what was the sense in feeding sryup earlier on in the year?

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biglongdarren 

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hey ye...this is my first winter and i was told to feed heavily with sryup before the winter..i did that but then was told to put some fondant in too just in case they needed it.....one of my three hives is going through ten times as much fondant as the other two and seem to be relaying on it now...i spent an awful money on sugar feeding them up earlier....could i not just have bought fondant and placed it in the hive in september and let them worked away on it instead of sryup?..been cheaper for me and handier........the hive that is eating the most fondant was a 12x14 and full of stores going into the winter.
 

Rosti 

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A general rule of feeding come autumn cannot take account of all local variations in weather and hive types. Autumn syrup feeding allows the girls to transfer the nutrient into the comb so that it is held within the cluster, more over it's cheaper. Fondant only works in the scenario of a autumn feed if its been processed into the comb so you'd still need to feed to saturation which ever feed source you used. As winter progresses the cluster tracks up through the brood box contacting fresh stores as they go. That is the benefit of feeding in the autumn, it replicates what the bees would do normally (and compensates for the stores that we have nicked as honey). The significance of fondant as a secondary energy source depends on the success of that feeding and the brood box size you are working on (see also late swarm below).
Things don't always turn out as predicted which is why monitoring of the hive condition by hefting is recommended to determine a crude measure of remaining stores through weight (but not of course giving any clue on location). Providing fondant gives a second energy source for the bees, particularly useful if they have got to the top of the brood box and have run out of places to go. It can never be as good as nutrient available within a brood ball because in cold weather bees may not make it to and from the fondant successfully.
In summary feeding sugar solution is cheaper and a more natural support to the colony, fondant is a useful back-up in the main but sometimes a calculated alternative strategy where the colony or the drawn comb area is not sufficient to sustain for the whole winter e.g. a late swarm.

See below for the numerous alternative views that are about to be posted. bee-smillie
 
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oliver90owner 

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biglongdarren,

Just to be sure there are no other factors causing this, other than brood box size, are the configurations all the same - same floors amount of ventiation, sizes of colony, health, and maybe more?

What is the present weights changes? Are they simply using fondant as an easy alternative to uncapping? For instance is the box full of ivy honey?

Sugar is still cheaper than fondant - by a wide margin if not purchasing a lot. Full frames going into winter means better hive insulation. By all means feed fondant in the autumn, but remember they may only be able to take it down and store it in the daytime - as opposed to sugar syrup, which can be procesed at any time (dependent on temperature, of course).

How much fondant have the 'other two used? If it is naff all then ten times naff all is still not a lot, if you see what I mean.

The 'proof of the pudding', in this case, will be development in springtime. Keep this in mind when you find loads of bees and little brood because of a shortage of laying space (it happens more often than you think!). When one gives it some thought, perhaps that is one reason why shook swarms in spring appear to get ahead, so well. The alternative thought, particularly for beginners or those with few colonies, is better to be alive in the spring than dead with adequate stores still in the hive.

I rather tend towards the fact that the bees would need to cluster and feed in nature, so they can cluster and feed in a hive. Framed hives are not strictly comparable in every way to a natural comb built by the bees, but not that far away.

Apart from that I am with Rosti, really. And maybe they have moved upwards and are now directly beneath the fondant and are staying warm (or it's too cold to move to the full frames of stores?).

Regards, RAB
 

Poly Hive 

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One of the biggest restrictions to the spring build up is lack of hive tool action by the beekeeper.

Something that is just not taught it seems.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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I am going to try that next year.
Works well Jim,i used fondant, and fondant only for eight years...not a drop of syrup.
Only down side was not being able to add thymol,if Bako would produce thymolised fondant it would exellent.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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It makes sence regarding the winter bees, as it is such a fine line of feeding/brood space particualry with the recent warmer Late summer/Autum times.
 

Vergilius 

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Dareren,

Use the weight of the hive to judge whether fondant is necessary. Their box may still be packed with stores and they are just taking the "easy" food.

Feeding fondant unneccesarily is a waste of money...

Ben P
 

biglongdarren 

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Rab.....the hive that is eating all the fondant very quickly is the only hive with a solid floor,and the queen was this years and she was laying up to very late,all the hives where bringing in alot of ivy as well...they all still seem very heavy ,so if i stop feeding them the fondant they will go back to the stores?is it to cold to eat ivy stores because i think that thats what most of it is now...thanks Darren
 

Vergilius 

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Rab.....the hive that is eating all the fondant very quickly is the only hive with a solid floor,and the queen was this years and she was laying up to very late,all the hives where bringing in alot of ivy as well...they all still seem very heavy ,so if i stop feeding them the fondant they will go back to the stores?is it to cold to eat ivy stores because i think that thats what most of it is now...thanks Darren
Yes they will. No it isn't "too cold" for them to eat ivy stores. It is just that ivy (like all stores) is an effort for them to uncap.

Ben P
 

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........the hive that is eating the most fondant was a 12x14 and full of stores going into the winter.
When you say Full of stores does that mean a whole super of honey on plus the brood box?

explain please
 

MuswellMetro 

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if they are a carnie strain of bees, they sometimes convert the syrup to brood rather than store it
 

Easy Beesy 

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I keep my bees on nationals and WBC. I leave a full brood box and a full super under the brood box through winter. Because of this I don't feed syrup or fondant. I have a box of fondant just in case but seldom use it except for apideas when q rearing. There is no hard and fast rules on feeding- it's a judgment call that is difficult to make if it's your first year. Do you have a mentor or a bee buddy who can help, pop over and discuss things with you? It's really helpful to talk things over and helps put your mind at rest.
Eb
 
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