Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.

Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.


Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
House Bee

Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Posts: 16
Location: United Kingdom, Dorset, Bridport

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:18 am    Post subject: Fondant Reply with quote

I have a weakish colony and wonder about the pros and cons of leaving a tray of fondant for them over the winter. I am generally confused about feeding fondant....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am generally confused about feeding fondant....

Me too..... never done it before in 19 years of beekeeping. Much better, in my opinion, to start feeding them some thick (2:1) syrup now if you feel they are weak, so that they can store it where they want it than try to place fondant where you think they may need it or have to open the hive in winter to put it next to them.

I'm sure others will have different opinions though.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Scout Bee

Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 407
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a weak colony, then you need to keep the brood areas open in order that they can raise several cycles of brood between now and the onset of cold weather. So - a small amount of syrup - enough to reduce the amount of nectar foraging required (they still need to forage for pollen) is not a bad idea - but don't overdo it, else they'll fill the brood areas and then have lots of stores, but small numbers of bees. Because of the nectar dearth which exists in this area from August onwards, at this time of the year I feed all nucleus colonies with a small inverted jar of 2:1(ish) every 2 to 3 days - ALWAYS last thing in the evening after flying is over for the day.

In my apiary, every single colony (regardless of size) is given either a small inverted jar of damp-set granulated sugar, or a similar inverted jar of fondant over a crown board feed hole around the 1st of February, or the 1st of January if the winter has been exceptionally mild, and covered with around 3" of insulation. I consider this to be cheap insurance against the risk of spring starvation. If the bees don't need it, they won't take it, and the unused feed can be recovered just as soon as the spring flow begins. I view these jars as being 'fuel-gauges' - in the same way as a petrol gauge is used in a car. I inspect all jars once a week during the late winter/early spring simply by lifting off the roof and the insulation. With the jars being transparent, the contents are obvious, and the insulation and roof can be replaced within a few seconds. The hive itself is never opened.

Despite the large number of hives I currently run here, losses due to starvation have been zero since I adopted this protocol.
Hope this helps
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Beginners start here All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')

Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?

Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!


(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Fondant - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum