Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any suggestions to help the bees fill up their stores this time of year? Seems like it has become too cold for them to venture out of their ball and into miller-type feeders (maximum 5°C, 41°F, these days), but a quick peek seemed to suggest that the stores were low... Is there anything that can be done?

And what would you reckon are sufficient stores to go through winter? What about for carnies or russians, which are said to be more frugal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
721 Posts
Feeder on the inside cover over the hole with a empty box around it seems to work here. They will use it until the temps drop down to cluster time and when it warms up during the day. Otherwise, sugar on the inside cover.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,025 Posts
An alternative to sugar on the inner cover is to place a sheet of newspaper on top of the frames in the top box and add sugar, then mist it with water to get it clump. Photos here:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#drysugar

David LaFerney's modification is to place some 1/2" hardware cloth under the newspaper to make it easier to lift up the sugar block as a unit if needed.

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,519 Posts
I'd be very cautious relying on sugar above an inner cover. Bees and cluster may not get to it and starve.

Had a 3 1/2 round hole in the center of an inner cover and 15 lbs of sugar on top side and bees never got to it and hive starved!

Far better on top of frames.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,050 Posts
With those temperatures, you will need either dry sugar as mentioned above or a candy board. Bees stop taking syrup when its temperature falls below 50F.

For best wintering results you will need (from my post Fall inspections: Do I need to feed and how much?):
◦135 lbs. for a standard 10 frame double deep with stores taking up 70 lbs. Alternative configurations for this setup are the 10 frame 3 medium or the 10 frame 4 shallow configuration. This is approximately 10 deep honey frames, 15 medium honey frames or 18 shallow honey frames.
◦95 lbs. for singles with stores taking up 55 lbs. Alternative configurations for this setup are 2 medium boxes or a shallow and a medium. This is approximately 5 and a half deep honey frames, almost 12 medium frames in an all-medium setup, or 10 full shallow frames and 3 and a half mediums.


You will need to make up the difference between the hive weight and the recommended weight with either the dry sugar or the candy board.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
As an insurance for light hives I use a slab of fondant. It works well even with very small colonies.


Two sticks or topbars laid across the topbars ensure the bees moving freely under the fondant packet (beespace), thus allowing access from all combs.


A packet of fondant, wrapped in plastic. This is necessary, since the fondant otherwise would dry out like a rock and couldn't be used by the bees. A square is cut into the bottom of the fondant packet, thus allowing the bees access from below.


Insulate the top (newspaper or something), so the fondant is warmed by the bees. The bees usually walk into the plastic and make use of the condensation water forming inside the bag.

In a winter with lots of activity and brooding there is a much higher consumption of stores. Usually 0.5-1 kg per month would be used, but with brood and thus brood warming it goes up to 4-5 kg per month. So monitor closely and replace the fondant when empty with a warmed slab of fondant.
Bernhard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
What's the advantage of candy over dry sugar? If the sugar absorbs the humidity, would that make it moist enough for the bees to consume?

Also, I've got some spare mesh screen on hand. Could that be used to keep the sugar from spilling all over the hive? Could the bees consume through it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
Done it many times, does work alright if the winter is not so hard. The biggest problem is food. Use fondant!

The right consistency comes from the right wrapping of the fondant.

If you feed from above, the winter cluster sits right below the fondant package. The fondant package is completely wrapped, just a small opening - I do two parallel cuts.

The bees eat their way up.


Here you see that the warmth is rising into the bag and the air's humidity (bee's breath) collects at the upper wrapping.


So they can eat and drink inside the bag. The sugar draws water vapor, too. Which is a problem if unwrapped. Because it is too sticky first and then it drys up like a rock. Doesn't happen with a decent wrapping.


Here they ate their way further up.




Bees can walk from the comb right into the bag. At the end of the winter the "head of the winter cluster" is completely stucking in that bag.


Most important is the fact, that the warm air is trapped in that bag and a sucessful winter feeding all depends on warmth. The warmer, the better the winter feed is taken.

This is how the fondant is placed and refilled. Check food bag regularily over winter.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QSM4KTkWPk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
I also give fondant on any nucs I'm concerned about. My method is to put the fondant in an inverted jar feeder without it's lid - just a sheet of thin plastic, secured with an elastic band. Make two cuts in the plastic with a razor blade and place over an inner cover hole. Place an eke or some other box on top of the inner cover, and place some insulation inside it - hessian sacking (burlap) is better than nothing - I use polystyrene. Keep an eye on it - refill if necessary.

I stopped using dry sugar years ago - too much work for the bees - whereas fondant can be taken without effort and stored more-or-less 'as is'. Unfortunately it costs a little more to buy than dry sugar.

LJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
Done it many times, does work alright if the winter is not so hard. The biggest problem is food. Use fondant!

The right consistency comes from the right wrapping of the fondant.

If you feed from above, the winter cluster sits right below the fondant package. The fondant package is completely wrapped, just a small opening - I do two parallel cuts.

The bees eat their way up.
Looks like a great approach..... Like that your fondant comes in a bag.... I'll have to see if I can find some similar over here in the US....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
Looks like a great approach..... Like that your fondant comes in a bag.... I'll have to see if I can find some similar over here in the US....
What you'll find "here" are 50 lb blocks of baker's fondant like this:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Do you have a recipe for your fondant, last I checked it was very expensive and then had to pay shipping on top of that. Tried to make it once and either came out looking like dried sugar blocks (which worked fine) or it changed color as it started to caramelized.

I just make sugar blocks no cook no mess. bees eat them all winter long.
10 lb sugar 1 cup water (4 lb of sugar <1/2 cup water)

I do add vitamins with probiotics and Vit C. I don't add EO as they will kill the probiotics. And don't heat for the same reason. Spread out on an aluminum foil pan to the thickness desired. Air dry 1-2 days.

Have posted many times the studies that show the benefits of vitamins, probiotics and vitamin C. Increase in longevity, more brood, better winter survival, fatter winter bees...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
Do you have a recipe for your fondant, last I checked it was very expensive.
Fondant is pricey. If I need some I have a bakery supply company about 35 minutes away. I would strongly recommend that you stick to the sugar blocks.

By not sharing how I have made fondant, I will save you precious hours... plus you will be saving money on gas or electricity. Actually, if you have PayPal you might consider sending me a few dollars for not telling you how to mix up a small batch of fondant.:D

Making what resembles purchased baker's fondant requires a huge effort for a small amount of fondant. It isn't worth the trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
Per weather.com looks like you will be having cloudy Rainey days in the mid to high 40's for the next several days since bees cluster at 47 degrees F they may not go far from the cluster. So putting frames next to or above the cluster would be my suggestion.
May consider taking a frame of drawn comb and filling it with honey if you have it or 2:1 syrup and placing it directly above the cluster. Should also consider putting the fondant in a frame and putting it above the cluster.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top