Fondant onto frames?

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jettabee

New Bee
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I have polyhives x2 and it’s my first year. They didn’t draw any supers at all but had plenty of brood and looked strong. I gave them syrup but now it’s cooler so I have some hive alive fondant. I have used a super as an eke and applied the hive alive direct onto the frames with a glass crownboard on top of the empty super so I can spy in. The empty super walls are packed with bees which is partly why I put the fondant onto the frames instead of lowering the crownboard onto the frames( because it would be a lot of bees to shake out of the super). But now I’m wondering if the hive alive will make everything too sticky and bees unable to fly ( because too sticky) - basically was this a mistake? Should I shake the bees out of the super and put the crown board onto the frames and the fondant on top of the crown board? First winter.never done this before.
 
Also my first year overwintering. I have a number of poly and timber national hives.
When putting fondant on to frames I've been advised to use a queen excluder, to prevent it falling onto the cluster.

I've been feeding all my colonies heavy syrup for 4 weeks, and have been wondering about how I'll feed fondant. So happy to see your post.

All my hives have poly Ashforth feeders, even the timber ones. These can be inverted to provide a large insulated fondant feeding area.
I'm wondering if I should feed through my poly crownboard or directly onto the frames with a QE underneath. Is there much difference?
 
I have polyhives x2 and it’s my first year. They didn’t draw any supers at all but had plenty of brood and looked strong. I gave them syrup but now it’s cooler so I have some hive alive fondant. I have used a super as an eke and applied the hive alive direct onto the frames with a glass crownboard on top of the empty super so I can spy in. The empty super walls are packed with bees which is partly why I put the fondant onto the frames instead of lowering the crownboard onto the frames( because it would be a lot of bees to shake out of the super). But now I’m wondering if the hive alive will make everything too sticky and bees unable to fly ( because too sticky) - basically was this a mistake? Should I shake the bees out of the super and put the crown board onto the frames and the fondant on top of the crown board? First winter.never done this before.
I notice your details show you joined the forum in August 2014 so it seems strange to find you asking this now. How much syrup did you give and by what method? Is the brood box heavy with stores for winter? Based on your post I'd suggest you need a mentor or at least a competent beekeeper who can call by and set you on the right road before the winter sets in. Maybe one of our members in your area with a bit of free time can help
 
Also my first year overwintering. I have a number of poly and timber national hives.
When putting fondant on to frames I've been advised to use a queen excluder, to prevent it falling onto the cluster.

I've been feeding all my colonies heavy syrup for 4 weeks, and have been wondering about how I'll feed fondant. So happy to see your post.

All my hives have poly Ashforth feeders, even the timber ones. These can be inverted to provide a large insulated fondant feeding area.
I'm wondering if I should feed through my poly crownboard or directly onto the frames with a QE underneath. Is there much difference?
I read somewhere that I shouldn’t use qe over winter
 
If you've both been feeding syrup and the hives are heavy then they won't need fondant at all
I re evaluate stores in February and give fondant then if needed in a plastic bag over the crown board feeder hole

IMG_0560.jpeg
Weigh the hives if you're not sure
Work out how much the kit and bees weigh then add 40lb stores
 
I notice your details show you joined the forum in August 2014 so it seems strange to find you asking this now. How much syrup did you give and by what method? Is the brood box heavy with stores for winter? Based on your post I'd suggest you need a mentor or at least a competent beekeeper who can call by and set you on the right road before the winter sets in. Maybe one of our members in your area with a bit of free time can help
Joined in 2014 but neighbours wouldn’t let me keep bees- I do get that now! Then moved house and so happy I can now have bees. I do have a really good local beekeeping club but they don’t do poly hives and they are good at carpentry- diametric opposite to me!!
 
Also my first year overwintering. I have a number of poly and timber national hives.
When putting fondant on to frames I've been advised to use a queen excluder, to prevent it falling onto the cluster.

I've been feeding all my colonies heavy syrup for 4 weeks, and have been wondering about how I'll feed fondant. So happy to see your post.

All my hives have poly Ashforth feeders, even the timber ones. These can be inverted to provide a large insulated fondant feeding area.
I'm wondering if I should feed through my poly crownboard or directly onto the frames with a QE underneath. Is there much difference?

Different beekeepers advise different methods of feeding fondant. I feed fondant IF REQUIRED in winter/spring using clear plastic sandwich tubs over a central feed hole in the crown board. It works for me and my bees. 🙂
 
I place slabs of fondant onto frames for intitial feeding and if the colonies need it the bees will store it within days so they don't get sticky as you suggest.
From about now I do as John suggests and feed in a takeaway tub via a crownboard hole in an insulated eke.
 
If you've both been feeding syrup and the hives are heavy then they won't need fondant at all
I re evaluate stores in February and give fondant then if needed in a plastic bag over the crown board feeder hole
:iagree:
 
Joined in 2014 but neighbours wouldn’t let me keep bees- I do get that now! Then moved house and so happy I can now have bees. I do have a really good local beekeeping club but they don’t do poly hives and they are good at carpentry- diametric opposite to me!!
Good to hear. However do have a plan B in case you encounter bee behavioural difficulties. Regarding the local bee association, they surely aren't keeping up with the world if they can't help with poly. I don't consider using wooden hives and polyhives to be fundamentally different in any important aspects, I still have a couple of wooden ones. The weight of the boxes is different and the polyhives are easier for bees to keep warm/cool depending on outside conditions but the bees know how to control interior temperatures within close limits anyway.
Hopefully you ran your hives satisfactorily during the spring, summer and into autumn. You've treated and fed plenty? of 2:1 syrup with hivemakers recipe, in which case there shouldn't be a need at this time for fondant.
As to the number of bees lining the super you have on, it's tricky knowing what a new keeper means with descriptions and we can't see from afar. If it really is lots you can put the super under the brood box and as the numbers contract over winter they will move up into the brood leaving the super empty and you can remove it in springtime. Conditions in my area aren't yet precluding syrup feeding although my hives are heavy so it's nearly time to stop and leave the bees to forage ivy if they want more to top up.
 
If required, fondant straight onto brood frames, empty super over & loosely filled with sheeps wool to fill the void & insulate.
 

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Just goes to show ... ask 5 beekeepers a question and you will get 6 answers - all of them right.

1. If the bees have been fed heavy syrup for 4 weeks (and they have been foraging) they should not need fondant at present.

2. Heft the hive (put your fingers under the bottom of the hive, if it's hard to lift with 3 fingers it's heavy, if you can lift with 2 - they're still light, easy to lift with 1 finger - they are starving). If you can't trust your judgement when hefting then buy a set of luggage scales and weigh them.

3. An empty super with a glass crownboard is going to create a lot of space above the frames that they have to heat and is not doing them any favours now it's getting colder. Take if off and shake the bees back into the brood box. Put a crownboard with a feeder hole above the frames - put the fondant in a see through plastic container - cut a hole in the bottom and place it over the feeder hole so the bees can get at it. Put the empty super back and fill it wirh insulation above and around the fondant container. You will be able to see how much fondant they are taking down and it's easy to take the lid off and refill it.

4. BUT - only if they NEED feeding - see 1 & 2 above.
 
As per pargyle. Feeding ( like a lot of beekeeping) is a balancing act. Too much and no space for queen to lay, too little and they starve. My winter feeding is done now. I will heft (weigh if not confident) regularly through winter. If I got it wrong, they may get some fondant Jan/Feb, but only if needed. They will get a vape in December but otherwise will not be disturbed until spring.
 
Just goes to show ... ask 5 beekeepers a question and you will get 6 answers - all of them right.

1. If the bees have been fed heavy syrup for 4 weeks (and they have been foraging) they should not need fondant at present.

2. Heft the hive (put your fingers under the bottom of the hive, if it's hard to lift with 3 fingers it's heavy, if you can lift with 2 - they're still light, easy to lift with 1 finger - they are starving). If you can't trust your judgement when hefting then buy a set of luggage scales and weigh them.

3. An empty super with a glass crownboard is going to create a lot of space above the frames that they have to heat and is not doing them any favours now it's getting colder. Take if off and shake the bees back into the brood box. Put a crownboard with a feeder hole above the frames - put the fondant in a see through plastic container - cut a hole in the bottom and place it over the feeder hole so the bees can get at it. Put the empty super back and fill it wirh insulation above and around the fondant container. You will be able to see how much fondant they are taking down and it's easy to take the lid off and refill it.

4. BUT - only if they NEED feeding - see 1 & 2 above.

As a picture is worth a thousand words heres one of my spare clear crown boards with beespace one side and room for Apiguard tray (or Slab of fondant if you like) the other. The feed hole is normally closed. I feed fondant in an inverted tub over the hole and keep a sheet of insulation in contact with the clear crown board. The items have been in the shed for some time so overdue for a clean
 

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I keep in poly hives with open mesh floors. For fondant feeding I cut the sides off the blue plastic crates they use for mushrooms and pop the base on top of the frames. I have done this for a few years now when feeding fondant which is generally about January whether the hives are heavy or not using a belt and braces approach. The fondant I put on top of the base effectively directly and all over the frames. I find that the plastic base stops the fondant oozing between the frames and also makes it easy to remove any fondant left in the spring. I pop that residual fondant in a poly bag and dissolve in water for liquid feed the following spring or autumn. Need a 2 inch eke, and I have 25-50mm polystyrene in the roof on top of the crownboard with as little air space (heat loss) as possible, I never use a crownboard with a feeder hole as I always feel that they may not break cluster to reach the feed if they are to one side of the hive.
 
hives have poly Ashforth feeders, even the timber ones. These can be inverted to provide a large insulated fondant feeding area.
Agreed: simple method, works well with a QX to support the fondant. Remember to revert early in spring or they'll build comb in there.

wondering if I should feed through my poly crownboard or directly onto the frames with a QE underneath. Is there much difference?
Getting complicated: the Abelo CB is a £30+delivery luxury you can do without: keep the poly feeder on all year instead, and sell the CB.

shouldn’t use qe over winter
That applies if a super of honey is left above the BB, and to avoid separation of bees from queen when the nest rises into the super during winter. Like all rules, it's better to understand and adapt it rather than obey blindly.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/Fondant Peter Edwards.pdf

bees unable to fly ( because too sticky) - basically was this a mistake?
Yes, but embrace them: mistakes teach faster. :)
Heed Pargyle's advice: heft the hives, get shot of the glass and insulate the top: empty super with a glass crownboard is going to create a lot of space above the frames that they have to heat and is not doing them any favours now it's getting colder.

There are enough variables listed in posts above, so work out your own and remember that the tricky period when bees run short is early in the New Year, when brooding starts in earnest.
 
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