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When should I switch from feeding syrup to fondant?

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:iagree: it's fine if you are setting up one hive to have a 'micro - weighing' system if you want to spend a season/winter monitoring weight changes whether out of sheer curiosity or as part of a 'scientific' study, so that you are educating yourself as to what to expect in future years. But for practicality, hefting IMHO is the only way. Fair enough, as a beginner, set uf a luggage scale weighing system as an aid, but all the while you should be hefting and comparing to scale weights so that in a few seasons hefting will be sufficient, and all you'll need.
I beg to differ emyr.. Not everyone is as strong as each other and hefting doesn't give you a true weight.. How can you work out how much to feed a colony by just hefting? You can't.

Even with a hundred hives I would still weigh with scales probably not as much and I would pick the times to do it ie before autumn feeding, December and February, and heft in between these times.

As a beginner and even after a few years hefting IMHO isn't enough.

Being a beginner is anxious enough with out worrying if they have enough stores for winter.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I beg to differ emyr.. Not everyone is as strong as each other and hefting doesn't give you a true weight.. How can you work out how much to feed a colony by just hefting? You can't.

Even with a hundred hives I would still weigh with scales probably not as much and I would pick the times to do it ie before autumn feeding, December and February, and heft in between these times.

As a beginner and even after a few years hefting IMHO isn't enough.

Being a beginner is anxious enough with out worrying if they have enough stores for winter.
That's fine if you decide to continue beekeeping by numbers forever.
But there comes a time when judgement has to take over from religiously following a list.
You don't have to know whithin an ounce how much your hive weights, and in the end, as each colony is different, and each colony's fuel consumption is different, there is only so far you can follow the avoirdupois road.
Strength has got very little to do with it - you need strength to lift a luggage scale to get an accurate reading.
It's the obsession with calculating everything to within a gnat's hair that usually leads to disaster.
You sometimes need to look at the hive - not a notebook
 
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That's fine if you decide to continue beekeeping by numbers forever.
But there comes a time when judgement has to take over from religiously following a list.
You don't have to know whithin an ounce how much your hive weights, and in the end, as each colony is different, and each colony's fuel consumption is different, there is only so far you can follow the avoirdupois road.
Strength has got very little to do with it - you need strength to lift a luggage scale to get an accurate reading.
It's the obsession with calculating everything to within a gnat's hair that usually leads to disaster.
You sometimes need to look at the hive - not a notebook
Well I'm a stockman/farmer and have spent the last god knows how many years using numbers and weights for everything... I know that some heifers will consume more than others, the same goes for some of my colonys.

I will still always advocate using both my judgment and a calculator.
My calculator first then I will use my judgment to understand my calculations.
This is how I teach, it doesn't really matter which way you do it as long as you use both.
 

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I weighed my hives with a luggage scale for a few years but then the most I ever had was 16.
My strength varies from day to day but I still manage now to get an idea by hefting that’s as fair an approximation as weighing.
There is always the option of putting on some fondant just in case.
If weighing and noting everything down is what a beekeeper feels they need and enjoy doing then there’s nothing wrong with that but in the end it all gets redundant as you get more of a feel for how your colonies progress through the winter.
Thank heavens we’re all different
I certainly enjoy playing with the bees but have given up on the minutae.
 

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Well I'm a stockman/farmer and have spent the last god knows how many years using numbers and weights for everything... I know that some heifers will consume more than others, the same goes for some of my colonys.
Do you think it’s as crucial for bees ?
After all colonies differ according to their genes for example.
My neighbour dairy farmer regulates what each cow eats in the milking parlour because he has to get the maximum amount of milk out of each beast in the most economical way.
Do you think you can extrapolate that to bees?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Well I'm a stockman/farmer and have spent the last god knows how many years using numbers and weights for everything
Well it's been a few years since I worked on farms, but try as I can, I still can't remember putting all the heiffers and horses on the scales every morning. Must have been when I was checking the top fields
 

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Well it's been a few years since I worked on farms, but try as I can, I still can't remember putting all the heiffers and horses on the scales every morning. Must have been when I was checking the top fields
😆
Horses for courses as they say.
I think weighing is useful for a beginner but after a little experience it’s surely just for enjoyment and amusement which is what beekeeping is for most of us here.
You shouldn’t need to justify it. It’s not crucial in a colonies welfare
My opinion only, of course.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I think weighing is useful for a beginner but after a little experience it’s surely just for enjoyment and amusement which is what beekeeping is for most of us here.
:iagree: as I said, to begin with, weigh and heft, learn as you go on, then after that, yes, there are circumstances where weighing and monitoring can be 'entertaining' - remember Finny's 'balance hive' ?
A single hive with a permanent scales (I've seen one either here or elsewhere online which had a bathroom scales incorporated into the hive stand which, by the use of mirrors you could read as you stand alongside.) Would give useful data if you took notes over a 24 hour period during a good flow. But for just the normal ensuring the colony has stores over the winter.................
 

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I started off weighing and hefting but now only heft. It is so much simpler. Not lost a colony from starvation over winter yet, except for in my first winter. Each to their own.
 

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I only weigh the hives in the winter, to monitor the stores. I weigh them once week or so and as a result I know how much food they have. No panic in early spring, no adding fondant just-in-case, no worries!
It takes less than 10 seconds per hive and it takes no strength at all (only a couple a hundred of grams force on the arm). Each reading is accurate, unlike hefting, when after a few hives they all feel heavy.

I'm not suggesting anyone else should do the same. I was merely sharing my idea.
It's a shame how intolerant some are if not-invented-here.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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I started off weighing and hefting but now only heft. It is so much simpler. Not lost a colony from starvation over winter yet, except for in my first winter. Each to their own.
No matter how detailed or accurate your assessment of stores is there's always the phenomenon of isolation starvation to upset the applecart☹
 
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No matter how detailed or accurate your assessment of stores is there's always the phenomenon of isolation starvation to upset the applecart☹
I've read through the last couple of pages and was just going to say, though you beat me to it: no amount of weighing with scales or hefting tells you much about the distribution of stores inside the box. Some would say that you should glance inside when the weather is okay and move stores nearer the cluster if appropriate.
 

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Would a well insulated colony be less likely to suffer from "isolation starvation"?
 

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Would a well insulated colony be less likely to suffer from "isolation starvation"?
Yes, assuming they are warmer the cluster will be looser so will be able to move to where the food is. In theory.
 
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As REDWOOD would say, isolation starvation is a sign the colony was too small going into Winter.
I agree ... i think isolation starvation is often a misnomer for a weak or small colony in a box that is too large for them to heat in winter - good insulated boxes will allow even smaller colonies to move - they may cluster when the outside temperature is very cold but a warm hive is part of the solution to the problem.
 

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Most of the time, I avoid all of the above by leaving the bees enough honey. :LOL:
The bees are still out foraging here in South Wales, so it very much depends where your bees are living.
However, we are still feeding syrup to a lighter colony as they are still foraging and even bringing in pollen (in the rain)!
 

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