Feeding Fondant!

The mild weather has confused many plants, animals and insects this winter. It’s only February but the grass looks like it’s starting grow, I’ve seen trees in bloom and a friend found a queen wasp in her garden the other day!

It also means the bees are more active than usual for this time of year. Bees don’t die from the cold, in fact, it’s good for them to stop working, cluster together and stay warm. What kills bees is damp conditions and no food. Starvation is a real threat this time of year, particularly if they’ve been building up the colony early but there’s no pollen or nectar to forage.

With this in mind, I put the first bags of fondant in the hives on the 29th of December.  The theory is that the bees won’t take it if they don’t need it. Sam in Hive 3 and Claire in Hive 4 have already had their bags of fondant replaced but yesterday, with the weather set to change, I replaced the near empty bags in all the hives but one. It was nice to have a look through the polycarbonate crown board and to smell their familiar smell. There were a few determined bees who didn’t want to leave the bags so, once gently shaken out, it was lovely to hear the buzz, have them land on me and then watch them make their way back to the hive.

In total they’ve consumed 8 bags of fondant and have 6 new bags to keep them going. My bees are very lucky with the estate providing fabulous winter forage from their snowdrops so maybe they’ll head out for the real stuff! However, that’s still quite a lot of fondant consumed! The Queen must be laying and the colony building up. What worries me is, if all this is happening earlier than normal, when will the swarming season start???

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2 thoughts on “Feeding Fondant!

    • The bees can be feed bakers fondant, used for cake decoration, bought from the supermarket or many beekeepers make their own from granulated sugar, water and white vinegar. I bought Candipolline Gold from a bee supplier which is fondant with added protein from pollen in it. This helps them feed the larvae when there isn’t any pollen available. I’m undecided whether the added pollen is a good idea. If the weather is mild and they’re building up, having no pollen will starve the larvae and weaken the colony. However, artificially supplying pollen may encourage them to build up early because the pollen is available. It’s chicken and egg! It will be interesting to see how the spring progresses and whether I’ve saved them or over stimulated them!

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