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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Danville, PA
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    23

    Default Candy boards/fondant

    My mentor uses these for the winter. This is my first winter with my bees (in PA). Does anyone have a recipe for making my own? DO I need these this first year? Any pointers or past posts that you could direct me to? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,590

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Which are you interested in making, "candy boards" or "fondant"?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Danville, PA
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    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Whichever is healthier for the bees!

  4. #4
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    2,791

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I think the answer to your question is that both candy boards and fondant are a form of providing emergency feed for the bees, which should not be necessary if the hive was properly prepared for winter. There are times when you check hives in late January and find one almost out of stores. Then you have an emergency on your hands - feed the hive or it will die. Making sugar candy can be messy but if we are talking a hive or two it is the way to go. Bakers' Fondant is available commercially in 50 pound blocks and works well when you have more than a few hives to feed.

    Some people cover the hole in an inner cover and use that as a candy board. Or you can make candy in a mold such as a pie tin and then set the candy directly on the top bars of the hive, just as you would a chunk of fondant. If I were to place fondant or candy this way I would add a rim on top of my box to make room for the fondant/candy.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,590

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I place chunks of fondant over the center opening in the inner covers. Completely covering the hole. Of course an additional box is needed to house the fondant...

    I have the notches down and top entrances drilled into the boxes.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
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    708

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Candy boards are less cooking, but fondant's easier to use IMHO if you have reason to buy it. To make either you really need a cooking/candy thermometer. A candy board is essentially a 1-2" high "box" the same length/width as a hive body (most call this a shim). You seal off the bottom of the shim and mix up water/sugar and cook it to hard ball stage, about 255-265F. Then pour the mixture into the shim and let it cool. It'll set up hard. This is your candy board and can then be put right over the top box of a hive, over or even under the inner cover.

    Making fondant involves doing nearly the same thing except you don't cook it quit as hard (stop at about 240) and you need some corn syrup. You then pour it in a mixer bowl and let it come down to about 200. Then you beat it. As it cools crystals will form but the beating will keep them very tiny. You end up w/a sort of sugar "dough". Chunks of this can then be placed right onto top bars or as has been said, right on the hole in the inner cover. If you have any beekeeping friends that need some fondant and can find a restaurant supply place around, you can order it and split the cost/50lb block up with your friends. Just be sure whatever place orders it for you ensures it only has 3 ingredients: sugar, water, and corn syrup. No flavorings, preservatives, etc. The kind I've used is Dawn Foods Besfond and is a good product.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Danville, PA
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    23

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I do already have an extra empty super that sits on top with my feeder bucket. Temps are dropping and so I think my bucket feeding will be coming to an end. Andrew---when you say "properly prepared for winter" does that mean enough honey stores? My mentor seems to think my bees are in good shape in that regard. I only have one hive and this is my first so I'm trying to sponge up info from all of you! I dont have a candy thermometer but I have done similar projects and can tell the soft-ball stage pretty well. I think I'm probably more of a fan of the fondant route though. I have a friend who makes this but uses marshmallow in hers, I'm guessing this might be a bad choice?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Whitsett, NC
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    489

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Here is an interesting You Tube video for simple candy boards - no cooking.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_WLCc21-Hk
    Just some thoughts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
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    708

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Yeah, I wouldn't use marshmallow fondant. Lots of gelatin and corn starch, neither of which you want to be feeding to bees.

    I like that video...basically just making candy board sized sugar bricks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
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    181

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    With only two years experience, take my advice cautiously!

    About once per month, I go through and pop the tops - find a good day to do it, and be quick. If the bees are up in the top portion of the top box, add some emergency feed. I make a fairly granular candy and pour it out thinly, so it will slide under the inner cover, atop the bars. You will be able to see if they've been at it on your next exam, and can add more as needed!

    I end up feeding through extended rainy periods in the spring, because population starts to increase, and food consumtion goes up with warmer temps, and they simply can't get out to forage.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    2,791

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Quote Originally Posted by solstice View Post
    Andrew---when you say "properly prepared for winter" does that mean enough honey stores? My mentor seems to think my bees are in good shape in that regard. I only have one hive and this is my first so I'm trying to sponge up info from all of you!
    Properly prepared means that the bee have enough honey and pollen to last them until nectar and pollen are available naturally in the spring. Feeding during the winter should not be necessary.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
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    445

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I use dry sugar instead of candy boards or fondant. To me it seems sugar would take less time and work as well as being cheaper to use. My question what do others think of one method over the others?
    Dave

  13. #13
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    May 2010
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    Stevenson, Washington, USA
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    181

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I like my thin cake method because it allows for moisture absorbtion, but I don't need a shim or newspaper to hold it. In the spring, whatever isn't used gets swept off - no extra equipment needed. It's completely exposed underneath the inner cover, allowing full access by the cluster, and re-supplying takes seconds.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    SNOW SHOE PA USA
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    1,217

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burrup View Post
    I use dry sugar instead of candy boards or fondant. To me it seems sugar would take less time and work as well as being cheaper to use. My question what do others think of one method over the others?
    Dave
    I'm with you it works great and it takes moisture out of the hive and my bee did well last year with stright up suger as a back up keeps them happy.IMGP3115.jpg
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  15. #15
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    Jan 2012
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    Roy, Wa
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    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    This is what I am doing this year for hives that had eaten some of their stores, due to our warmer than normal fall and are now a bit on the light side. (I diid feed syrup earlier this fall until they no longer took it up. They were of satisfactory weight at that time)
    We are well into November and it is too late to feed syrup. Time to switch to a dryer sugar mixture. I can add these sugar blocks anytime..they probably will not bee needed for a few ...months, but I want to have them ready to install on a day it is warm and not raining. I have not fed sugar before and will experiment with several methods.( I have tried to make fondant and candy..I'm done with all that mess. I can not find anyone around here that sells fondant)

    I JUST made these-so I may tweak my recipe a bit to get it the right density..I'll know in a few days it if it drys and hardens enough to be stable.
    (Yes, I use this much cider vinegar in my protein patties,. They love it. That much of the recipe I am sure of.)

    Heres my top screened inner cover. Note the depth on each side. Top is deep enough for 2" insulation, bottom side is deep enough for feeding or patties



    Insert foam insulation in the deep side



    Flip over-now you see the bottom of the insulation under the screen.



    Fill wth sugar mixture.
    My recipe is:
    25 # of sugar and about a quart of cold cider vinegar.
    1/2 tsp of electrolites with vitamins and a splash of Mann Lake Pro Health or other essential oil of choice. I used Lemongrass oil.

    Mix 1/3 of the sugar and 1/3 of the vinegar with mixer paddle, keep adding and mixing until the full 25 # of sugar and the quart of vinegar (along with oils and electrolytes) are thoroughly mixed. It should be a soft moist crumbly mix, Not melted or runny!



    Take a rolling pin and compact the mix into the frame.Nice and smooth and flat




    Let it set in a warm dry place a few days to harden. When you compact it into the screened frame, some will squish out a bit through the screen( up against the foam) and will harden, helping to keep the whole mess secure inside the frame. If it is not as stable as I want, I can just put a queen excluder over the frame to hold it in.



    INVERT this inner cover/feeder onto your hive. The hole you see here is the upper entrance/ventilation hole. I'll post photos in a few days of placing it on a hive.

    Last edited by Lauri; 11-05-2012 at 07:52 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lincoln County, Maine, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    Nichols747: When you say, "If the bees are up in the top portion of the top box," are you referring to the cluster? Or do you mean, if there are any bees showing at the top of the frames?

    This will be my first winter with bees, and I am just trying to get a sense of what other folks do.

    Many thanks,
    mainubeek
    Midcoast Maine / Zone 5b

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
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    181

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    For me, it's usually not the cluster - it's cool and rainy, springtime, and it's warm enought to break cluster, but too rainy to fly/forage. I usually see them spread over the tips of the middle five frames or so. I wouldn't really call it a cluster, because they're starting to raise brood.

    The ones who don't need it are more obvious - they aren't crowding the tops of the frames and you can see capped honey in the top frames...

    If I see them at the top, I put some sugar-cake on, and if they eat it, I keep feeding it!

    Good luck!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    I have used blocks of Baker's Fondant for "insurance" feeding but this year I will also be using granulated sugar. I have started to prepare 10 pound bags of sugar to place over the center openings of the inner covers.



    Two cups of water can be absorbed by a 10 lb bag of sugar, permitting it to harden when dry (I'll use one cup on the next ones). Three cups of water will make a mess. I suspect that a special solution could be used to saturate the sugar if desired.

    The idea is to have a solid sugar layer that can be placed over the opening in the inner covers. I do need to place a box on top to house the sugar but I avoid building and storing additional material that serves a single purpose, and I don't need to open the hive to replenish if needed. In the Spring, any remaining sugar can be used in syrup.

    Since granulated sugar in a box or bag is not "fondant" nor "candy" perhaps a new name is needed that better represents the feeding devices. Lauri may have a name for her "Sugar Box". For my low-tech, low cost alternative, I'll call it "A Bag of Sugar"...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    BeeCurious, I like it! I still have some candy boards left over from last year and when I needed another inner cover I broke the sugar out of some. The ones that I left I was always fighting ants on. As for Maine’s question I had a hive that just ate the center out of the candy board and would not move to the edges and did not make it. I also screwed up and added a super to get the maple and they would not move up to the candy. Poor decisions make the best stories, and do I have stories!
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: Candy boards/fondant

    This work for me (no cooking)and if you like Pollen patty (optiona)

    http://www.beverlybees.com/i-want-ca...inter-feeding/


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Last edited by Jim 134; 11-12-2012 at 04:56 PM.
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

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