Fondant- should I leave it?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


House Bee
Dec 31, 2008
Reaction score
Shropshire, uk
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Put me fondant on as discussed over Christmas. Had a quick peak and do not seem to have touched it!

Should I leave it on? Poor things must be working hard this weather (we have - 14c ) so am I right in assuming it may come in useful later when low on stores.

I am away for couple of weeks - don't won't to fiddle in this weather but don't want fondant to go rank either?

Many thanks Floss
Don't worry I don't think it'll go rank. Could it be the same case as syrup when they don't realise its there? Bees in a cluster can be reluctant to move at all I think. If they are light on stores they will surely need it, I guess you just have to hope they'll find it if thats the case.

I make my own fondant and when it turns out too hard they have a job to eat it, but I'm getting the hang of getting it right now.

It will not go off.

It's on now so leave them to use it or not as they see fit. They are after all the experts. :p

Should I leave it on? Poor things must be working hard this weather (we have - 14c )

The heat only escapes from hive with that feeding system. Take it off and put good insulations to bees.

Insulation saves food.

Hmmm - the one I checked under was very warm from the hive. I take your point Finman although both are covered with clingfilm. I am concerned they may get hungry ... need heat, need food, need heat....

When I OA'd before Xmas there were stores to be seen...newbie you see, I do worry!
Try not to worry too much:) Leave the fondant on, they usually only take it when they want it. Having said that I have heard of bees taking it down and storing it, however not in the temperatures we have at the moment. The time to make sure they have food is when they start raising brood and need to feed it.

Leave them strictly alone until the weather improves - we usually get one or two good days in February and that is when to have a quickcheck and feed is necessary.
Cheers Mike - will do! I have no intention of "fiddling" with them - I am happy to be a "hands off" keeper and trust to nature as much as possible!

I think a big problem for newbies is that there is soooo much info - so much conflicting advice and opinions and bee keeping is having to adapt to changes ( and mistakes made...) over the past few years it can be difficult to filter all the information!!!!!!

Keep warm all!

Stick an old blanket over the fondant and a slab of insulation over the CB.

The best thing to do is leave well alone until Spring.

Before Varroa (BV) the majority of beekeepers did their Autumn feeding, perhaps put a block of candy on at Christmas, and that was it until the Spring.

The problem now (or perhaps advantage, depends on which way you look at it) is when treating for varroa with Oxalic in the coldest months of the year, it is easy to spot issues as you treat (such as no bees, few bees, lots of dead bees etc) so therefore you end up more concerned than BV.

The problem is there is actually very little you can do, because if you encourage the cluster to break apart in any way, you end up doing more harm than good and possibly cause the hive to die off due to in-opportune 'meddling'.

It wil be interesting to learn in the Spring when we start assessing hive mortality for the 2009/2010 winter whether a larger percentage of 'die outs' were nucs or small colonies going into the winter or wether they were larger colonies.


Tx Steve. I am happy to leave be - the fondant went on before christmas, I was concerned it might go fusty you see if I left it on till spring - it is v cold here and I don't want to touch anything - I can hear them buzzing away, There did seem to be good stores when I OA's a few weeks ago but being my first winter I have nothing to compare with! Just going down to check now (have woodpeckers showing a interest! - v cold and all the wood birds have come down to the garden to feed - lovely!)

Poor things must be working hard this weather (we have - 14c )

Not sure if that is true, the lower the temp the less they consume say compared with it being 5'c outside, unless someone can say otherwise.

Less active bees = less fuel needed other than for maintaining core temperature, I think they consume much more food when they are more active/warmer.

Physics tells me that at -14 the heat loss from the hive will be more than at -13, etc.

More heat loss equates to 'more heat energy needing to be replaced' which eventually equates to 'more stores must be consumed'.

The greater the delta T, the greater the heat transfer.

Now, covered with snow - that may make a difference. Snow is a good insulator.

Regards, RAB
Rab, but do bees use more energy keeping warm at -15c than when the hive is active with brood at say 5c for example?
Well yes, we have a different scenario. Brood present means another 10 degrees required at the core of the nest and a load of hungry mouths to feed. This will be for growth, not heating, but they will doubtless be giving out quite a bit of heat as the metabolic rate will be high. I say at +5 with no brood, the heat needed to maintain the temperature is far less than at -15. Simple physics. Of course the nest may be much lower down and a larger area of hive is radiating, conducting heat away....... I would think draughts and ventilation and cluster position might be factors as well.

Regards, RAB