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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    165

    Question Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Feeding dry sugar is considered an "emergency feed" and prefered over feeding fondant. Other than texture and the inclusion of some invert sugar in the fondant, they would seem to be very similar. Is there any other reason that fondant is prefered?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,662

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    I prefer fondant because I can place it over the escape holes of inner covers. I don't crack the seals on my hives until the first inspection in March.

    Any leftover fondant can be easily bagged up and saved for next year.

    BTW, I have top entrances...

    A big drawback is price.
    Last edited by BeeCurious; 02-20-2011 at 09:19 AM. Reason: typo
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lorain County, OH USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    I make my own fondant and let it get somewhat dry. I make it into 1/2 thin sheets and break off pieces that I can put right on the top bars. In the Spring, I mix the leftover fondant with water and feed it as syrup. Fondant, in my opinion, is much more versatile than grandulated sugar all by itself. But fondant is more work and time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,662

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Propet12,

    It sounds like you are making candy.

    Baker's fondant is not hard...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Puxico,Mo, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Prophet12
    how do you make your fondant? I found so many different recipes it made my head hurt. i tried 2 different ones that did not work-they got too hard when cooked and they were supposed to be fondant recipes. the last batch got hard after it cooled too and I know I did not cook it too long.
    I have not thrown any of it out- I was wondering if I could dissolve it in water and feed it back to the bees this summer even though it has been cooked.

    I put dry sugar and pieces of the last batch of "candy" on top of the hives and the bees have been eating from both.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lorain County, OH USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    Propet12,

    It sounds like you are making candy.

    Baker's fondant is not hard...
    I didn't say "hard", I said somewhat dry. Fondant will dry out and become crumbly in about a week or so of air drying. I also reduce the amount of corn syrup in my recipe (sugar, water, and corn syrup (or glucose, or cream of tarter)). I've also made hard candy; I prefer, and believe the bees are better able to utilize the fondant.

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Beekeep...dant_Bee_Candy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    I find that a lot of people call fondant hard candy and hard candy fontant. We know they are two different things.

    I have hard candy board on my last surviving hive. I prefer that over dumping sugar in the hive because most fall down and through the SBB and second the bees hate getting dumped on.

    The candy board is controlled and seems to agree with the bees natural progression upward in winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Lorain County, OH USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Quote Originally Posted by slwethrs View Post
    Prophet12
    how do you make your fondant? I found so many different recipes it made my head hurt. i tried 2 different ones that did not work-they got too hard when cooked and they were supposed to be fondant recipes. the last batch got hard after it cooled too and I know I did not cook it too long.
    I have not thrown any of it out- I was wondering if I could dissolve it in water and feed it back to the bees this summer even though it has been cooked.

    I put dry sugar and pieces of the last batch of "candy" on top of the hives and the bees have been eating from both.
    The temps are critical, and unless your thermometer is accurate you'll have to experiment to get the right temps. I had a tough time getting the hang of it too. Be sure to let the mixture cool before mixing air into it. As long as you didn't burn it, you can mix with water and reuse it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    The thing about dry sugar is they toss some of it out the front entrance. Normally I consider bees to be pretty smart but that would be like me throwing cans of beer out the front door. I still use dry sugar because my time is limited and making fondant or candy is a messy, time consuming pain in the... I have been really happy with my 1.5" rims that allow for patties below and sugar above. I just couldn't believe how fast the bees consumed the stuff. On the other hand, Conners and others have suggested that weak hives don't do as well on dry feed.
    My goal this year is to not have weak hives. I'm determined to catch the weak ones really early this season and requeen, feed, swap frames, or whatever, to get them strong and equal. I also plan to harvest really early and treat for mites early to allow the bees to build up good stores so I am not having this conversation next year. Hopefully an August extraction and subsequent placement in rabbit brush will limit the amount of help the bees need during the cold season. Good intentions anyways.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    You need to slightly wet the sugar (a sprayer with water works well and sprinkling water with a dipper or anything will work in a pinch). That way they see it as food (wet sugar is hard to miss as food as opposed to dry sugar which could be seen as trash). Also this makes it clump so it's harder to haul out, and clump so it doesn't run down into the hive when they chew through the newspaper.

    Other than that the difference is that fondant is a lot of work. You can bag the unused sugar... I just dump it into buckets and feed it next year...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Puxico,Mo, USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    Well, I will try to make it again next year. Glad to know I do not have to throw out the unsuccessful batches. That is a lot of sugar to waste. I did not burn any of it, but I know one batch cooked to the hard ball stage, but the others did not, they just got too hard. Maybe the temps. not right-could be why my fudge does not turn out any more either.

    I had found the link you had posted, but I also found so many other recipes for fondant, they all have different amounts of water and sugar. I will book mark that one and use that recipe for next year and keep trying till I get it right.

    I did put dry sugar on top of newspapers to feed-but I sprayed it well with water which made it clump together. Must be why they are eating it instead of throwing it out. But it sure did make a mess on the bottom board where some dropped to the bottom of the box.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    165

    Exclamation Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    I have been adding a small amount (5% of volume) of fructose to the dry sugar I place on top of the inner cover. The fructose absorbs moisture from the air and causes it to cake, thus preventing it from flowing out of the hive. I also spray the pile of dry sugar with a light spray of sugar water and Honey Bee Healthy. The whole process takes MUCH less time than making fondant. It would seem that if the main problem of using dry sugar vs. fondant is the loss through the screen bottom board and entrance, then if you prevented this, the dry sugar would be the better choice.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Green,Wisconsin,USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Fondant vs. dry sugar

    This is the first year we've tried fondant. Going into winter, we put a 2" shim on top of the top brood box (we run 2 deeps) so there'd be space to feed dry sugar on a warm day. Problem is, no warm day came that would let you open the hive for any period beyond a few seconds. So we made some fondant cakes, and when the temp hit 40F we cracked the hive quick and slipped them in. So yes, it is more work, but maybe a little more versatile for late winter/early spring feeding.

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