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NBU warning doesn't this happen every year.

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That's a real insult isn't it ? Couldn't even bring herself to brand you a threepenny bit gardener ! She should be more careful ... in your profession the opportunities to bury the evidence under the patio come along too often ...
I would have to Bury her wheel chair as well.
I think she has mellowed some what with the C. B. D oil I provide for her pain relief and chronic arthritis.
swimbos mother now calls me a pro Gardener, how one has gone up in the world.
 

Newbeeneil 

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Are you putting the container over a hole in the crown board? I’ve added some in a small container and the bees are ignoring it. Would it be better to roll it out on grease proof paper and rest it on the queen excluder? I worry that my hefting is not very good so have put the fondant on just in case.
Mine are not ignoring the fondant above the crown board, they are taking it down like it's going out of fashion and a couple of them just don't seem to be getting heavier.
If yours are ignoring it I would put the container directly on the frames in an eke or as you say, in a very thin layer.
 
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Plonk a slab or a couple of the Fondabee bags on the top of the frames not on the crownboard is the way to go. You can't guarantee that the cluster is under the holes. Far better too much than not enough - you can always take the unused off in the spring. You wouldn't give a tiny bit of hay to a sheep. They are both livestock but bees are worth more than a sheep cash-wise but some "beekeepers" don't see their charges that way as they are "just insects". Give 'em plenty and you will be rewarded in spring
 
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But you wouldn't chuck loads of bales out into the fields 'just in case' either
I think over feeding when space has been reduced for winter actually has an adverse effect in spring .. my bees in poly hives always have some stores left in spring ... but, often by the end of February, the queens are laying quite significant amounts of brood and if the hive is still stuffed with stores from continual and excessive feeding she won't have the space to lay for 'an explosive build up' in spring.

If feeding is going on all winter with fondant on top of a brood box full of stores (and I've even seen beekeepers with a national box and a super left on crammed to the gunnels with stores and STILL under 'Good advice' slapping fondant on top of the frames 'just in case' as they close them up for winter).

Yes .. they will survive and I'm not in favour of starving bees but - it's a matter of balance and judgement - I have fondant in reserve in the unlikely event any of mine manage to eat their way through all the stores or if spring takes a long time to sprung ...you can always add fondant if/when they need it in the new year - but this predisposition for feed feed feed ... it's not what they would have in nature. They will stock the brood box with stores that they need but JBM is right ... given the chance they will continue to store as long as the opportunity is there - it doesn't help the natural order of things.

Yes - you can have a quick look to assess the state of play but then we have the age old mantra about not opening hives until you can do it in shorts and T-shirt. Is it any wonder that new beekeepers are confused with advice (much of which is good if taken in isolation) ? The problem arises when they take all the advice and use it ALL on their bees - following by rote what has been told to them. This forum should be mandatory reading for anyone starting to keep bees - it makes thinking an essential part of keeping bees - something that is sometimes lacking.

As an aside - My labrador used to be the same - he would eat as long as there was food in front of him - Labradors have no control mechanism. A friend of ours with a Lab inadvertently left a sack of dry dog food where the dog could get at it ... he came home to find the sack nearly empty and the dog so completely bloated that he could not even get onto his feet - it was a trip to the vet as they were so worried. Bees are much the same ... except they have the sense to store it.
 
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It's the difference between keeping bees and having bees
I wanted to add we have new beekeepers asking for advice if they should add fondant worrying about starvation.
With out knowing the hive strength weight, Hive type, we can only advise them... I wonder how many times we have got folk to add fondant when there was no need.?
Any noobs reading this give as much information as you possibly can because we can't see your hive/s and judge accordingly.

It's a balancing act. And knowing as Philip said removing frames in the spring when colonys are building up.

I've found that weighing with scales is the way to go.. I do also heft in between weighing times.
 
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But you wouldn't chuck loads of bales out into the fields 'just in case' either
No you wouldn't you would put them in one of these Hay feeder.
Which if your lucky will take three small square bales.
What a mess it would create if you just put them on the ground.

We dribble feed sheep cake on the ground
 

madasafish 

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That's a real insult isn't it ? Couldn't even bring herself to brand you a threepenny bit gardener ! She should be more careful ... in your profession the opportunities to bury the evidence under the patio come along too often ...

Under the patio is a waste of good compost and bonemeal: the greenhouse border is more eco friendly.
 

Newbeeneil 

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I think over feeding when space has been reduced for winter actually has an adverse effect in spring .. my bees in poly hives always have some stores left in spring ... but, often by the end of February, the queens are laying quite significant amounts of brood and if the hive is still stuffed with stores from continual and excessive feeding she won't have the space to lay for 'an explosive build up' in spring.

If feeding is going on all winter with fondant on top of a brood box full of stores (and I've even seen beekeepers with a national box and a super left on crammed to the gunnels with stores and STILL under 'Good advice' slapping fondant on top of the frames 'just in case' as they close them up for winter).

Yes .. they will survive and I'm not in favour of starving bees but - it's a matter of balance and judgement - I have fondant in reserve in the unlikely event any of mine manage to eat their way through all the stores or if spring takes a long time to sprung ...you can always add fondant if/when they need it in the new year - but this predisposition for feed feed feed ... it's not what they would have in nature. They will stock the brood box with stores that they need but JBM is right ... given the chance they will continue to store as long as the opportunity is there - it doesn't help the natural order of things.

Yes - you can have a quick look to assess the state of play but then we have the age old mantra about not opening hives until you can do it in shorts and T-shirt. Is it any wonder that new beekeepers are confused with advice (much of which is good if taken in isolation) ? The problem arises when they take all the advice and use it ALL on their bees - following by rote what has been told to them. This forum should be mandatory reading for anyone starting to keep bees - it makes thinking an essential part of keeping bees - something that is sometimes lacking.

As an aside - My labrador used to be the same - he would eat as long as there was food in front of him - Labradors have no control mechanism. A friend of ours with a Lab inadvertently left a sack of dry dog food where the dog could get at it ... he came home to find the sack nearly empty and the dog so completely bloated that he could not even get onto his feet - it was a trip to the vet as they were so worried. Bees are much the same ... except they have the sense to store it.
I agree Phillip, but I'd rather be removing full frames of stores in the spring than removing corpses.
 

Boston Bees 

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I agree Phillip, but I'd rather be removing full frames of stores in the spring than removing corpses.
Agreed, mine mostly still have some fondant on. They are picking at it - nothing more - so I am reassured that it isn't changing their behaviour (at least, not too much).
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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No you wouldn't you would put them in one of these Hay feeder.
We don't go for fripperies like that around here, if animals out in the fields need fedding, a bale gets broken out on the ground, but good husbandry means judging how much is needed, not leaving everything to chance.
 
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We don't go for fripperies like that around here, if animals out in the fields need fedding, a bale gets broken out on the ground, but good husbandry means judging how much is needed, not leaving everything to chance.
I don't know how a hay feeder is a frippery as you called it.. It keeps the hay of the ground and clean we've alway used them as far back as I can remember.
Obviously this time of year when the grass doesn't have much in it and ewes in lamb need as much hay as possible they get ad-libed with hay. There not like bees and store and keep storing food if the space allows.
It's only cake that is weighed and feed per head of stock.
We try and use trofs to feed cake where possible but having 2,500 sheep isnt easy.
Lambs in the spring a few weeks before removing them from mum get ad-libed with cake..
Is this above leaving things to chance?
Imo I don't think so
 

masterBK 

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Many beekeepers make sure their bees have enough stores before winter sets in and so hardly ever have to resort to plonking on slabs of fondant "just in case". In my case, I have only had to give fondant to one or two hives in late february three times in 61 years. In my part of yorkshire a minimum of 8 deep frames fully filled both sides with capped stores gets each of my selected mongrel colonies through winter and in some years there can be couple of frames of stores still left untouched in April. Not lost a colony through starvation for decades (my losses are almost all queen related with drone layers (unmated queens from late supersedures)) . Lost three colonies of very yellow New Zealand Italians from starvation back in the 70s during a very long June gap (I had removed/extracted the OS rape crop just before it (a costly lesson)). They were very gentle bees and a pleasure to manipulate but turned everything into brood and Qs didn't reduce laying with reduction in forage . They were useless on the heather as not prepared to venture out on windy days or when the sun wasn't shining so not used that strain since. Also went through a fad of using Caucasians for a few years but the high use of propolis (got skin dermattis from it) and the bees vulnerability to Nosema with high winter losses put me off them as well.
 

Apple 

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Many beekeepers make sure their bees have enough stores before winter sets in and so hardly ever have to resort to plonking on slabs of fondant "just in case". In my case, I have only had to give fondant to one or two hives in late february three times in 61 years. In my part of yorkshire a minimum of 8 deep frames fully filled both sides with capped stores gets each of my selected mongrel colonies through winter and in some years there can be couple of frames of stores still left untouched in April. Not lost a colony through starvation for decades (my losses are almost all queen related with drone layers (unmated queens from late supersedures)) . Lost three colonies of very yellow New Zealand Italians from starvation back in the 70s during a very long June gap (I had removed/extracted the OS rape crop just before it (a costly lesson)). They were very gentle bees and a pleasure to manipulate but turned everything into brood and Qs didn't reduce laying with reduction in forage . They were useless on the heather as not prepared to venture out on windy days or when the sun wasn't shining so not used that strain since. Also went through a fad of using Caucasians for a few years but the high use of propolis (got skin dermattis from it) and the bees vulnerability to Nosema with high winter losses put me off them as well.
That is exactly the reason I use our local Native Black Cornish Amm..... frugal with stores, have brood ready just at the right time for the summer flow and produce loads of honey!
The yellow NZ and other imported exotic variety bees also get in the OSR as they tend to forage it with their early start brood cycle?
Makes a real mess of the flow frames! :leaving:
 

Erichalfbee 

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That is exactly the reason I use our local Native Black Cornish Amm..... frugal with stores, have brood ready just at the right time for the summer flow and produce loads of honey!
The yellow NZ and other imported exotic variety bees also get in the OSR as they tend to forage it with their early start brood cycle?
Makes a real mess of the flow frames! :leaving:
Well that's your fault for putting the flow supers on too early....if you actually have any or is it simply a throw away comment?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Many beekeepers make sure their bees have enough stores before winter sets in and so hardly ever have to resort to plonking on slabs of fondant "just in case". In my case, I have only had to give fondant to one or two hives in late february three times in 61 years.
Exactly but the problem this year is that it has been unseasonably mild with little forage. My hives were winter ready at the end of October but they are light now because they have been out most days and have continued to brood. So I have plonked fondant on them for the first time before Christmas ever........... and so have lots of people
 
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Exactly but the problem this year is that it has been unseasonably mild with little forage. My hives were winter ready at the end of October but they are light now because they have been out most days and have continued to brood. So I have plonked fondant on them for the first time before Christmas ever........... and so have lots of people
Just the opposite for me .. it has been a cracking season ...there never seemed to be a foraging gap from March until early November and pollen us still coming in ...benefits of the micro climate of the Costa del Fareham and living on the edge of town.... the variety of forage available is extraordinary... and this years honey is just delicious... sadly no iocal honey show in the one year i might have stood a chance - typical, - all dressed up and nowhere to go !
 

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