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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have under 15 colonies and soon I will need to start feeding. It is a real job to start mixing large volumes of syrup for my top feeders. I am too small to order larger premixed quantities.I think this year I may go with the top gallon jars on top of the inner cover but either way the mixing is a real task. Any suggestions to make the process easier? What about ordering fondant instead?
 

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Take 5 gallon pails. Mark the inside at 4 gallon mark with a sharpie. Fill with sugar up to the line. Add hot water up to the line. Equals 4 gallons of 2:1 syrup. I weigh my hives for a target weight. A double deep should weigh 140-150 pounds. So for every 10 lbs. underweight you need to feed 1 gallon of 2:1 syrup. Example colony weighs 120 pounds, but it needs to weigh 150. I need to feed 3 gallons to hit 150 pounds of feed for winter. So if you have 10 colonies and you weighed them all you have a number of pounds you need to hit your target weight for the whole apiary. So you can know exactly how much syrup to feed.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Fondant is more of an emergency type food source, the bees need their feed in liquid form, especially if you intend for them to store it.

I have a few more hives than you do and mix 1:1 sugar syrup in the kitchen. I use an 18 qt pot and dump 10# of sugar, 5 qts of hot tapwater, and a tablespoon of bleach into it. Stir until disolved and pour into 1 gallon jugs for ease of handling. Takes less than an hour to make and jug off 20 gallons (100# of sugar). This is a weekly chore during July and August. In Sept, I pretty much do just as Clayton suggested for any hives that are still light,, though my target weight is lower due to being in VA.
 

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I've heard of people putting on big blocks of fondant to save time, but personally I do much as JW does, except I use boiling water and aim for around 2:1, although I'm not religious about accuracy. I'm also a tad heavier on the bleach.

I do use fondant, but only in tiny quantities - installed during Jan/Feb in small inverted jars over feeder holes. These act as 'fuel gauges' so that I can keep an eye on remaining stores - as I don't weigh hives as others do, due to our winter temperatures being so unpredictable - which makes it difficult to predict feed requirements in advance.
LJ
 

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I'm with Michael Palmer. Syrup/ honey should be sealed and cured in combs for winter. Fondant and sugar blocks are for emergency feed. Using the later as your winter feeding method is way less than ideal.
 

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Another metric: for winters just south of Albany, NY, I find that colonies need 5/8 honey. So when overwintering Mike Palmer style resource hives in 4 over 4 config, 5 frames of honey works well. (no way do those hives weigh 120#....) Most of our colonies do not need fall feeding unless the fall flow fails. However, there are always a couple. Mixing like Clayton said in 5 gallon bucket works well. I use a paint mixer on a drill and only fill to 3-3.5 gallons. I guess I am not as careful as he is about splashing....
 

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Fondant is way more practical. Bees take fondant quick enough to make winter stores and that stores are mix of honey and fondant. Brood rearing is stimulated and colony has more bees in winter. Price of fondant was a problem but now it is less so. Long shelf life of fondant. If frame from brood section is extracted the honey is less adulterated etc. (no robbing, drowning, 20% of water in fondant aproximately as in honey)

Homemade fondant: 20% water, 2% vinegar (9% AA), 5 min boiling (stearing), mixing when cooled to warm.
 

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Homemade fondant: 20% water, 2% vinegar (9% AA), 5 min boiling (stearing), mixing when cooled to warm.
By this you mean:

78% sugar
20% water
2% vinegar
------------
100% (fondant).

Correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Clayton:
How do you transfer syrup from 5-gallon buckets to individual feeders without making a mess? Last year I purchase a pump that is supposed to fit on 5-gallon buckets but never tried it. Is there another easier method?
Take 5 gallon pails. Mark the inside at 4 gallon mark with a sharpie. Fill with sugar up to the line. Add hot water up to the line. Equals 4 gallons of 2:1 syrup. I weigh my hives for a target weight. A double deep should weigh 140-150 pounds. So for every 10 lbs. underweight you need to feed 1 gallon of 2:1 syrup. Example colony weighs 120 pounds, but it needs to weigh 150. I need to feed 3 gallons to hit 150 pounds of feed for winter. So if you have 10 colonies and you weighed them all you have a number of pounds you need to hit your target weight for the whole apiary. So you can know exactly how much syrup to feed.
 

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Clayton:
How do you transfer syrup from 5-gallon buckets to individual feeders without making a mess? Last year I purchase a pump that is supposed to fit on 5-gallon buckets but never tried it. Is there another easier method?
My approach: Don't pour from a full 5 gallon pail. It is much easier to control when you're pouring from a 5 gallon pail that's only about 1/3 to 1/2 full, so bring another pail and pour a reasonable volume into the second, empty pail, which is then used for filling anything you need to fill.

When filling in-hive frame feeders, I use the largest funnel I could buy at the auto parts store to make the task easy. Because you know how much they hold, keeping an eye on the hole in the opposite end will let you know when it is nearly full. When filling hive-top feeders, keep an eye on the lip and stop before you overtop it.

Hope this helps.
 

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Your percentages are precise, my are more like schema. My mix is: 2 kg sugar, approximately (2x2) 4 dl water and ~0.3-0.4 dl (40 ml or 2x20 ml)vinegar with (9% of acetic acid). Little bit of try and error is needed to get good result. Then fondant is nice and clean.

Edit: The amount of water is actually 2.5 dl/kg and for 20% should be ~2.2, so if 30 ml boils off then the percentage of water in fondant is very close to 20%.
 

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Is there a specific time that hives should be at the target weight/number of frames of stores?
End of flow?
Daily high temp?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Andy, you want the hives to be at target weight before daytime highs drop below 50°F. Ideally, you want them there well before and simply maintain target weight until winter sets in.
 

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To reduce spilling I mix my 5 gallon pails a out 2/3 full using 20-25 lbs of sugar and use the lids with spouts on them. I put the lid on such that the spout is in line with the handles (3 or 9 clock). For mixing I'm lucky to have a solar hot water system that puts out 170degree water. I have a hose hooked up to the hot water and use a pressure washer wand to mix it in the buckets. I dump in the sugar and then the hot water wand mixes it while filling....i add hot water until the mix is a few inches above the level the plain sugar was.
https://gilmour.com/products/nozzle...ozzles-wands/professional-power-jet-wand-5509
 

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I quit the 5 gallon pail mixing work and put a ball valve on a 55 gallon open top barrel.Fill barrel half full of water.Add my freebee trolling motor and turn it on and dump sugar until barrel is almost full.Just let the trolling motor do the mixing.When mixed then pull out trolling motor and put the drum lid back on.I use cold water right from the water hose also.A short pipe nipple on the ball valve will cut back on most of the drip after shutting the valve off when filling jugs or what ever container you are using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
About how many pounds of sugar does it take to fill to fill to the 4-gallon mark?
Take 5 gallon pails. Mark the inside at 4 gallon mark with a sharpie. Fill with sugar up to the line. Add hot water up to the line. Equals 4 gallons of 2:1 syrup. I weigh my hives for a target weight. A double deep should weigh 140-150 pounds. So for every 10 lbs. underweight you need to feed 1 gallon of 2:1 syrup. Example colony weighs 120 pounds, but it needs to weigh 150. I need to feed 3 gallons to hit 150 pounds of feed for winter. So if you have 10 colonies and you weighed them all you have a number of pounds you need to hit your target weight for the whole apiary. So you can know exactly how much syrup to feed.
 

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About how many pounds of sugar does it take to fill to fill to the 4-gallon mark?
About 10 pounds per gallon of finished syrup. Note: "NOT" 40# sugar + 4 gallons of water. It's 40# ish plus enough water to yield 4 gallons of syrup finished product. Each gallon of 2:1 will give aprox 10 lbs of winter feed.
 

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I mix mine in 5 gal buckets. I also use a 30 cup coffee maker to heat my water. 20 lb sugar - 60 cups of water.
Then I use a plastic 1 gal measuring cup to fill my frame feeders in my nuc's being over wintered.
 

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I'll have to try Clayton's method one day. My normal procedure is to measure 16 lbs of sugar (2 pounds per pint for 2:1) per 1 gallon of water. I Mix in a five gallon container. I think last year I put 2.5 gallons (it might have been 3, I can't remember, will have to do a little trial and error) of water in the container and added 40 lbs of sugar, which made 5 gallons. I mix with a long cooking spoon or a piece of wood. To make the process less painful I boil water in a large pot that holds up to 3 gallons. I Watch Netflix for a bit until the water is ready.
Take off stove, measure sugar, pour water in container, allo to cool longer in necessary, add sugar, stir. Go back to Netflix.

I use inverted jars on top of my hives. When I pour, I first pour from the 5 gallon container into a small 2 gallon bucket and then fill my jars, whether they be quart, 2 quart or 3 quart size.

I have a lot more hives this year (35), so I may use my honey bottling 5 gallon containers for dispensing (if they're available), as I can use the spout to fill more efficiently from the back of the pickup.
 
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