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 […]

Hydroxymethylfurfural

Excuse me? Hydroxymethylfurfural which, for very obvious reasons is usually abbreviated to HMF, is an organic compound that forms in sugar-containing foods, often as a result of heating. HMF is relevant to bees because, at high levels, it is toxic for them. Since beekeepers often heat (or use ready-made feed that has been heated during […]

Winding down

Here in Scotland the season is rapidly drawing to a close. All of the summer nectar sources – the lime, blackberry and heather – have stopped yielding and the bees are noticeably less busy, other than in the warmest parts of the day. Inside the hive the colony is segueing from summer to winter bee […]

Cut more losses

This is a follow-on to the post last week, this time focusing on feeding and a few ‘odds and sods’ that failed to make it into the first 3000 words on reducing overwintering colony losses. Both posts should be read in conjunction with one (or more ) of my earlier posts on disease management for […]

Irrational Varroa control

About a month ago I wrote a post on rational Varroa control. I define this as choosing a miticide appropriate for your colony and environment, administering it properly and at the right time so providing the maximum benefit to your bees. The long term goal of rational Varroa control is reduced colony losses due to […]

Less is more

The season here started late after a a long, cold spring, and it’s giving every impression of ending early. A couple of low pressure systems have slowly drifted in from the west, replacing the settled calm weather with something a lot more changeable. On the west coast of Scotland the heather has still to really […]