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  1. #1

    Default Which is better Sugar or Fondant?

    I am going to begin some mid-winter feeding to ensure the colonies make it through winter. My question is should I put granulated sugar in the hive, or is fondant a better solution? I have found an easy recipie for marshmallow fondant (Marshmalows and powdered sugar) and thought I would try this since I can make it as thick or thin as I need.

    THank you for all of your help!

    Oooh, thought of something else to. Since there is oil added to this recipie to make the fondant, I could add some essential oils to the mix also? Hmmmm Healthy Bee Fondant! Anyone think this will work?
    Last edited by Hill's Hivery; 01-06-2008 at 01:09 PM.
    If you see me runnin' you'd better keep up!
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  2. #2
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    Default

    I have never feed fondant to a colony, so my answer is one sided. That said,

    Most know how I set my hives for winter. Empty box, with granular sugar on paper, then the inner and out cover on top. i have been doing this for quite sometime and it works very well for me. I have heard from a number of others who have tried and they have liked it and it work well for them.

    Why granular sugar vs. fondant?
    #1) Cost
    #2) Easy to use, no prep required.
    #3) Easy to store
    #4) Absorbs moisture within a winter hive, keeps condensate from falling back on to the cluster
    #5) The cluster can use it as a group

    http://www.mountaincampfarm.com/wst_page5.php

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MountainCamp View Post
    "...I have heard from a number of others who have tried and they have liked it and it work well for them..."
    My first year of using the Mountaincamp method of sugaring, but so far, so good. Lost one late season combine of two late August swarms, otherwise the hives are doing well. Monday it's supposed to be 50 here and so, I'll watch them fly and see how they're doing...

  4. #4
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    Default

    I’m with MountainCamp all the way. Be careful feeding marshmallows or powder sugar to your bees. There is stuff in these products that is not easily digested by your bees and cause you and outbreak of dysentery, especially in northern climates when the bees go long periods of time without being able to take cleansing flights. Stick to pure cane or beet sugar.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  5. #5
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    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
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    Marshmallow?

    Geez! Definitely not! A major component of man-made marshmallows is corn starch, which as most everyone knows is not good for bees. It will "bind them up" and cause dysentary in your hive. In short, they can't digest it, and that's not something you want in emergency feed, is it?

    This year, I'm also following MountainCamp's suggestion. And, likewise, so far so good. The moisture naturally occurring in the hive has caused the sugar to harden into a block and has appeared to be successful in keeping condensation from dripping on to the cluster. I remain hopeful that the weather breaks, and the bees have enough honey stored, before they chimney all the way up to the sugar, but it's nice to know it's there just in case.

    BDDS

  6. #6

    Default

    Ok, you all have talked me into Mountaincamp's idea. Do you have to be really careful on when you remove the empty super? I don't want to be digging out burr comb this spring!

    Thank you all for your input! I never thought about the cornstarch in the marshmallows. I guess I didn't realize it was so bad for the girls!
    If you see me runnin' you'd better keep up!
    http://hillshivery.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    They will not start building burr comb until there is a strong spring flow and they need the "extra" space. By then you will have removed the empty super, any remaining sugar, and placed your supers.

    Worst case is if you left everything way too long, you scrape the bar tops. But, you will see them starting to build up from the bars and you can react.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I've just begun to use MountainCamp's approach and I will mention one thing
    I have 2 hives that failed to build up much last summer, probably due to a severe drought
    the top box on both only got partially drawn and contained no stores
    when I put sugar on top of the top box it acted as kind of a barrier between the bees and the sugar, they were reluctant to leave their stores to get to the sugar
    of course the solution was simply to remove that empty box to get the sugar down next to the cluster but I thought I'd mention it just the same

    Dave

  9. #9
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  10. #10
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    Default

    WVbeeker, nice post Thank You very much Tony

  11. #11
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    Winston Salem , NC
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    Default Icing

    What is the recipe for the icing? Thanks WVA Bee Keeper
    larry

  12. #12
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    wvbeek

    your blog reminded me of what I did last year
    I had some honey supercell I wanted to introduce the following spring so I layed it on its side and poured dry sugar in the cells
    then wetted down with a spray bottle
    put a box of that on top of a hive
    you could do the same with drawn wax
    kind of an instant frame of honey to give em
    in my case it also served to introduce the plastic into the hive
    I still have some HSC around, may have to try that again, it worked last year

    Dave

  13. #13
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    An easy way to feed in a frame is to lay the frame flat, pour granular sugar on it, level the sugar with the cells, spray / mist with water. Let the sugar soak up the liquid, NOT TOO MUCH misting.
    Let sit for a few minutes, turn frame over and do the same to the other side.
    DON'T bang or handle the frames rough while drying and setting.

  14. #14
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    LT, sent you a PM.

    Drobbins, I've had swarms leave hives before after catching them and putting them in there. Now when I hive a swarm I'll usually spray all the frames and foundation with sugar syrup. You could probably spray the HSC with sugar syrup to help with acceptance as well.

  15. #15
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    WV

    I'm sure that would accomplish the same thing
    I just got it to serve the dual purpose of feeding and introduction at the same time
    I sitting here loading up some more like that right now
    wish I had thought to do it before a lost a hive in that cold snap last week:mad:

    Dave

  16. #16

    Default

    Great blog wvbeekeeper, Thanks!

    MM Fondant:
    16 oz bag of mini mallows, 2 lb bag of powdered sugar, little water, lot of crisco!
    Melt mallows in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of water. Crisco the countertop like crazy. Dump the mallows onto the countertop and crisco up your hands. Pour the powdered sugar onto the mallow and nead like dough. If it starts to seperate/break add a little water. Keep everything lubed so it doesn't stick. After getting it to a doughy consistency your done. I used a little to much crisco at the end and, but it turned out ok.

    I guess since I am going to feed sugar instead, now I need to bake a cake to use all that fondant I made!
    Darn The Bad Luck!!!!
    If you see me runnin' you'd better keep up!
    http://hillshivery.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
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    Default

    I use fondant.

    I find dry sugar being used by bees only as a last resort. I find that bees on days when it does warm up, will do little with the dry sugar, and for those bees not in direct contact with it, will ignore it, many times too late.

    The fondant is processed and moved almost continually as long as the bees can get to it. On warm days, they will move some of it down around the cluster. And so sometimes direct contact is not needed for benefit throughout the winter.

    Here is a picture of a nuc I started feeding, and shows the paper plates I use.

    On poor ventilated hives, using paper plates, or tops of shoe boxes, helps with water issues.

    http://s186.photobucket.com/albums/x...ictures029.jpg

    I opened alot of tops to nucs and hives being fed dry sugar, and never seen bees feeding like the above picture.

  18. #18
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    BjornBee:
    Great picture, how do you make your Fondant. The method I have used is pour sugar in a large bowl pour in luke warm water and nead until I can make a patty out of it, then I press it between wax pater to keep it together until I can introduce it to the hive.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  19. #19
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    Vienna,Maine,USA
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    Default

    Ive not tried fondant yet.

    This sugar is right over the cluster on a single deep.

    The bees are eating it well and i think its helping keep the condensation down.

    http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/j...9/DSC00011.jpg

  20. #20
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    My experience with feeding granular sugar over the last 10 years or so has been that they will and do work it well.
    As with all of beekeeping time and location play heavily into how things work.
    Granular sugar is “viewed” and used as granular honey would be. They liquefy it, move it, store it, or use it.
    The granular sugar absorbs moisture from the winter hive. Wetting the paper and sprinkling a little water on the sugar to wet the edges, will jump start a slow hive.
    This year I went into winter with 30 colonies. Since the end of October they have used / consumed / moved / stored almost 1,000 lbs of granular sugar.
    So far this winter, all hives are still going and they made a real mess of the snow over the last (2) days.

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