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View Full Version : Where do you buy your sugar? 2014



Silvbee
10-08-2014, 07:42 PM
Just started shopping around for sugar suppliers for this year.

Morrison's - 76p a kilo
Bookers wholesale - 78p a kilo

Anyone found anything cheaper?

HJBee
10-08-2014, 08:39 PM
One of the other SBAi members got it v cheap in Costco in bulk, I 'think' 50p a kilo it works out at.

Little_John
11-08-2014, 06:56 AM
Tesco's - currently 3.85 for 5 kg. That's 77p/kg.

Not perhaps the cheapest, but very convenient - with no extra petrol required. :)

LJ

Feckless Drone
11-08-2014, 08:26 AM
LIDL - 69p per Kg

crabbitdave
11-08-2014, 09:56 AM
Pound strecher 58p but only 3 bags at a time

Silvbee
11-08-2014, 11:19 AM
Pound strecher 58p but only 3 bags at a time

May need a bag full of disguises to get the required amounts then...

busybeephilip
11-08-2014, 11:51 AM
Get everyone in the bee club to buy 3 bags - a fine day out

alclosier
12-08-2014, 05:48 PM
Have you tried speaking to the supermarkets for freebies? I'm aware of at least one keeper that is getting free sugar from broken bags destined for the bin.

crabbitdave
12-08-2014, 06:38 PM
I have heard of keepers doing just that local supermarkets seam very keen to help, I got a quarter of a ton from a local jam making company who where moving their business :)

Silvbee
12-08-2014, 08:39 PM
Great idea, I'll give it a go.

Maybee
13-08-2014, 09:18 PM
Yip Costco very cheap - but free burst bags from supermarket sounds cheaper............................

EK.Bee
01-09-2014, 04:44 PM
Pound strecher 58p but only 3 bags at a time

Bought 45 bags from their Wishaw branch. Fortunately no-one mentioned a customer limit

fatshark
01-09-2014, 06:38 PM
Fondant prices are pretty competitive at the moment, with BFP Wholesale quoting me under a tenner per 12.5 kg block … beats making up all that syrup ;)

2131

nemphlar
01-09-2014, 10:30 PM
FS Had a look at BFP is there a recommended type of fondant, they have all sorts.
farmfoods are 59p

gavin
01-09-2014, 11:04 PM
Bakers fondant. You can get it in Livingston, my boot has been just like FS's picture.

fatshark
01-09-2014, 11:53 PM
Gavin, like me, is going to make a million iced buns ...

You can read the catalogue number from the photo. It's an own brand, most of the other fondants BFP sell are more expensive. A bulk order - not a trivial 300 kg - will usually be deliverable, and for less still than I paid. It's dense stuff. Those 25 boxes were like having three fat blokes in the back seat ... and one fat bloke driving (must be all those iced buns).

busybeephilip
02-09-2014, 11:51 AM
Usually I feed syrup but am considering just giving blocks of fondant over a queen excluder for the winter feed. Has anyone had any problems feeding this way?

gavin
02-09-2014, 01:28 PM
One thing to watch out for is the difficulty exposing the tops of the frames for an oxalic acid trickle. A framed, rigid QX should hold the fondant off the bars but even so I like to postpone adding fondant until after the December trickle. That also means you can get thymol into your autumn syrup feed.

Sent from my BlackBerry 8520 using Tapatalk

fatshark
02-09-2014, 02:22 PM
I've fed fondant only for the last 4+ years. It goes on in late August and is usually finished by late October. I then remove the "empties", prise away the QE, wrap them in DPM to avoid Woody Woodpecker and forget about them until mid-December. I add Apiguard at the same time as giving them the fondant.

On the very rare occasions they've not taken all the fondant down by mid/late autumn I either don't bother with OA for that colony, or risk disrupting them to peel off the QE (which by this time is fixed down pretty thoroughly). It's a 50::50 call, perhaps influenced by the mite drop in the weeks approaching mid-winter (and I only bother monitoring the colonies still with fondant). All other colonies get OA.

I can only remember losing two full colonies fed in this way - one to CBPV that was apparent before the end of summer and the other due to a blocked entrance. The former I should have shaken out or united, the latter was due to my own considerable stupidity and will not be repeated. This is of 6-10 colonies going into the winter each year.

So the short answer to busybeephilip is "No".

busybeephilip
02-09-2014, 03:01 PM
Thanks Fatshark, this sounds very encouraging. I use apilife Var but out of curiosity do you add the apigaurd on top, below or in the gap between the two half blocks.

Also, my fear would be fondant running down between the frames, has this ever happened ?

fatshark
02-09-2014, 06:40 PM
I put the Apiguard wherever there's space, usually to the side. There's usually no space between the two half blocks … I cut them all the way through with a breadknife, but don't cut through the wrapper on the 'far side'. I then split it open, lay cling film over the cut face to stop it sealing back together again, pop it back in the box for transport, then open it like a book over the QE (remembering to remove the cling film).

In my experience the fondant only drips down if the colony expires. I've only ever seen this in overwintered mini-nucs.

Jon
02-09-2014, 06:59 PM
Peter Edwards has been doing this for years and has photos on the Stratford website (http://www.stratfordbeekeepers.org.uk/PENotes/Fondant.htm)

Little_John
24-10-2014, 06:53 PM
I've been pulling my hair out trying to find a supplier of fondant in my area, and then I stumbled across the London branch of Bako - who are selling the usual 12.5Kg packs for less than a tenner - AND - if you order more than 50 quid's worth, they deliver (UK Mainland) for free !
A quick bash on the calculator shows that their price is only a few coppers more than Tesco's granulated, and although buying 75Kg of fondant may seem a tad OTT, it's only 15 bags of Tesco's sugar, and I've got through that (and then some ...) already this year. So - I'm now definitely thinking of going down the 'fondant route' ....

A few Q's for those who know about such things:
Can it be used for *everything* - from mating nucs to emergency feed for BIG hives ?
Is there a need for special precautions at any time - like having extra supplies of water available ?
And lastly, is feeding fondant suitable during early spring build-up, or is light syrup still the best for that ?

As it's more-or-less the same price as granulated sugar, I'm wondering why people aren't using fondant instead of sugar syrup at all times. Unless there's something I don't know (hence the questions) it seems a no-brainer not to use it.

LJ

fatshark
25-10-2014, 09:33 AM
Hi LJ … I've used fondant for more or less everything for about 5 years. I've built frame feeders - for fondant - for Keilers which are much better than the inbuilt feeder. I dump lumps of fondant into the syrup feeder in the Everynuc and they hoover it up. Big hives (even BIG hives) just get a block on top of the frames. I've never provided any water … they either get it from condensation on the hive walls or presumably go out for it. My colonies mostly have perspex crownboards with no ventilation, topped with thick insulation.

You need to stop it drying out too much, so keep all but the face nearest the colony covered with plastic if you can. Not cling film. I usually just slice blocks apart and use it wrapped in the blue plastic. If it does dry out and go hard see below. They take it down a lot slower than syrup. This is generally good because you don't have to make lots of repeat trips. I think it also helps late brood raising. It stores pretty well. I buy 100-200kg at a time and just stack it in the garage. It's tough to cut when very cold - someone suggested a cheese wire which might be worth a try. If I need to cut a block in half I try and let it warm in the house for a day or two and then use a bread knife.

I rarely provide a stimulatory feed in the spring. When I do I use syrup made by dissolving the left-over fondant 1:1 by weight with hot water. I have a tub into which I save dried odds and ends (together with the wax and propolis they sometimes add to it) and I just put them in a saucepan with boiling water. I've never done a side by side comparison of syrup and fondant. Before someone does the maths … I know 1:1 by weight isn't exactly light syrup strength. I don't care. Nor do the bees.

Why aren't others using it? I suspect it's the same conservatism that characterises (blights) lots of other beekeeping practices. Matchsticks anyone?

I think Peter was the first to write about it as Jon says. There's lots of other good stuff on the Stratford site as well.

Give it a try ...

Little_John
25-10-2014, 10:57 AM
Brilliant - many thanks for that. You've even answered a concern I had about what plastic film to use ... Last year I tried feeding home-made fondant (took hours to make a small bowlful !) in a container with slashed cling-film underneath, and the girls just tore it up - so I'll now use either the blue plastic film the stuff comes in, or maybe a freezer bag.

As I'm scaling up, the prospect of making-up and feeding so much syrup was becoming daunting - and so I bought a 3 gallon tea-making urn with syrup-making in mind - but even with bulk syrup-making sorted, ensuring that feed is available over winter for the smaller nucs was still an issue. But - no longer.

Info very much appreciated.
LJ

gavin
25-10-2014, 11:48 AM
One caveat I'd add is that if you haven't massacred your Paynes nucs (should you have any) by cutting out the feeder, that isn't a great place to put fondant. The distance from the bees means it gets damp and slumps, then bees drown on it in numbers. Same in frame feeders with no float, at least in weak hives or maybe in cold damp conditions. But I'd second fatshark - have used it for winter feed perhaps 3 years out of 4 over a longish period and it suits me well. Great for Apideas but syrup works well too (as long as you remember not to fill the feeder before stocking it with bees :D.

My usual main hive autumn-winter pattern these days is:

- unless heavy from a trip to the heather (which they were this year) or Himalayan balsam is nearby, a partial feed in late September into October with syrup laced with thymol. I suspect it helps wintering after a wet summer. The hassle of making up large amounts and especially carrying liquid feed some distance usually puts me off feeding them enough to see them right through.

- oxalic trickle in December at which time a half or full block of fondant (cut through and opened out) goes on depending on how light they've become and how many frames they're covering. Mine usually go on top of a queen excluder - reduces the risk of slumping between frames and makes it easier to separate fondant from frames later. Often I'll put a sheet of Kingspan on top of the empty super housing the fondant, doubt it matters. Food directly over their heads is what they need.

- it is rare that they'll need any more but I do keep an eye on them in March and April. Remnants (or sometimes largely untouched) fondant comes off just as the rape is coming into flower.

If I was to scale up much more my preference would be one of these, ideally near the bees:

http://www.paynesbeefarm.co.uk/feeding/invertabee-sugar-syrup-pallet-1000kg/

However then I'd need to make sure that there was a clean feeder for every hive. The beauty of the bakers fondant approach is that you just need a QX and empty super or brood box.

fatshark
25-10-2014, 03:16 PM
You're absolutely right about the Paynes nucs Gavin I'd forgotten the problems I had with them. In Kielers I use these:

2152

and I reckon it should be possible to knock up something similar in a full size frame as a drop-in for hives which - for whatever reason - have no headroom e.g. the Paynes nuc for those too mean to buy the eke (like me).

Wmfd
16-11-2014, 04:50 PM
I've been pulling my hair out trying to find a supplier of fondant in my area, and then I stumbled across the London branch of Bako - who are selling the usual 12.5Kg packs for less than a tenner - AND - if you order more than 50 quid's worth, they deliver (UK Mainland) for free !
A quick bash on the calculator shows that their price is only a few coppers more than Tesco's granulated, and although buying 75Kg of fondant may seem a tad OTT, it's only 15 bags of Tesco's sugar, and I've got through that (and then some ...) already this year. So - I'm now definitely thinking of going down the 'fondant route' ....

A few Q's for those who know about such things:
Can it be used for *everything* - from mating nucs to emergency feed for BIG hives ?
Is there a need for special precautions at any time - like having extra supplies of water available ?
And lastly, is feeding fondant suitable during early spring build-up, or is light syrup still the best for that ?

As it's more-or-less the same price as granulated sugar, I'm wondering why people aren't using fondant instead of sugar syrup at all times. Unless there's something I don't know (hence the questions) it seems a no-brainer not to use it.

LJ

75kg of fondant ordered. Hope it's a dry day when it arrives, as my wife is refusing to shift my parcels after the last time (she did her back in trying to move 25kg ambrosia drums that were left in front of the garage).

As you say seems a little OTT, but I'm sure it'll get used and there'll be enough for family birthday cakes too.

I'm adding Keiler frame feeders to the list of things I need to make over the winter.

Wmfd
16-11-2014, 04:56 PM
You're absolutely right about the Paynes nucs Gavin … I'd forgotten the problems I had with them. In Kielers I use these:

2152

and I reckon it should be possible to knock up something similar in a full size frame as a drop-in for hives which - for whatever reason - have no headroom e.g. the Paynes nuc for those too mean to buy the eke (like me).

Fatshark - how do you fill these? Do they have a cunning hinge somewhere to open up (or do you just squeeze it through the queen excluder)?

fatshark
16-11-2014, 05:36 PM
Nothing cunning in my DIY … they are open at the top between the 'lugs'. Just squeeze slices of fondant down into the feeder. I make a dozen in advance and then wrap them in 2-3 layers of cling film. They keep pretty well.

Wmfd
16-11-2014, 08:54 PM
Brilliant and thanks, that sounds like something I can make !

Poly Hive
20-11-2014, 03:44 PM
Farmfoods here at least are 50/kg.

Bako are odd to say the least. They will not supply me now, local decision seemingly.


What I do is go to a local baker and explain what I want, they add it to their order, I pay them and a couple of jars for good will and all is good. ;)

PH