Fondant for winter

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OH honey 

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When they need it ... is good practice ... just in case ... not good practice.
And when you're just not sure? No point saying he should be sure, plenty of beekeepers aren't. Now is NOT the time to be saying " you don't want to do it like that". Supportive people would help find a solution to the immediate problem before offering advice to ensure it doesn't happen next year, not carping on about how wrong he was in the first place and how bad his solution was ( a solution that may mean he has a hive next spring). Some of the experienced keepers on here need to get over themselves.
 

Sanntos 

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... 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....
I have to say that most beginners underestimate two big issues, the importance of varroa treatment, and the importance of the quote above. They begin to late, and give it in to small portions. It is possible to trickle feed with good result in spring and summer, not so very much in autumn and winter. I think.
 

Boston Bees 

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I have to say that most beginners underestimate two big issues, the importance of varroa treatment, and the importance of the quote above. They begin to late, and give it in to small portions. It is possible to trickle feed with good result in spring and summer, not so very much in autumn and winter. I think.
There is much truth in what you say. But on the other hand, plenty of beekeepers cripple their colonies by following the advice to "pile it on as quickly as they can take it", but doing it too early in the season. Witness all the posts from September on this forum from people saying "my hive is full of syrup and there's no room for the queen to lay, what should I do?". The result of piling syrup in too early can be too few winter bees for the colony to survive, which is a deadly as underfeeding is.

It's never as simple as a pithy quote, is it. Who can blame newish beekeepers for being a bit confused.
 

Sanntos 

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There is much truth in what you say. But on the other hand, plenty of beekeepers cripple their colonies by following the advice to "pile it on as quickly as they can take it", but doing it too early in the season. Witness all the posts from September on this forum from people saying "my hive is full of syrup and there's no room for the queen to lay, what should I do?". The result of piling syrup in too early can be too few winter bees for the colony to survive, which is a deadly as underfeeding is.

It's never as simple as a pithy quote, is it. Who can blame newish beekeepers for being a bit confused.
Its not possible to cripple a healthy and normal colony by giving the winterfeed all at once, and early.

With exception for a long warm autumn with a good flow, but I think that i is easy to forget that the colony needs a couple of weeks to really get the stores in order and dry it out. Also, the last born winterbees are not supposed to do hard work. Not any work at all.
 
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Swarm 

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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,
There is no harm in applying fondant at the end of December before you leave.
 

Sanntos 

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Not any work at all? Well who's going to do it?
They may not have to slog themselves to death foraging like in summer but there's still plenty of work feeding, cleaning, heating to be done.
Thats my point, the last two generations have to live to march. If they are engaged in hard work, especially feeding, is their lifespan shortened.
Heating is of course a task for all bees during the winter.
 

Beebe 

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Thats my point, the last two generations have to live to march. If they are engaged in hard work, especially feeding, is their lifespan shortened.
Heating is of course a task for all bees during the winter.
When are "the last two generations" of bees produced? It could be just at the time when the beekeeper ought to have stuck a bit of fondant on top of them.
 

pargyle 

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Thank you very much to all for the valuable advice. I really appreciate them.
Well ... as usual in beekeeping there is no single solution but at least on this forum you get a mix of (usually) well tempered and reasoned solutions. It's better than beekeeping in a silo and wondering what your best course of action is without the benefit of a sounding board for your thoughts. Of course, some of the solutions offered will be wrong - or at least wrong for you - but that's one of the joys or frustrations (depending on your point of view) of beekeeping - pondering the course of action, making the decision and then implementing it. The recriminations, disappointment or elation that your action has resulted in is something you have to live with as a beekeeper.

The way you keep your bees is your way and has to be the best way from your point of view. Make a decision and stick with it ...
 

Lizbee 

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Listening to a BBKA talk on feeding, this was a new one on me - take an ordinary bag of sugar, soak in warm water for 15 - 30 seconds (depending on how thick the paper is) and put straight on top of frames. Seems very easy and economical to me.
On the subject of trickle feeding, I have to confess I am one of those newbies who didn't quite cotton on to the need to give the bees as much as they would take and then leave them alone after the end of October. Another thing to put on the 'must do better next year' list
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Listening to a BBKA talk on feeding, this was a new one on me - take an ordinary bag of sugar, soak in warm water for 15 - 30 seconds (depending on how thick the paper is) and put straight on top of frames.
Goodnes - that is one from right back in the archives, I remember my grandfather talking about that. It does work though, as a quick standby for emergency feeding just there are better ways to approach the issue.
 

Nannysbees 

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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 .....
I like that advice, plain and simple 👌
 

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