A feeding option...fondant!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by BjornBee, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I personally hate mixing sugar and filling feeder jars. I like to use fondant for feeding. In the spring, having a two inch spacer for your hives (comes in handy for many things) can be used with placing fondant on the frames. This picture is of a 5 frame nuc, with a two inch spacer, and two nice slabs of fondant for feeding.

    Fondant can be found at most bakery supply companies. You want fondant with only three ingrdients...sugar, HFCS, and water. (No fillers or additives) Most on the market is made by "Dawn foods". Comes in 50 pound blocks, and unused portions can be stored.

    Hope this helps.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. PCM_old

    PCM_old New Member

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    That would never work for me !

    With my sweet tooth before I got to the hives the bucket would be empty !

    Ought to see me at the candy counter in the grocery store !

    Of course working the hives, any burr comb with honey, is chewing gum !

    PCM
     

  3. harmonyshoney

    harmonyshoney New Member

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    What is HFCS? And I love this idea. I hate sugar water.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    High fructose corn syrup. It doesn't have the corn starch that regular corn syrup has. Corn starch is bad for the bees.
     
  5. An-Nahl

    An-Nahl New Member

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    would just using sugar be better to absorb moisture and help reduce mold?
     
  6. PCM_old

    PCM_old New Member

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    If you check the old books, they generally suggest feeding sugar as an Emergency
    food source.
    The bees need water to process the sugar into syrup, which is then processed
    into bee food. So I believe feeding syrup saves them a lot of time & effort.

    You hear in the spring, " my honey has solidified " I believe it is sugar the bees
    tried to store without processing it.

    My side of the story and I'm sticking to it, Everyone do their own thing.

    PCM
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I personally do not encourage people to use sugar syrup for emergancy or winter feeding. At least not in cold weather areas.

    Beyond trying to fill jars (what a pain) or hivetop feeders (oftentimes ignored by bees in cold weather, I prefer fondant. I know for me, going out in 12 inches of snow and making sure the sugar syrup didn't freeze or go empty, is a useless option.

    I place a 25 pound of fondant on the hive in November and the bees will eat it for three months or more.

    Feeding syrup after cold weather starts adds huge amounts of moisture to the hive. I have inspected many dead hives with frame upon frame of store sugar water from feeding in late fall and early winter. Yes I have seen the crystalized sugar in cells. But that is from syrup being taken down into the cells. Seen that many times. I have never seen granulated sugar in cells.

    Below is a picture of a 25 pound block of fondant. And I don't care what the old beek books suggest, the bees have no problems needing, finding, or utilizing moisture in the consumption of it. Bees find water in winter just fine.

    What is the water content of honey? 18, maybe 20 % tops. What is the water content of sugar syrup? 30-40-50% of more. And this higher moisture content means the bees actually will eat through more surup by volume than if eating honey, adding an unnatural high level of moisture. And moisture kills.

    Here is a low moisture feed that allows you to feed once all winter, NOT put high levels moisture into the hive, and does not need filling. And when the bees are at the top of the brood chamber conserving heat anyways, they are up against the fondant as it is placed right on the inner cover hole.

    If I was in a warmer climate, maybe syrup would work better. For me, this picture is the best way I have found to feed in winter. Yes, as PCM says, each can do what they want. And much of beekeeping is "location" based. I'm just suggesting my option and why.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. An-Nahl

    An-Nahl New Member

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    so plain sugar (no water) would be okay and help against moisture... sorry to beat this to death...
     
  9. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I have only fed with dry sugar a few times. I think if your talking emergency feeding, about anything works. The dry sugar to me is the last resort and may not be the best choice, but it's better than dead hives.

    If you don't have them, make up some two inch shims, one for each hive. I use shims for feeding on top of the frames, placing a queen cage, etc.

    Once you have shims, you can more easily feed bees. You can place some paper on top of the bars and then pour the sugar on of the bars using the shim below the inner cover, or use the shim on top of the inner cover and just dump a whole 5 pound bad on the inner cover. These shims can also be used for "baggie" feeding.

    I know I have heard of some beekeepers using a 5 pound bag of sugar as not just extra feed but as a "moisture sponge". I do not normally do this and only mention my experience of a couple hives several years ago. But it works fine.
     
  10. busybee

    busybee New Member

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    Does anyone with just a couple hives make their own fondant? What would the porportion be? Who would use a 50 lb lump some. What do you pay? How do you store in? Freezer?


    .
     
  11. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    busybee,
    I pay about $38 for a 50 pound block delivered to my house. It's more than sugar pound for pound in 5 pound bags, but like I said...I hate mixing syrup. ;)

    I have kept blocks about a year with no problems in a cool garage.

    If you have a light hive, how many times does the average person fill feeders in fall? 50 pounds sounds like much, but 25 pound slab is like feeding 5 gallons of syrup (5 - 5 pound bags of sugar). And for a light hive, that would be nothing.

    I know I worried many times in the deep of winter of whether the jar inside the hive was empty, etc. Not anymore. I throw on a 25 pound slab and know they are good to go for the winter.

    I've saved many hives by using a 25 pound block going into winter. And to save a hive for less than 20 dollars, and have a happy wife who is not complaining about syrup all over her kitchen, it's well worth the money. And no more jars, no more wondering, and no more filling in January.
     
  12. busybee

    busybee New Member

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    Bjornbee,

    The other day I spent the day calling bakeries I found listed in the yellow pages and NO ONE has it. Someone referred me to Wal Mart and Hobby Lobby. Went to those today and Wal Mart does not have it and Hobby Lobby had a 5 lb box for $22. There is noway I can do that. My bees should be here next week and I need to be ready for them and since I will have to feed them until they get going I thought this would be a cleaner/neater way to do it like you said.
    Where can I get a recipe to make it? How long will I have to feed my bees after I get them? thanks. One more thing - I bought some Honey B Healthy so would that be ok to mix some in it?? That would make it more nutrious, right ??
     
  13. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    If you are just feeding a few hives, especially now at this time of the year, just mix up some sugar syrup. In a strong flow after a week or two and the bees are over any period of possible stavation, you can let them collect nectar and then start feeding again when the flow slows.

    Contact the nearest Dawn Food Distributor or the company directly. They will be able to tell you where the nearest bakery or store that carries their product.

    http://www.dawnfoods.com/Public/Managed ... /Index.asp

    I do not like feeding HBH as it sometimes starts robbing. It is a product that is not needed, although many claim various uses.
     
  14. busybee

    busybee New Member

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    Bjornbee,

    Do you know if Dawn Foods fondant is made with Corn Starch? They are hard to get responses/ answers from. I want to see if I can order some on line or if they do use corn starch I may make some myself.
     
  15. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Busy,
    The ingredients for the stuff I buy is....sugar, HFCS, and water. Nothing else. No starch.
     
  16. garvis

    garvis New Member

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    I live in NORTHERN CALIFORNIA dont have the prob of COLD winters, but I do run into the prob of some hives not taking syrup in winter.
    I have been using BAKERS DRIVERT sugar during this time and also i use it during transport into the almonds for pollination to prevent spillage.
    I have never used fondant but it sounds like a good idea if I could find where to buy it and would also need to see if it was cost effective for 200 hives.
     
  17. oldenglish

    oldenglish New Member

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    Dawn foods has an outlet in Seattle so I emailed them asking how much for 50lb blocks. Its been almost a week and they have not responed back. Maybe I will give them a call.
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    http://thecookduke.com/fondant-recipe/ has the following recipe......and then some.



    Ingredients required to make the fondant recipe:

    * 1 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin
    * 1/4 cup of cold water
    * 1 tsp of almond extract
    * 1/2 cup of light corn syrup (If a corn syrup is not available, you can substitute it with a sugar syrup made with 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/3 cup water, boiled together until syrupy)
    * 1 Tbsp of glycerin (some recipes say it’s optional, believe me, it’s a must)
    * 2 lbs 10X confectioners’ sugar
    * 1/2 tsp of white vegetable shortening

    Directions how to make the fondant recipe:

    * Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and let it rest for 2 minutes to soften
    * Place the bowl in a microwave for 30 seconds on High, until the gelatin dissolves
    * Add the Almond extract
    * Add the corn syrup and the glycerin and stir until the mixture is smooth and clear (if the mixture is not turning smooth and clear, microwave it for an additional 15 to 20 seconds on high and stir again)
    * Sift 1 1/2 pounds of the sugar into a large bowl
    * Make a hole in the sugar and pour the liquid mixture to it
    * Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes sticky
    * Sift some of the remaining 1/2 pound of sugar onto a smooth work surface and add as much of the remaining sugar as the mixture will take
    * Knead the fondant, adding a little more sugar if necessary, to form a smooth, pliable mass
    * Rub the vegetable shortening on your thumbs and knead it into the fondant
    * Wrap the fondant in plastic wrap and place it in a tightly sealed container to prevent it from drying out
    If the icing dries out and harden it can often be revived by popping it into a microwave oven for a few seconds and then kneading it back to life
     
  19. oldenglish

    oldenglish New Member

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    Really just want to buy the stuff, otherwise I would keep mixing up sugar water.
    I did at one time see a post on another forum for making fondant, I dont remember it being that complicated.
     
  20. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    I have an answer! Finally there's something I know about! I am a cook/baker. You need to contact specialty shops designed for independent bakers and caterers who are baking for a hobby, have a small business or moonlight doing wedding cakes. In the Kansas City area we have The Sweet Shoppe and George's Hobby House. These stores don't sell baked products, they sell the fancy specialty stuff to bake products with. Here's another option: become acquainted with someone who manages the bakery department of the local grocery store or neighborhood bakery. Ask them to order it for you from their supplier. Never hurts to ask and it would be a lot less expensive. Since you would not be in competition with the bakery, they might do it. If you have to sweeten the deal, maybe offer the person who does the ordering some honey for helping you out!

    You could make your own fondant, as suggested by a previous board member. I personally think it's very expensive, but I can see the merits of using fondant if you live in a colder climate and your hives are spread out. If any of you watch the Food Channel's show Ace of Cakes, fondant is all they cover their cakes in. (For those that are curious about what the heck you do with the stuff).