Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Feeding the bees for winter

I have been feeding the bees sugar syrup using ashford feeders that sat on top of the brood box. 

But as this photo shows, it was causing damp and mould. This is a photo of the underneath of the roof.

And another photo of the feeder it self. A worrying amount of mould and the damp in the hive can be dangerous for the bees during the winter.

I decided to make up a few kilos of fondant to replace the syrup. It is made by heating up water on the range and dissolving sugar, glucose and a small amount of icing sugar to form a firm paste.

I took off all the feeders and replaced them with crown boards. I spread plenty of fondant on the boards. The bees immediately started to feed on the fondant. I hope that this reduces the moisture level of the hives.

I then installed the last of the floors. I will add insulation into the roof cavity in the next few weeks; a pillow case filled with straw or sawdust. This should prevent heat loss and condensation building up.

It is still quiet warm here and the bees are flying every day. Temperature are about 16-18*c during the day. 
One of the hives will not make it through the winter as it failed to re-queen successfully. It has a laying worker with a large amount of drones. Due to the small amount of workers, there is no point in merging it with another hive. Earlier in August I had given it several brood frames to give it a chance to sort itself out but these also failed. I don't want to risk my good hives by trying to save this one.

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