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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,758

    Default Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    For "emergency" or insurance feeding I have always used baker's fondant but I know many use the "MountainCamp" / Johansson method.

    To avoid breaking the inner covers loose why not simply place bags of sugar directly over the opening in the inner covers.

    The bags could be prepared by setting the bags of sugar onto trays containing a small amount of water. The water would moisten the sugar at the bottom of the bags, and after several days ( or longer) of drying the bags of sugar could be used. The bag would be cut open on the hardened bottom and placed over the inner covers.

    I see a few advantages:

    1. The propolis seal of the inner cover remains intact

    2. There is less paper introduced into the hive

    3. Some moisture may permeate out through the mass of sugar

    4. Unused sugar could be used to make syrup in the Spring

    5. Sugar can be replenished without opening the hive

    I would suspect that it would be sufficient to saturate perhaps the bottom inch of the bag of sugar with water, and then allow it to dry on a flat surface. In use, I believe enough moisture will be available to prevent the sugar "ceiling" from breaking open, and dumping the sugar into the hive. Otherwise, one could saturate the entire bag of sugar and be certain that the sugar won't pour down...

    This would eliminate the work and energy cost associated with making candy boards or sugar bricks.
    Last edited by BeeCurious; 10-18-2012 at 08:51 AM. Reason: typo
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    2,491

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    It might work, but you'd need a medium or larger empty to cover the sugar. The other issue I see is that the bees have limited access to the sugar from the hole in the IC vs a much large area in the MC method.........

    The MC method does eliminate the work & energy of candy boards/bricks......

    Try it and let us know.........
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,758

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    The bees have even more limited access when feeding from some nail holes in a jar lid, or from one of Randy Oliver's feeders using soldered inserts:


    The MC method does eliminate the work & energy of candy boards/bricks......
    Yes, and it also eliminates the airtight seal of the inner cover.
    BeeCurious
    5 hives and 8 nucs................... Trying to think inside the box...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    734

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Did some experimenting feeding on the upper side of an inner cover. Have a 2 1/2 inch feeder rim. The center hole in my inner covers is 3 1/2 inch in diameter.

    Placed 4 inch squares of block candy around the perimeter of the center hole. Cluster would move up through the hole and work on the blocks some 75% of the time. In cold weather, the bees were down below.

    Had 2 inch insulation on three sides of hive and then black paper aound. Thinking of adding 3/4 inch on front side this winter. Bought a $7 thermometer c/w humidty meter and placed it beside the blocks for my curiousity.

    The notch in the inner cover was down and open and also had a 3/4 inch round hole in front side of feeder rim.

    This configuration has minimal impact on hive temp and good for curious bee keeper.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Manning, SC
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    2,491

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    The bees have even more limited access when feeding from some nail holes in a jar lid, or from one of Randy Oliver's feeders using soldered inserts:
    I agree, but they are taking in syrup vs hard sugar..... Again, try it and let us know.....
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the Varrox Mite Killing
    OA Vaporizer "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  6. #6

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    My bees are very fussy, I tried dry sugar and moist .. It's not working, they need the feed but throwing sugar crystals outside the hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,572

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Best to have a solid mass of sugar in contact with the cluster for emergency feeding. They cannot access the syrup that forms otherwise (they do not consume solid sugar, only syrup) when it's cold.

    Mountain camp (dry sugar on top of a sheet of newspaper sitting on the top bars) works fine IF the sugar is misted with water to keep it solid long enough for the humidity in the hive to start to melt it. Otherwise, the bees simply carry it out as trash.

    They simply cannot use the sugar above the inner cover when it's below 45 F inside the hive, since they will be clustered and won't be in contact with it. When the feed is sitting on the top bars, they can cluster ON it, and feed from it while still clustered. Much better.

    Bees will cheerfully eat fondant, dry sugar, sugar bricks, whatever up on the top of the inner cover any time it's warm enough for them to move there, but they really need it accessible when clustered if they are that short on stores.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    >Best to have a solid mass of sugar in contact with the cluster for emergency feeding.

    And that's why I would put it on the top bars rather than the inner cover.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,594

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    Yes, and it also eliminates the airtight seal of the inner cover.
    Does that really matter so much?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Best to have a solid mass of sugar in contact with the cluster for emergency feeding.

    And that's why I would put it on the top bars rather than the inner cover.
    Me, too. And in addition to spraying or misting with water only, I mixed in a little HBH so maybe they'd like it a little more.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    4,416

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    I've never had a problem with them throwing it out or not eating it when placed on damp newspaper on the top bars. I carry a spray bottle of water when I install sugar tops, dampen the newspaper, pour the sugar, then lightly mist the pile to crust it over. I have also had nice buildups on it in Jan-Mar, so I don't consider it just emergency feeding.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Thanks for that, I'm going to try your method. It's easier than making fondant and the use of corn syrup. Someone recommended adding lemongrass and tea tree oil to the sugar! I haven't tried that yet

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Essential oils will not only disrupt the microbes but tend to set off massive robbing...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Thanks Michael, many have even recommended wintergreen and tea tree oil to help control varroa.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Placing it on the top bars over newspaper, -- eventually a considerable portion of the sugar falls between the frames onto the screen bottom board, to the ground and causes a major ant problem in the spring. Been there done that (1 season) . Far better to place the sugar onto the inner cover, moisture from the bees permeates the sugar keeping it in place and allows for them to consume it readily. Leftover sugar can easily be collected in the spring for use in sugar syrup. No waste, no extra problems (ants), no propolis seal broken, no bothering of the winter cluster, etc. (49 seasons). Sometimes when something works well... OMTCW

  16. #16
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    Nov 2008
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    Farmington, NM
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Best to have a solid mass of sugar in contact with the cluster for emergency feeding.

    And that's why I would put it on the top bars rather than the inner cover.
    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    Best to have a solid mass of sugar in contact with the cluster for emergency feeding. They cannot access the syrup that forms otherwise (they do not consume solid sugar, only syrup) when it's cold.

    Mountain camp (dry sugar on top of a sheet of newspaper sitting on the top bars) works fine IF the sugar is misted with water to keep it solid long enough for the humidity in the hive to start to melt it. Otherwise, the bees simply carry it out as trash.

    They simply cannot use the sugar above the inner cover when it's below 45 F inside the hive, since they will be clustered and won't be in contact with it. When the feed is sitting on the top bars, they can cluster ON it, and feed from it while still clustered. Much better.

    Bees will cheerfully eat fondant, dry sugar, sugar bricks, whatever up on the top of the inner cover any time it's warm enough for them to move there, but they really need it accessible when clustered if they are that short on stores.

    Peter
    Has always worked for me.
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
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  17. #17
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    >Placing it on the top bars over newspaper, -- eventually a considerable portion of the sugar falls between the frames onto the screen bottom board, to the ground and causes a major ant problem in the spring.

    Not if you get it damp and make it clump.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    What is the technique for making it clump? Spray it in layers on a cookie sheet maybe?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    >What is the technique for making it clump?

    I put a thin layer of sugar on 1/2" to 2" (it's not rocket surgery) and spray some water on it until it's damp. Add another 1/2" to 2" and repeat. Once winter sets in the humidity from the bees' respiration will clump it further. It will be a rock come spring.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20

    Default Re: Feeding sugar from the bag, over inner cover, as some do with fondant...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What is the technique for making it clump?

    I put a thin layer of sugar on 1/2" to 2" (it's not rocket surgery) and spray some water on it until it's damp. Add another 1/2" to 2" and repeat. Once winter sets in the humidity from the bees' respiration will clump it further. It will be a rock come spring.
    If there's any sugar left, you can still make syrup with it if you want to.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

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