Fondant fancies

My colonies are all busy piling in the calories in preparation for winter. As always, at this time of the year I only feed my colonies using bakers fondant. This is exactly the same stuff you get on the top of iced buns. It’s available plastic-wrapped and boxed in 12.5kg blocks from a variety of […]

Fondant topups

Perhaps surprisingly if the weather is still very wintery, inside your hives brood rearing has probably started . It’s about half way through the winter, there’s no forage available and the colonies are surviving on the stores they laid down in the autumn last year. But now they have a few more mouths to feed … […]

Fife’s fondant mountain

A little later in the year than usual due to work commitments … In late August 2014 I described how I feed my bees fondant in the autumn. It’s a simple, quick, clean and efficient way to feed colonies. Additionally, I’m reasonably convinced that there are advantages for the bees as well as the beekeeper. […]

Feeding fondant

With the season nearly over, now is the time to feed the colonies well and treat for mites so they have the best chance of overwintering successfully. I almost exclusively use fondant blocks for autumn feeding. I prefer feeding fondant to using syrup or Ambrosia for several reasons: I don’t have to spend hours over the stove […]

Leftover fondant

If you feed fondant rather than syrup in the autumn, or provide underweight colonies fondant in the spring, or use fondant to feed mini-nucs for queen rearing you’ll inevitably end up with leftover lumps. Some of these will be dry and pitted, some will have bits of bees embedded, some will have brace comb or lumps […]

Queen introduction

I’m probably less qualified to write about queen introduction than almost any other aspect of beekeeping. This is not because I’ve not introduced any queens. Quite the opposite, it’s something I do more or less routinely many times a season.  The reason(s) I’m really not qualified to discuss the topic are: I almost exclusively use […]

Fainting goats … and queens

Myotonia congenita is a genetic disorder that affects the muscles used for movement. Myotonia refers to the delayed relaxation of these skeletal muscles, resulting in a variety of obvious symptoms including temporary paralysis, stiffness or transient weakness. In humans these symptoms are often manifest as difficulty in swallowing, gagging and frequent falls. Children are affected […]

No risk, no reward

“April showers bring May flowers”, or something close to that, is a poem that has its origins in the General Prologue of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It means that the Atlantic low pressure systems that roll in from the west during April, often bringing rain, also account for the abundance of flowers that bloom in May. […]

First impressions

There’s always a slight feeling of trepidation when I lift a roof for the first hive inspection of the season. What’s in the box? Is the colony going to be thriving or just hanging on? I know they’ve got sufficient stores and that the bees have been flying on good days, but that’s not the […]

Lost and found

It was the Welsh Beekeepers’ Convention last weekend . This is a convention I’ve previously enjoyed attending. I remember strolling through the daffodil-filled Builth Wells Showground in lovely spring sunshine to visit the trade show. And I remember staggering back to the car, laden with items that were: too inexpensive (not cheap … there’s a difference 😉 […]