WINTER FEEDING OF FONDANT MADE EASY

This is my suggestion for Tips & Tricks.

When you have finished feeding sugar syrup and you are going to feed fondant, then unless you are feeding a proprietory brand of findant such as 'Fondabee' which comes in seperate kilo bags, why not simply do the following:- INSTEAD of
a] cutting up bulk fondant into lumps and putting it into bags which is a sticky job, and then having to slice the side of your bag to allow the bees access and then [b] removing your syrup feeder and [c] placing the bag over the porter bee escape hole in your crown board WHY NOT do the following:-
[a] Make sausage out of your fondant by placing lumps of fondant cut from the block onto a strip of cling film and then [b] pull the cling filmcompletely over the fondant and roll it into a fat sausage [c] then open your hive leaving the feeder in place, [d] remove the lid on the empty feeder and place a length of your fondant sausage around the feeder. Fill as much of the feeder as you wish. Then [d] with a sharp knife slice open your sausage. Then [e] remove the plastic cone from the centre of the feeder and [f] replace the feeder lid, this leaves bee space between feeder cone lid. Your bees can get access into the feeder to feast on the fondant. Finally [g] put your feeder cone safely away for Spring feeds or if using the large 'English' feeders then store it in the corener of the feeder on its side with a dollop of fondant in it.

If  however when you open your hive and if you find your feeder is contaminated with black moulds, then remove it, temorarily cover the hole in the crown board with the feeder cone.  Remove the cone and  clean the feeder and replace it placing the cone in the centre again.

By adopting this method a normally sticky job can be reduced to an acceptable level. 

You can at this stage, ventilate your hive by placing a matchstick under the edge of the feeeder instead of under the edge of the crown board, this will safely ventilate hot damp air from the core of the bees.

Hoping this works for you as well as it has for me.

P.S. If you need to refill the feeder during the winter, lift the lid and just pop the cone back on to keep the bees down and the hive warm while you apply a new amount of fondant sausage, then remove the cone and replace the lid.
in Spring, if there is any fondant left in the feeder and if it is clean simply put on the cone and fill the reservoir with syrup replace the lid, the fondant will soon melt into the syrup.  

IF YOU TRY THIS THEN LEAVE A COMMENT USING THE MESSSAGE SECTION ON PAGE 1.

Thanks Graham (Editor)

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YOUR BEEKEEPING TIPS & TRICKS

French Hornet Guard. See guard bees lined up ready for trouble.
Photo by Michael Judd

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WHAT IS SUBLIMATION IN WINTER TREATING WITH OXALIC ACID

DIY Oxalic Acid
sublimation tool.
cost approx £5

Oxalic Acid is used to treat the hive to get rid of any remaining ''Varroa destructor mites' that  could be left after the autumn treatment.

            'Sublimation' in chemistry,  means a change of state from solid to gas                        without becoming a liquid.

In respect of sublimating oxalic acid, this method is an alternative to trickling oxalic acid in a [4%/water] liquid form over the frames containing bees in the brood box. 

HOW TO EASILY MAKE AN INEXPENSIVE  DIY SUBLIMATION TOOL.

ITEMS REQUIRED.

If you took a sharp intake of breath on seeing the commercial price at £100.00p from Thornes [M3080], then you can make a tool for about £5.00p.and it will last for years.

N.B. One item needed is the same for either , whether it be the DIY unit or, the posh commercially prduced unit, is a small easy to carrry 12v  battery - a 12v motorbike battery is the best.

*  One  12v Car Cup/Mug Hot Water Heater Element which is the main component [eBay  -      £1.50 to £3.00p].

*   Two crocodile clips to connec positive & negative wires the battery posts. [eBay -

£1.25 to-  £2.00 pair]

*   One  12" x 12" [100 x300mm]  piece of cooking foil. ( from the kitchen cupboard).

TIME TO CONSTRUCT 30 MINS. (see photo)

Method.

Simply remove the car lighter fitting off the end of the cables.

Take the cut off wire and pull the two wires apart to separate approx 300mm.

Clean the insulation off 10mm. of each wire.

Fix a crocodile clip onto each  of the wires (solder on if possible).

Fold your piece of foil into four.

Place the foil centrally over the circular element of the heater element then carefully and gently push the foil down into the element to make a 10mm deep cup. Wrap some of the surplus foil down the sides of the element and fold under to make sure the cup stays on the unit, any spare being cut off with scissors. 

An alternative powder holder is plumbers 22mm copper pipe stop end, pushed carefully into the heater coil.

USING THE HEATER.

When using the unit, for a single brood box, put about 1/3rd of a level tea spoon of oxalic acid powder into the foil cup . Next push the unit centrally into the space/entrance gap under the brood box. [If you can block off the gap each side ofthe unit this is better.         [ I use two strips of foam.]  

Next connect the battery to the two unit leads and the heater will get hot and the oxalic powder will sublimate and change to smoke and it will rise up through the hive treating the whole of the hives as it rises. [ Don't overtreat.]

You should have placed a matchstick under the crown board at the back to aid ventilation and help prevent condensation - so watch for smoke escaping the hive at the top , then simply disconnect the unit from the battery and remove it from the hive. "Job Done!" Time taken about one and a half to two minutes per hive. The bonus is the hive hasn't been opened so the bees stay warm!

WARNING. BEE VERY CAREFUL TO NOT INHALE THE SMOKE OR, GET IT INTO YOUR EYES.

Article by Graham Robinson & Dave Stanford.