Fondant for winter

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Sorry, but I think that's bad advice in this case,
Disagree
For a start, contrary to your
they only got 5kg total
what the OP said was they were getting about 5KG of sugar a week through the whole of October, 20 KG of sugar would usually suffice a colony for the winter so it's fairly safe to assume there are plenty of stores in the brood box, and in addition they have got the best part of a super of stores on top (Overkill already) no harm in a beginner feeding a bit too much, but to tell them to carry on piling the fondant on when we know the colony is in no way 'a bit light' is also bad advice IMHO
 

Little_bees 

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Disagree
For a start, contrary to your what the OP said was they were getting about 5KG of sugar a week through the whole of October, 20 KG of sugar would usually suffice a colony for the winter
No, he said 500g per week and 5kg total after 10 weeks.
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.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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selective editing?
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.
 

pargyle 

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No, he said 500g per week and 5kg total after 10 weeks.
But .... You missed out another bit of the post ...

"I have left a super with some honey in some of the frames (may be 5 frames nearly full"

I still think that, with what the OP has fed and left them there's going to be no issues about needing fondant until well after January .... indeed, probably well after that. But you are very welcome to your (wrong IMO) view ....
 

Little_bees 

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But .... You missed out another bit of the post ...

"I have left a super with some honey in some of the frames (may be 5 frames nearly full"

I still think that, with what the OP has fed and left them there's going to be no issues about needing fondant until well after January .... indeed, probably well after that. But you are very welcome to your (wrong IMO) view ....
Ño I didn't miss that bit out...
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.
The 5 frames are now 3. The trickle feeding may well have encouraged late laying. With the unusually mild October who knows how much is left in the way of stores??
 

pargyle 

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[QUOTE="Little_bees, post: 798869, member: 18132


The 5 frames are now 3. The trickle feeding may well have encouraged late laying. With the unusually mild October who knows how much is left in the way of stores??
[/QUOTE]
Any responsible beekeeper, new or old, needs to learn to feed their bees up prior to winter if they need it and to recognise that just slapping a slab of fondant on top of the bars in the hope that they will be alright is pretty poor beekeeping ... if the OP is looking to learn then recommending bad habits at this stage of his beekeeping is not doing him or anyone else who reads your posts any good.
 

OH honey 

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Bottom line...if you think , or are worried the stores might be a bit light, for whatever reason, especially if you may be away through midwinter, is there a problem leaving fondant on the frames? No, there isn't. Worst case scenario, you may have wasted a block, and you may have to replace a frame or 2 of stores to make room in spring. Will the experience make you adapt strategies next winter? probably. Does it make you a bad beekeeper? No.
 

Little_bees 

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Any responsible beekeeper, new or old, needs to learn to feed their bees up prior to winter if they need it and to recognise that just slapping a slab of fondant on top of the bars in the hope that they will be alright is pretty poor beekeeping ... if the OP is looking to learn then recommending bad habits at this stage of his beekeeping is not doing him or anyone else who reads your posts any good.
Yes, learning to feed bees properly is responsible.
Ergo giving the bees fondant when you realise you haven't fed them enough is responsible.
 

PeaBee 

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Dont know if any of you follow Sheffield Honey on twitter. Seems an experienced commercial beekeeper, he was recently saying about the trend of needlessly chucking lumps of fondant on bees and the heat sink risk.Screenshot_20211125-121555_Twitter.jpgScreenshot_20211125-121904_Twitter.jpg
 

Little_bees 

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Dont know if any of you follow Sheffield Honey on twitter. Seems an experienced commercial beekeeper, he was recently saying about the trend of needlessly chucking lumps of fondant on bees and the heat sink risk.

"If they need fondant now then you the beekeeper have screwed up big time."
Unfortunately many inexperienced beekeepers screw up big time in their first year. Shall we just let the bees starve because of it?
 

PeaBee 

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Unfortunately many inexperienced beekeepers screw up big time in their first year. Shall we just let the bees starve because of it?
No of course not and you should take appropriate remedial action if needed. But learn from it and aim to get them well fed in good time next season. experinced beekeepers screw up too and every day is a school day with bees. I think the point I have learnt with feeding is to get your chosen feed (syrup, fondant, invert etc) on in good time to give the bees time to process it and treat it as stores. What qualifies as in good time will depend on location and management system. For me it's when I have finished taking off the heather honey and got them on their wintering sites and the brood nest is contracting. I typically aim to have got at least a bucket full of 2:1 in them by 2nd week of Oct, so I try have it on them by the end of sept. But that might not work for everyone.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I wouldn't worry too much about Sheffield Honey's opinion. Twitter is about griping after all
Screenshot 2021-11-25 at 17.00.42.pngScreenshot 2021-11-25 at 17.01.14.png
 

pargyle 

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Yes, learning to feed bees properly is responsible.
Ergo giving the bees fondant when you realise you haven't fed them enough is responsible.
When they need it ... is good practice ... just in case ... not good practice.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
I wouldn't worry too much about Sheffield Honey's opinion. Twitter is about griping after all
But I think in this case though he does have a point (Richard Noel was quick to jump in and agree) we've even has some of the older forumites on here recall the fact that it wasn't that long ago when fondant was only mentioned as an emergency feed. We've got to the point now however where people think it's mandatory to slap a slab of fondant on as soon as feeders are removed - there just seems to be very little thinking as to what purpose fondant is kept for.
Of course it's a nice little earner for all the bee feed producers. In fact I remember a few years ago one bee food purveyor telling everybody who would listen at the tradex that it was safe enough to put fondant on the hives even in the summer as bees wouldn't touch it unless they were starving!!
 
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Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.

Erichalfbee 

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But I think in this case though he does have a point (Richard Noel was quick to jump in and agree) we've even has some of the older forumites on here recall the fact that it wasn't that long ago when fondant was only mentioned as an emergency feed. We've got to the point now however where people think it's mandatory to slap a slab of fondant on as soon as feeders are removed - there just seems to be very little thinking as to what purpose fondant is kept for.
Of course it's a nice little earner for all the bee feed producers on here. In fact I remember a few years ago one bee food purveyor telling everybody who would listen at the tradex that it was safe enough to put fondant on the hives even in the summer as bees wouldn't touch it unless they were starving!!
Of course fondant should be fed if needed but are we talking about a beginner who doesn’t know if the bees have enough? Perhaps he will next year but this year perhaps just putting some on in case won’t do much harm.
 

Philren 

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As a complete beginner, I have found this thread both educational and worrying in equal measure. Brief background; a single hive from a experienced beekeeper (60+ years). Probably a bit miffed as he thought I had a local mentor but a miscommunication as no mentor. Struggled through the summer and started reading about varroa treatment, rang him and along he came with varroa treatment and fondant. I have learnt what hefting is, apply the treatment and put fondant on.
I will put another fondant pack on as they have nearly finished the first.
I start my beginners course in January and will be better prepared next year.
One thing I have learnt is if 5 beekeepers get together there will be at least 6 opinions 😁
 

hemo 

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I would say if one truly doesn't know how much stores the bees have then it is a bit late to be discussing it now, as has been mentioned heft the hive from the rear (remove heavy wooden roof is used) and try and lift the back with two or three fingers if it is nailed down or you can barely raise it 5 -10mm then they need no food.
For inexperienced beeks it should do little harm to provide a slab of fondant though it isn't normal procedure to do so, stores should well and truly be dealt with before the end of October in future years. Most will do so and start somewhen in early to mid Sept depending on the colony status.

Colonies with not enough stores will likely be ok until the new year then starvation or isolation starvation may/will raise it's head, fondant is no use if they don't move up to it. If a colony hefts very easily with one/two fingers then they are light or in potential trouble any fondant needs to go direct above the cluster on the top bars, one may get an indication of position if they can't be seen via any debris on a clean varroa board if an omf is used.
 
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