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Fondant

 
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rendauphin
House Bee


Joined: 28 Sep 2011
Posts: 15
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....
Thanks
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

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

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.

Regards

Barbara
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
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
Colin
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