FEEDING THE BEE HIVE WITH BAKERS’ FONDANT – 1st wk in February 2015

Note the flat bag of fondant under the Perspex crown board. The eke ( half a roof one inch deep) creates the recessed space for the fondant. On top of this goes 2 layers of cardboard for insulation and then the full water-proof roof.

Note the flat bag of fondant under the Perspex crown board. The eke ( half a roof one inch deep) creates the recessed space for the fondant. On top of this goes 2 layers of cardboard for insulation and then the full water-proof roof.

Another tip from expert beekeeper at the South Wexford Beekeepers Association last meeting, John Morgan. He warned that February is the month when the bee hive is at its most vulnerable. Stores of honey are depleted and the weather is too cold and flowers too scarce for gathering pollen. So if one has not fed one’s bees already this winter gone, now is the time to do it.

The recommendation is to feed fondant, not syrup at this time. The bees prefer the fondant in this cold weather. I bought a large bucket of fondant from the in store baker in Superquinn, Swords, Co. Dublin. (Yes, that long ago!) It has lasted me a few years and only half the bucket is used so far.

To feed the bees, one uses an eke (shown in the photo) to create a recess on top of the frames under the roof in the brood box. Into this recess is placed a flat resealable freezer bag of fondant. A hole the size of a 50c coin is cut in the middle of the bag. This hole is placed as close as possible to where the cluster of bees are hanging out on the frames. The bees will eat their way through this fondant starting with what is exposed by the hole. It should be interesting to see how much of the fondant was eaten when the weather warms up sufficiently to open the hive to see if I can find and mark the queen. This must wait until the daytime temperature is consistently over 10 degrees centigrade.

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