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Why fondant?

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CliffDale 

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I know it may seem a daft question but why go to the trouble of making / buying fondant??

What is wrong with soaking a bag of sugar and cutting a small 6mm slot in the bag and leaving it over the crownboard hole?


Cliff
 
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I know it may seem a daft question but why go to the trouble of making / buying fondant??

What is wrong with soaking a bag of sugar and cutting a small 6mm slot in the bag and leaving it over the crownboard hole?


Cliff
I think you will just create a big odd shaped sugar lump.
 

MuswellMetro 

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I know it may seem a daft question but why go to the trouble of making / buying fondant??

What is wrong with soaking a bag of sugar and cutting a small 6mm slot in the bag and leaving it over the crownboard hole?


Cliff
the bees require a lot of water to make damp granulated sugar storable and in the depth of winter fondant is a better choice

however having said that, my grandfather in the 70's just sprinkled 2lb of granulated sugar on the crown board and the condensation made it damp and the bees survived
 

Poly Hive 

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My experience is they treat fondant much like candy which is to say they have it as a nibble to use when they are unclustered. I am not aware that they hav4e been taking it down and storing it, though I suppose it would take some sort of analysis to prove that one way or another.

So long as they thrive on it it is all that I worry about really.

the damp bag of sugar was promoted in Scotland by the west of Scotland people, I tried it once but can't say I thought much of it as a method and certainly not compared to the fondant.

PH
 

sputnam 

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I find that, if you give fondant in the summer or autumn, they will take it down & store it (I often do this for nucs).
In the winter, they will treat it as if it's stores & nibble as required.

It's a very useful way of feeding in winter or early spring if they've run short.

I always make a quick assessment of stores when I do my winter oxalic acid treatment, & have a quick peek at the top of the top super monthly until the spring. Any that look a bit short get a block of fondant. Quick, easy & effective.

Incidentally, I get mine from a local baker. Beko South West you have to buy shares, The only other supplier that delivers in West Cornwall wants £12.50 a block. The bakers charge me about £10.

Stephen.
 

oliver90owner 

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Stephen,

Just wondering how many(ish) colonies, how many actually need feeding before spring brooding starts (when I might feed 1:1 sugar syrup, not fondant), and are these all wintered with a brood with full super over?

I find that a full 14 x 12 in autumn, up here in the eastern part of the country near to the Wash, is almost always adequate for the winter period (for my bees), with them only likely running short when brooding gets going strongly.

I would think you are maybe much in the minority, going into winter with a super of stores over, for your part of the UK.

Regards, RAB
 

Hombre 

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I remember a talk given by a Warickshire beekeeper in the late 90's, not long after varroa was known to be moving into the country. It seemed to me that giving candy, in the form of a wet bag of sugar over the crown board was pretty much standard practice back then, when the winter stores were getting low.
 

sputnam 

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Last 2 winter, I had several colonies go into winter with a full super that would have starved if I hadn't fed fondant after Christmas & into the spring.

Although we had a very cold spell last winter, the winters down here are generally very warm and the bees are active and rearing brood right through.
 

mbc 

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the damp bag of sugar was promoted in Scotland by the west of Scotland people, I tried it once but can't say I thought much of it as a method and certainly not compared to the fondant.

PH[/QUOTE]

Please elaborate
 

Poly Hive 

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Why? Because I either had a soggy mess of sugar or a trickle of dry sugar neither of which suited me or the bees.

Fondant on the other hand has for me been a great success.

It kept my colonies going nicely last year, I then used what was left over from the hives to make light syrup for spring feed, and so it was very economical, and what I had left over in blocks has spend the year in the shed and is now being happily eaten by the colonies.


All round success as far as I can see, and the sugar was an all round failure for me.

PH
 

Hombre 

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So, to have you elaborate further PH. I suspect that the use of candy (wet sugar) was promoted at a time before fondant had become a popular way of feeding bees in the depths of winter.

So the question, based upon your many years of experience - When did fondant first start becoming a common source of feeding and when did it become accepted as mainstream?

Perhaps Finman could answer similar questions so we can guage the difference in the years when these things became popular.
 

Poly Hive 

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I will add that at the time the sugar bag was being touted as the best thing ever I had a pretty good syrup set up which revolved around a single tub washing machine. I bought it 2nd hand and it mixed a ton of sugar every autumn for years, with one new impeller. And it could warm the water if needed... try getting one now....

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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Years ago it was candy that was generally fed to bee's, just in winter as an emergency feed...not usually bags of sugar. Fondant that is commercially produced is not the same as the fondant which some make at home...it is not heated to the high temperatures of the home produced stuff. Peter Edwards and many other commercial beekeepers have been feeding fondant,and fondant only for well over ten years now.
 

Finman 

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So, to have you elaborate further PH. I suspect that the use of candy (wet sugar) was promoted at a time before fondant had become a popular way of feeding bees in the depths of winter.

So the question, based upon your many years of experience - When did fondant first start becoming a common source of feeding and when did it become accepted as mainstream?

Perhaps Finman could answer similar questions so we can guage the difference in the years when these things became popular.
in Finland no one feed fondant in winter. Bees need water to dilute it. At leats bees became very thirsty. Our bees can not come out between October and March. Our bees are in peace under snow . In insulated boxes they manage well to Mach up to cleansing flight. Then it is hurry to weight with hand if some hive is light.

The best way is too feed hives full of syrup in time that bees can cap it.

Our people feed fondant in spring. They believe that it accelerate brooding. But it does not. Only pollen patty do that.

50 years ago when I started beekeeping "advanced beeks" feeded honey + dust sugar patty to hives via 10 x 10 cm opening which had a mesh. I made those holes too but aways bees stucked the mesh with resin.

I have never used fondant. Bees have food over winter without it.

If my hives are light in spring i take capped frames from another hives which have too much food. in urgent cases I pour strong syrup into combs.

Mostly I have problems to get to end the winter food before honey yield start to come in.

Fondant is expencive. Sugar I get from Lidl.
 
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Finman 

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, in winter and in spring. When bees need winter feeding, they do not feed or do they?

Bees have a system that they gather stores for bad season. That is natural system to survive. No one feed them before next yield season.
Our non yield season is 8 months.

Do bees have better conditions in tree trunk than in human master piece in beehive? Why human cannot make as good hive as a tree trunk?

Oo, don't forget to give Christmas dinner to bees. But I will not touch or even look them.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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The cost of fondant is not much more than sugar in the uk,and works out cheaper than sugar, if you take into account the time and cost of preparing the sugar syrup,...and the cost of the feeders to feed the syrup.

Hope your bee's are all well fed for winter Finman.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Why fondant?

* No mixing or preparation.
* Easily transported.
* Easy to feed at any time, so useful for emergencies.
* Can feed around 100 colonies easily in a day.
* No need to feed by mid-September, so no conflict with going to the heather.
* Feeding fondant later allows brood rearing to continue into the autumn, whereas feeding syrup will often fill all the brood area and stop the queen from laying. Young bees are essential for good wintering.
* No need to overfeed in the autumn as it is easy to top-up colonies in winter or early spring.
* Very little work for the bees - no processing of sugar syrup.
* No fermentation of under-ripe stores.
* Fits in well with varroa management using thymol
* No leaks or spills, so no robbing .
* Can feed with supers still on the hive. If the supers are then left on until the first frosts, there will be no waxmoth damage and no need for preventative treatment against waxmoth.
 

keithgrimes 

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Why fondant?

* No mixing or preparation.
* Easily transported.
* Easy to feed at any time, so useful for emergencies.
* Can feed around 100 colonies easily in a day.
* No need to feed by mid-September, so no conflict with going to the heather.
* Feeding fondant later allows brood rearing to continue into the autumn, whereas feeding syrup will often fill all the brood area and stop the queen from laying. Young bees are essential for good wintering.
* No need to overfeed in the autumn as it is easy to top-up colonies in winter or early spring.
* Very little work for the bees - no processing of sugar syrup.
* No fermentation of under-ripe stores.
* Fits in well with varroa management using thymol
* No leaks or spills, so no robbing .
* Can feed with supers still on the hive. If the supers are then left on until the first frosts, there will be no waxmoth damage and no need for preventative treatment against waxmoth.
I may have this completely wrong but I understood that fondant contains sucrose, fructose and glucose, a better balance for the bees. ??
 

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