Glass Crown Board to observe bees in winter

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Boston Bees 

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Thanks all,
I bought a 4mm polycarbonate sheet, 6mm piece of timber for one side (bee space) and a 50mm treated roof batten for the other side (eke).

I will make a hole in the middle of the polycarbonate to leave the fondant above the polycarbonate (I think if I leave the fondant above the frames directly, that will block the bees and they will not be able to move freely above the frames).
Thanks
The problem with this plan is that the area above the crownboard is much colder than below it, so the fondant will go hard and become much more difficult for them to take down. Also, they are less likely to go up and get the fondant as the cluster won't be in direct contact with the fondant. I have found this repeatedly.

Feeding above a hole in the crownboard is more of a thing to do in late autumn when the weather is warmer and the bees are more mobile.

For emergency mid-winter feeding, I would recommend slapping the fondant directly on to the frames.
 

Curly green finger's 

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The problem with this plan is that the area above the crownboard is much colder than below it, so the fondant will go hard and become much more difficult for them to take down. Also, they are less likely to go up and get the fondant as the cluster won't be in direct contact with the fondant. I have found this repeatedly.

Feeding above a hole in the crownboard is more of a thing to do in late autumn when the weather is warmer and the bees are more mobile.

For emergency mid-winter feeding, I would recommend slapping the fondant directly on to the frames.
:iagree: and even doing it in the autumn I've had colonys being able to consume more in the autumn if the fondant is on the top bars, rather than above the crownboard.
 

Beebe 

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:iagree: and even doing it in the autumn I've had colonys being able to consume more in the autumn if the fondant is on the top bars, rather than above the crownboard.
Despite all the doommongers saying that ad-hoc availabilty of fondant makes them fill the combs with stores, I've found that a tub of about half a kilo of fondant, above the crownboard and well insulated, is taken down in a contriolled way over several weeks now the weather has cooled down. So that tallies with your observations above.
 

pargyle 

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:iagree: and even doing it in the autumn I've had colonys being able to consume more in the autumn if the fondant is on the top bars, rather than above the crownboard.
Or better still .. save the fondant for spring feeding if they need it and stick to syrup in the autumn as it's much easier for them to process for storage - it may be convenient for the beekeeper but let's not make it more difficult for the bees.

The key to feeding fondant in a container above the crown board is to surround it by PIR insulation and put a slab of PIR on top ... even in spring this means the bees are not discouraged by having to access a cold mass above the crownboard.
 

Curly green finger's 

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Or better still .. save the fondant for spring feeding if they need it and stick to syrup in the autumn as it's much easier for them to process for storage - it may be convenient for the beekeeper but let's not make it more difficult for the bees.

The key to feeding fondant in a container above the crown board is to surround it by PIR insulation and put a slab of PIR on top ... even in spring this means the bees are not discouraged by having to access a cold mass above the crownboard.
It's not just easier for the bees they process it quicker if feed ad - lib and not in small amounts.
I use both syrup and fondant for autumn feeding.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Despite all the doommongers saying that ad-hoc availabilty of fondant makes them fill the combs with stores, I've found that a tub of about half a kilo of fondant, above the crownboard and well insulated, is taken down in a contriolled way over several weeks now the weather has cooled down.
If you had read what people were saying properly - You will take into account your own observation as highlighted above.
The dangers of them storing is of more concern in the milder autumn (not really a problem) and when it warms up again in early spring. When the bees are reluctant to venture out in search of water to process the fondant into stores for later, it's not so much of an issue, contrary to what some believe, bees don't just cut the fondant into little chunks and pack it into cells for storing, they first use water to turn it into syrup, invert and enzyme treat it and then store it as 'honey' - so when it gets cold, they won't do it.
 
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john1 

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Thank you so much all,
I understand the advantages of keeping the fondant above the bars - easy access for bees, keep the fondant warmer etc.

I think, I should change my plan. I will not put a hole in my polycarbonate eke.
I will use the eke only for feeding fondant in winter and I will leave the fondant above the bars.

I hope I need to cut one side of the 2.5kg fondant plastic bag and put it just above the bars.
 

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I hope I need to cut one side of the 2.5kg fondant plastic bag and put it just above the bars.
Roll out the fondant. Put it on a sheet of grease proof with a few slits in it then put that paper down on the top bars, slits at right angles to the frames
 

john1 

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If you had read what people were saying properly - You will take into account your own observation as highlighted above.
The dangers of them storing is of more concern in the milder autumn (not really a problem) and when it warms up again in early spring. When the bees are reluctant to venture out in search of water to process the fondant into stores for later, it's not so much of an issue, contrary to what some believe, bees don't just cut the fondant into little chunks and pack it into cells for storing, they first use water to turn it into syrup, invert and enzyme treat it and then store it as 'honey' - so when it gets cold, they won't do it.
If bees need access to water then those who use fondant should not wrap the beehive.
If the hive is not wrapped then bees will be able to find condensation water on the walls of the hive which they can use.
 

Boston Bees 

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If bees need access to water then those who use fondant should not wrap the beehive.
If the hive is not wrapped then bees will be able to find condensation water on the walls of the hive which they can use.
Weeeeellll ..... not 100% sure of your physics there, to be honest. There's going to be condensation in the hive somewhere. Good top insulation should make sure it's on the sides of the hive, rather than on the crownboard. Not sure about all-around wrapping.
 

Erichalfbee 

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If bees need access to water then those who use fondant should not wrap the beehive.
If the hive is not wrapped then bees will be able to find condensation water on the walls of the hive which they can use.
There will be condensation anyway
 

pargyle 

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If bees need access to water then those who use fondant should not wrap the beehive.
If the hive is not wrapped then bees will be able to find condensation water on the walls of the hive which they can use.
That's not altogether correct I'm afraid ... there is still condensation in well insulated hives - just that it tends to be on the walls and not over the top on the crownboard.... but .. relying on bees using condensation for the amount of moisture needed to reduce fondant to a state where they can store it is a bit risky.
 

hemo 

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This time of year the bees won't waste time storing it, it will be used if needed and they can access it. If they use it maybe they have not enough stores nearby or they will starve if no nearby stores or don't find the fondant.

In Autumn it will be readily stored in fairly quickly 12.5kg will disappear within a week if they have storage room for it.
 

Garry R 

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Have a slab of fondant above the frames - no hole!! Have a 2" eke. The bees rise in their own heat so if they are well down the combs in a cluster you can't be 100% sure where they will eventually come up so a hole in the crown board may be wide of the mark. I cut the bottom off one of those blue plasticopen mesh mushroom trays (ask a greengrocer) the bottom and pop it on the top of the frames so that bees don't get crushed when you lay the fondant on top. See photo I also pop a bit of cling film on top of the fondant to stop it drying out (or slice it up and wrap it all ready for the bees then cut out a rectangle on the bottom before laying it on). You can still see your bees through the polycarb crownboard but again have polystyrene insulation on top or in the roof. If the bees don't use all the fondant scrape it off and use it to make syrup in spring or at some point when needed.
 

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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If bees need access to water then those who use fondant should not wrap the beehive.
If the hive is not wrapped then bees will be able to find condensation water on the walls of the hive which they can use.
Wrapping is a new fad in the UK which has only really appeared the last few seasons - cultivated by suppliers who have found a fresh seam of gullible people with money to burn on even more unneeded kit, to be honest I don't know of anyone who wraps their hives.
Condensation water will give the bees enough water to be able to ingest the fondant, but seldom enough to store
 

pargyle 

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Have a slab of fondant above the frames - no hole!! Have a 2" eke. The bees rise in their own heat so if they are well down the combs in a cluster you can't be 100% sure where they will eventually come up so a hole in the crown board may be wide of the mark. I cut the bottom off one of those blue plasticopen mesh mushroom trays (ask a greengrocer) the bottom and pop it on the top of the frames so that bees don't get crushed when you lay the fondant on top. See photo I also pop a bit of cling film on top of the fondant to stop it drying out (or slice it up and wrap it all ready for the bees then cut out a rectangle on the bottom before laying it on). You can still see your bees through the polycarb crownboard but again have polystyrene insulation on top or in the roof. If the bees don't use all the fondant scrape it off and use it to make syrup in spring or at some point when needed.
The brace comb they have built in that eke might tell you something .....
 

DonkeyDonz 

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Have a slab of fondant above the frames - no hole!! Have a 2" eke. The bees rise in their own heat so if they are well down the combs in a cluster you can't be 100% sure where they will eventually come up so a hole in the crown board may be wide of the mark. I cut the bottom off one of those blue plasticopen mesh mushroom trays (ask a greengrocer) the bottom and pop it on the top of the frames so that bees don't get crushed when you lay the fondant on top. See photo I also pop a bit of cling film on top of the fondant to stop it drying out (or slice it up and wrap it all ready for the bees then cut out a rectangle on the bottom before laying it on). You can still see your bees through the polycarb crownboard but again have polystyrene insulation on top or in the roof. If the bees don't use all the fondant scrape it off and use it to make syrup in spring or at some point when needed.
Why didn't you just use a queen excluder to place the fondant on? 🤔
 

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