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 […]

Queens and amitraz residues in wax

A question following a recent evening talk to a beekeeping association prompted me to look back at the literature on amitraz and wax residues. The question was about reuse of honey supers that were present on a colony during miticide treatment. With the exception of MAQS, there are no approved miticides that should be used […]

Eating my words

I periodically look at the access statistics of this site. It gives me an idea of what’s popular, which subjects might be worth revisiting and which posts have sunk without trace into bottomless void of the internet. Daily page views are only 50% what they were in June. Maybe it’s the chaos/excitement/disappointment (delete as appropriate) […]

Late season miscellany

I was struggling for a title for the post this week. It’s really just a rambling discourse on a variety of different and loosely related, or unrelated, topics. Something for everyone perhaps? Or nothing for anyone? Beekeeping myths – ‘bees don’t store fondant’ I only feed fondant in the autumn. I discussed how and why […]

Preparing for winter

The beekeeping season is fast receding into the distance as the first frosts of autumn appear and, finally, the wasp numbers start to diminish. By now colonies should be heavy with stores, either collected by the bees or provided by the beekeeper. There is relatively little actual beekeeping to be done this late in the […]

Weed and feed

Weed and feed is a generic term that describes the treatment of lawns to simultaneously eradicate certain weeds and strengthen the turf. It seemed an appropriate title for a post on eradicating mites from colonies and feeding the bees up in preparation for the winter ahead. Arguably these are the two most important activities of […]