bees are still taking sugar syrup.
Last Sunday when the outside temperature was around 7 degree during the day and 2 degree in the night, I left some sugar syrup in the feeder and on Monday afternoon when I checked it was empty.

Should I continue feeding sugar syrup until the bees stop taking it or is time for me to stop feeding?

I have left a super with around 3 frames 100% honey and 7 frames around 30%-40% honey (not sure whether the brood has enough stores).

If I stop feeding, I am planning to leave 2.5kg of Ambrosia Fondant above the crown board -


Any idea how much fondant do the bees consume in a month?
Thanks
Stop feeding - they have plenty of stores (I think it's not the first time you have been told this) also, continuing to feed syrup at this time of the year could cause the bees to get dysentery
 

john1 

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Thank you so much, I will switch to Ambrosia Fondant.
I will leave a 2.5kg of Fondant on the CB and see how long it is going to last.
 

pargyle 

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Thank you so much, I will switch to Ambrosia Fondant.
I will leave a 2.5kg of Fondant on the CB and see how long it is going to last.
Fondant is just more feed ....they really don't need it ... keep checking the weight over winter (three fingers test ...if they feel nailed to the ground when you try to lift one side of the hive with three fingers then they are well stocked, if you can lift them easily with two fingers they may be getting light on stores keep an eye on them... if you can lift the hive easily with one finger they are probably starving and need urgent attention) you can feed fondant in spring IF THEY NEED IT .....
 

john1 

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Thanks @pargyle
I am wondering, if I leave a fondant above the crown board, even if there is some store is available in the hive, will that do any harm? In case the three fingers' test goes wrong.

I know it is a waste of money, if the bees do not need the fondant, they will not touch it and by the end of the winter I will have to throw the fondant away.
 

pargyle 

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Thanks @pargyle
I am wondering, if I leave a fondant above the crown board, even if there is some store is available in the hive, will that do any harm? In case the three fingers' test goes wrong.

I know it is a waste of money, if the bees do not need the fondant, they will not touch it and by the end of the winter I will have to throw the fondant away.
Why would you want to ? There's no logic to leaving fondant on the hive when they are fully stocked for winter .,.what's in there is going to see them through to early spring and possibly beyond. Ask yourself - what are you trying to achieve ? Do your bees need it or is it just a salve for your anxiety ? Shut them up, get used to hefting and do it weekly. The odds are that there will still be frames of stores left in the hive in spring ...
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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The danger you are facing is, as you have been continually feeding until now, and then you put fondant on, that they will use the fondant instead of making inroads into the stores, come the spring, if there is still fondant there, they will take it down and store it if you're not careful (the old fairy tale about bees not storing fondant and only using it if they need it is just that - another beekeeping fairytale) what you will end up with then is a hive filled to the gunnls with stores and no room for the queen to lay thus hampering crucial spring expansion.
 

hemo 

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Fondant will happily be stored if there is room to do so, as mentioned it's a myth that keeps being regurgitated. 10 kg plonked in a colony end of Sept disappeared within 9 days, they licked the plastic wrapper clean.
 
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Little_bees 

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Why would you want to ? There's no logic to leaving fondant on the hive when they are fully stocked for winter .,.what's in there is going to see them through to early spring and possibly beyond.
Sorry, but I think that's bad advice in this case, especially with an anxious beginner who's going to be away.

Who says the hive is 'fully stocked'? The OP already said he'd been trickle feeding and they only got 5kg total. They've probably eaten a lot of that already with this mild autumn we've had.

He said the super had 3 full frames, the rest only a third full. A week ago they had 5 full frames. Do you know how much honey is in the brood box? No, nor does he.

Ask yourself - what are you trying to achieve ? Do your bees need it or is it just a salve for your anxiety ? Shut them up, get used to hefting and do it weekly. The odds are that there will still be frames of stores left in the hive in spring ...
What he's trying to achieve is to come back at the end of his trip and not find a box of starved bees because he wasn't experienced enough to guage their stores.

If they genuinely do have enough stores, he can remove a couple of frames in the spring, as others often do, plus any surplus fondant.

He's using a belt and braces approach because he underfed earlier. Would you rather he just crossed his fingers and left them to their devices as no one was available to heft the hives??

The odds may be that there'll be surplus stores in the spring. Better that than the odds of finding a floor full of dead bees, all for the price of a bit of fondant. 🙁
 

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