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Thread: winter feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Libertytown, MD, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default winter feeding

    Has anyone here ever tried pouring fondant onto unused plastic frames? I don't have enough frames of honey to fill a second deep. Thought I might try to make up the difference this way. Any thoughts? I'm thinking I might run into issues trying to fill the second side. Maybe I'm just being stupid. So, go easy please.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: winter feeding

    Never tried it, but it sound like a possibly good idea. I'd like to hear what other think. Subscribed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: winter feeding

    More trouble than its worth.
    Hard to improve on the simplicity of the MountainCamp method.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    732

    Default Re: winter feeding

    I just poured ~12 pounds of fondant into one of my wooden foundationless frames. I have one outside frame the bees did not finish drawing out in one upper box that will be replaced by the fondant frame. I am still feeding fondant on top of the frames but it will shortly be too cold here for them to go up. Making fondant is time consuming compared to feeding loose sugar but it is concentrated and the bees could even cluster on it. I'll tell you in the spring if it worked!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: winter feeding

    Fondant or dry sugar should be considered emergency feed, I would not plan to put them on a hive as a regular course of events. You should have hives with plenty of stores, and if not, should have fed them up last month rather than depend on candy in the winter.

    That said, things don't always work out right, and it's far better to feed in winter with fondant than lose the bees. I prefer a candy board on top -- worst case they won't use it and it just sits there all winter (some of it will melt and drip into the hive, but the bees will eat that), and if they need it because they ran out of stores, the cluster will be right up against the food and won't have to break cluster to get it. If the fondant in a frame is off to the side, they may starve because they can't move over to get to it in really cold weather.

    Remember that in a typical feral hive, the bees will have chosen a cavity with a bottom entrance that is more or less solid above, and the brood combs will be in the center starting at the top. Typically the combs are not flat, and the curve of the comb often faces away from the entrance, so the heat from the cluster will be trapped at the top of the hive. No problem to work out to the outer combs since it stays much warmer than a hive with a single sheet of plywood between the top of the hive and sub-zero cold. In a Lang or TBH, it's too cold inside for the cluster to move in really cold weather.

    Good luck!

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: winter feeding

    I agree with Peter - I've been feeding up a couple of late swarms, and am getting ready to tuck everybody in for the winter. In January, I'll tilt the lids and see if the cluster is getting to the top. If I can see them, I'll add a chunk of sugar - I sortve bastardize the mountain camp, and mix up a hard candy, but don't get it too hot. I pour it out on butcher paper and let it cool in a 1/2 or so sheet. It sets up sortve like a sugar cube, and I'll slip a big chunk under the inner cover. No shims or spacers needed, and if they eat it up, I slide in more.

    My situation may be a little different than yours - we battle a constant freeze-thaw, and the rain-snow that goes with it. I can always find a day here and there where conditions are good enough to pop the tops briefly.

    I've seen "candy frames" like you describe, but I think the candy board approach makes more sense - if they reach the top, and are out of foot, they can utilize the emergency sugar, if not, it goes into the pot for 1:1 in the spring!

    Always a good discussion to have this time of year!

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