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Thread: Fondant or syrup for autumn feeding

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Default Fondant or syrup for autumn feeding

    Reading Fatshark's recent article, I wondered whether feeding fondant will also encourage the bees to draw out foundation, as C4U explained when using syrup (or invert syrup).
    Kitta

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Not much in my experience ...

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Thanks Fatshark.

    That seems to confirm my experience with a wooden mini-nuc in which you can only feed the bees fondant. They only drew out a couple of half arcs of comb despite the queen having been mated and laying. Maybe I didn't have enough bees in there to start off with, or bees of the wrong age.

    Anyway - as for autumn feeding, I still have to decide what to do this year!

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    Good morning ... I was out checking fondant levels just now and remembered I should have added that I've had good success in using fondant in mini-nucs. My initial attempts using syrup just resulted in spillages. I liked that I could squeeze the fondant into the feeder, invert the min-nuc to add the bees and then just prise up the cover flap to pop in a queen cell. These were Kielers and I did have a habit of adding too many bees (and I always screened these through a QE moving up to open brood, so they were young) ... but they certainly drew out the comb OK.

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    I didn't screen the bees I put in the mini-nuc. I just shook the second shake of bees from a honey super into an upturned roof, and then scooped a cupful of bees from there. Perhaps that was my mistake. I've since moved the queen into a nuc, and she's doing well.

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    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    Reading Fatshark's recent article, I wondered whether feeding fondant will also encourage the bees to draw out foundation, as C4U explained when using syrup (or invert syrup).
    Kitta
    We have been taking off supers and reducing to one brood box. Hoping to feed syrup to encourage the drawing out of foundation. However the brood frames are jammed with stores, itís hard to find frames to replace with new and if I feed syrup Iím afraid the queen will have no space to lay her winter bees. Does Calluna4u do this on double brood Kitta.

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Bridget, that's a question I meant to ask Murray when I saw him on Saturday. I suppose you can remove some of the frames with stores, and replace them with foundation. You can then use the store frames again in springtime, or when you need them for nucs later next year.

    Alternatively, perhaps, once they've drawn out a frame of foundation, but before they're filling it with stores, remove it for next year, and return the frame with stores. The problem is, the weather is getting worse, and I think one might not want that kerfuffle of changing combs around in cold weather.

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    Senior Member Bridget's Avatar
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    We should have been more diligent about moving old black frames to the outside. Would have made it easier for sure.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    We should have been more diligent about moving old black frames to the outside. Would have made it easier for sure.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    It's still only September. In my (limited!) experience, the bees will happily rearrange stuff around and the weather outlook is decent. I'll be bringing bees back from heather this week and removing honey from around the brood nest, extracting and giving them fresh foundation when putting feed on. Plenty brood still being reared in even my highland hives.

    Hives I wont be doing foundation swaps I will feed with fondant as per fatshark. Works a treat.

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    Senior Member fatshark's Avatar
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    I checked a couple of boxes today. One had finished a full box of fondant in 15 days which is very fast in my experience. Other hives of similar strength in there same apiary were only a third or so through theirs (the quick eaters are not being robbed, the hive is v. strong). As GG says, lots of brood in the boxes I looked at. The dearth at the end of August put some queens off laying but they've picked up really well.

    IMG_20190913_142301.jpg

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