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Happy New Year beekeepers!! I have a recipe for a winter candy for my bees. Even tho in SC our next few weeks are very cold (just below freezing). I wanted to give my "gurls" some warmth with carbs- they need to winter. The recipe I have seems easy and good. you use 4 C water, 1 c tea, 10lbs sugar- slowing stir until reaches candy therm. of 236 (for a fudge like consistency). then once cooled to 200 add 1/2 teasp of HoneyBHealthy.
My Question is- due to boiling this mixture will it cause harm to the bees. One beekeeper told me you don't want to boil to cause to caramelize-that will hurt bees. Plz give feed back ASAP- much appreciated.
Devorah (means bee:) :scratch:
 

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Have to chuckle at thinking below freezing is very cold! -50F is very cold to me. Bees were winterized two months ago and have four more months till fresh pollen.

Boiling is fine as long as you don't get the syrup too hot and carmelizing on the edges and bottom of the pot.

Using med-low heat, and continually stirring prevents carmelizing. We have two older thick aluminum pressure cooker pots that help in the process as aluminum transfer heat slower than steel and being thick they do not allow the heat to be as concentrate.

Suggest adding sugar one approx 1 cup at time as you bring the mixture up to a boil.

I also add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice per quart of liquid. Bees seem to love it and are healthy.

A very good investment is a candy thermometer and I run mine up to Firm Ball temp which is 248F. Actually 242F after adjusting for altitude.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thx mgolden! yea way up north - guess this would be funny! :)) we (in the south) go underground at 25 degrees! (;))

Thanks for your tips. I do have candy thermometer and used it. took off heat at 236 deg. per instructions I have. I did stir the "entire" time- (gotta luv the bees to stand there that long! It just came to soft boil. I did place lid on for 5 mins. on med. heat and it did begin to rapidly boil- actually before the 5 min were up, b/c of boiling, I removed fr heat.

How thick (or thin) do you make your candy bars?

I poured in to 2 pans that are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. will that be too thick? In garage now cooling off. hope to make it out there today if this hardens enough.

..thanks for the info. My bee club members don't seem to be doing the candy thing- so I wasn't sure of any pitfalls.
Devorah. :thumbsup:
 

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It is good to feed if the bees are short or as insurance in case you don't know, but the most important thing to keep in mind, is that moisture needs out of you hive! a vent at the top is a wonderful thing~ And HAPPY nEW yEAR to you too.
 

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Make mine about 1 1/4 inch thick. Put parchment paper in the bottom of a metal cake pan and pour it in.

Am leery about the 5 min boil covered. Have seen it before and am concerned about carmelizing and burning while the lid is on. Purpose is to melt the crystals that form on the side of the pot and if left will re-start the crystals in candy. If is early on and the syrup is not overly thick, one is fairly safe and will not carmelize/burn.

Candy makers coat the sides of the pan with butters/oils so troublesome crystals are not around to start the crystalizing in the candy when it sets up. I wouldn't be afraid to try Crisco as have seen recipes for grease patties to control mites. Have made some grease patties and the bees will not eat them.

On the very cold, we went on a cruise about mid Feb out of Miami. We left -35F and veryicy roads and side walks. Flew into Miami and we were allowed in groups of 4 to leave airport terminal to board the bus. It was overcast and rainy and 55F. It was too cold and watch out for slippery. I found it quite humorous, considering the cold and slippery I had left at home!.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Vance. I agree about the moisture issue. I'm hoping the candy is more like fudge when done here and I do plan to place on wax paper plus I have an aluminum light weight sm. pan/tray that has holes in it (for grilling) so I thought I'd place the wax paper candy on that as well over the frames. With the holes the bees should be able to get at candy and yet for the most part the tray will act as a barrier to any thing that might melt. That's my thought anyway!
 

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oh good to know. I was concerned I was making it too thick. If it hardens good (like fudge) then I thought the thicker would save me from having to come back -disturbing them- too often. They'd be bedded in for the winter. Made some pollen patties for them too. they should be all set with their comfort food for our chilly weather!!!
 

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I have built a a 2 1/2 inch high feeder "super" that I can place above or below the inner cover. Thickness of the fondant/sugar patty doesn't then really matter as long as its less then 2.5 inches. I use 2 inch thick studs and make simple corners with nails and glue and a 3 inch screw. Drilled a 3/4 inch round vent hole in the front for ventilation. Had to screen the 3/4 inch hole in one hive as bees were getting too warm and coming out to fly when ambient temp was too cold.

Presently have the feeders above the inner cover, and have removed the screening over the center of the inner cover. Thinking is that I can slip in patties over the winter and with the inner cover below I won't cool them off excessively. My hives generally have good honey supply but am getting lots of activity eating the fondant/sugar patties.

Also took one of the feeder "supers" and added a plywood bottom with a 3 1/2 inch round center hole. I put a jar in the hole and packed 20 lbs of dampened sugar in the feeder around the jar, let it set and removed the jar and placed in on my hive with least stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mgolden sounds like a great idea for the special "super" feeder. I'll have to try that.

hey, another question... how long does it take for the thickness (1 1/4) to completely harden? Mine has mostly harden but there's a sticky watery surface layer still. Started this early this morning. Guess I'll be going to the bee yard tomorrow instead- since this isn't all the way harden.. Also, my instruction sheet said they like it more like a fudge consistency. This is hardening not like fudge. (not gooey.
 

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Think it was over nite to set up and that is as solid as it will get once it cools down to room temp. Haven't made any very recently. Was using up my left over 2:1 sugar syrup and just threw in some more sugar and boiled away with continuous stirring. Took maybe 15 minutes to reach 248F.

Found 236F made the surface and fondant too liquidy and sticky and I was having trouble with bees getting stuck in it and perishing. Once it warms in the hive, it gets more sticky and liquidy.
 

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well I'm pretty sure my candy got up to at least 240 +- the instructions did say "236" as you probably read. I found it got up to boiling when I placed the lid on, but I quickly removed and moved off the stove. I'm worried now tho after what you said - wondering if this might be too sticky- particularly since it does get hotter in hive. wonder if I should just can this batch?
Had considered getting little metal pans to place in hive to put this in so it won't dip down. but if they also have danger from getting stuck in it- then that's a big consideration to can it. :scratch:
 

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Don't throw it out. The bees won't mind it being a little wet. i sometime feed a thick sugar slurry on the top bars over newspaper. They love it. Tim
 
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