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Wow there are a lot of options for feeding over the winter.
I know ideally they should have a ton of honey to get them through but i have hives and nucs that dont so i will need to feed them.
At the moment the bigger hives have top feeders with sugar water (man do those things set off robbing and drowning!--> think im going to change to baggie feeders for these hives) and the nucs all have frame feeders.
As the temp drops though I figure the sugar syrup wont be the ticket anymore and I should change over to fondant/dry sugar/cakes

Can anyone in a climate similar to mine ( rochester ny) give me some pointers on the plusses and minuses of fondant vs dry sugar vs sugar cakes/bricks?

Thanks in advance.
 

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There are ways to push syrup, even towards the end, by serving it warmer, after late morning and only enough so they take it all before it cools off overnight. You can even immerse one of those micro-wave heated gel heating pads in it (put the pad in a freezer baggie to keep it clean) to keep it warmer, longer. You may be able to get a lot more syrup down them from now until it gets too cool, probably on the order of forty or fifty more pounds per hive, if you have the time to keep feeding them.

But after they won't take any more syrup, you can't get them to store any other kind of food. All you can do is provide chow when they need it later on in the winter.

Personally, I find the easiest is the Dadant winter patties, which I buy frm Betterbee, though obviously you can also buy them from Dadant. Low protein, mostly carbs, primarily HFCS, which I don't like in general but it seems to do the bees now harm. Buy the patty, put it in, check on the progress when you can and that's it. it is not the cheapest solution however. I have gotten almost stores-less hives of a friend through the winter on it, none the worse for the wear. But it was a lot of work, and some anxiety since occasionally I knew they needed re-supply and it was very bad weather. Still, we got through it. As purely late season food in case of running low, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.

Homemade sugar bricks using Lauri Miller's recipe also work just fiine, if you have a dehydrator or convection oven in which to make them. They can be made using other heat sources, but not as easily.

I've never used fondant, either homemade or from a bakery. The bakery kind may have preservatives I wouldn't like.

The so-called Mountain Camp method of dry sugar seems like it would be a mess, but it's probably the cheapest of all.

I use make sugar bricks every fall to have on hand, and I always keep a 40 lb box of winter patty in my freezer. I add pollen patty to the mix, but only after about the third week of March.

As you probably remember I am north of Albany, slightly colder than you, but not as snowy.

Enj.
 

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Hey I am too feeding with an empty super just using quart containers we use for restaurant prep. Can get 3 gallons a time. Palmer uses paint cans. I love the syrup in fall. Not dry sugar. Didn't think about feeding my bees once last winter. Whew!
 
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