I have heard several mention about feeding a bakery/pastry product called "fondant" to bees. Comes in bulk and can be sliced and placed on the top bars for feeding. Sounded interesting. After many phone calls, the only place that had any, wanted $85 dollars for 15 pounds. If it costs that I'll feed back honey to the bees. Does anyone else use or has bought this product? I called several bakeries and food broker distributors. Is this an outragous price or is this about correct? Or should I keep calling in hopes to finding it at a better price? And is there a better way of going about this? (other sources or contacts?)
If the bees had a mediocre year and didn't produce the honey they need, feeding fondant may be a valuable option. Cold weather imposes challenges on bees having to rely on sugar syrup; the syrup often stimulates brood rearing which could be detrimental to the hive, especially when there're on the verge of starvation. Sugar syrup is also difficult to reduce or evaporate during cold weather.
Fondant, if there is available moisture, can be consumed in the very depths of winter without much effort. The fondant is also easy to make, cleanup, and store.
Bring a quart of water to a boil in a medium to large pot. Turn off the heat and add five pounds granulated sugar, stirring constantly. When dissolved, bring water back to a boil and keep stirring. Use a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to 260-270 degrees (hard ball candy state). Don't burn the sugar. Pour the mixture into molds (cookie sheet lined with wax paper works well). When cooled and set, break into convenient-sized pieces and store in freezer, between wax paper sheets until needed. (Adapted from Beekeeping, A Practical Guide, by Dick Bonney.)
A Larger Recipe:
15 pounds granulated sugar
3 pounds corn syrup
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Prepare in the same manner as the smaller recipe only use a larger pot.
Simply place a cake of fondant on the top of the frames closest to the main cluster of bees. A super or a one-inch wooden rim should be put in place to allow room for the fondant and bees. A six-pound cake may last 10-15 days if the colony is large. <
Antero, what is the consistency of the finished fondant? I made the upper recipe and it turned out to be one thin sheet of hard solid sugar.
I expected it to be more like hard frosting on a cake. I did not use it. I melted it down with hot water and fed it in baggies to the hives.