Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

BEEKEEPING LEARNING CENTER => GENERAL BEEKEEPING - MAIN POSTING FORUM. => STICKIED POSTS => Topic started by: buzzbee on January 30, 2012, 05:21:22 pm

Title: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: buzzbee on January 30, 2012, 05:21:22 pm
Many of us are having an extremely mild winter with hives getting light way too early.There are a few different methods for applying feed.
Robo has a link here for a sugar brick: (
And Ray Marler describes the Camp method in a reply here:

See reply 7 here by Ray Marler:,23695.0.html (,23695.0.html)
And this video also  explains the dry sugar method employed by Mountain Camp: (

If any one has other methods I will sticky this topic,as this seems to be a widespread situation this year.

Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: Poppi on January 30, 2012, 05:30:17 pm
Thanks Buzzbee...   great timing!!!   will look at the info...    John
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: PeeVee on February 05, 2012, 03:42:37 am
I saw this last year for a fondant with marshmallows.

I forget were and who was the original poster.

Mashmallow Fondant
This is the Fondant that Tommy Nelson made for us last night, needless to say I was VERY impressed with the results. Here is his Blog, 

•         1 lb of small marshmallows
•         2 lbs of powdered sugar
•         4 table spoons of water (or maybe 3 tbs of water and 1 tbs of Honey Bee Healthy)
•         A little Crisco

1.       Grease a large bowl and a wooden spoon with Crisco to keep the mix from sticking
2.       Add 1lb of marshmallows in a large bowl
3.   Add 2 lbs of powdered sugar in a separate bowl for easy pouring later
4.       Heat the marshmallows for 1 min 30 seconds in the microwave.
5.    Add 4 tbs of water to the melted marshmallows
6.       Knead the marshmallows into a ball in the bowl with the wooden spoon while mixin in the powdered sugar.
7.       Grease an area/table with Crisco to keep the mixture from sticking
8.   Grease your hands with Crisco
9.       Knead the ball on the table with your hands when the mix starts to cling to the side of the bowl
10.    Roll the finished ball on wax paper and cut to size (about the size of a pollen patty)
             11.     Place on the top bars of your hives

Cost = About $4
Time = About 10 minutes for about 4 hives…

Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: Poppi on February 13, 2012, 07:37:17 pm
Don't think smellows and PS with cornstarch is a good idea??
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: Bleemus on February 13, 2012, 08:28:42 pm
I have heard that powdered sugar from the store has corn starch in it to prevent clumping and is harmful to bees.  You need to find a source for baker's sugar which doesn't have it.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: diggity on February 21, 2012, 04:22:59 pm
I'm still kind of a newbeek, so please nobody listen to what I say.  But I put an empty deep super above the inner cover in the fall and on warm days I've been checking/adding sugar syrup (mixed as thick as I can get it) with a Boardman feeder inside the empty deep.  They seem to be taking it down and doing fine so far.  But then I read feeding sugar syrup in winter can cause dysentery!?  I hope I didn't give the girls the poops!  But like I said they seem to be doing quite well this winter.

By contrast, I lost 5 hives last winter, all apparently to starvation.  I just remember last winter thinking that if I had an empty super as a feeding chamber up top, I might have been able to get emergency food to them and they might not have starved.  So I made sure to put the deep up top this fall.  I'm actually wondering if anyone has ever taken this to the next level insulated their feeding chamber?  In other words, cut pieces of styrofoam insulation and line the inside of the feeding chamber with it.  You could even replace the wooden inner cover with a replacement made of styrofoam insulation.  This might give them a nice warm place to hang out and have a mid winter snack.  Anyone ever tried this?
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: libhart on February 28, 2012, 12:59:09 am
I put a piece of blue foam board EPS on top of the inner cover.  The foam had a hole cut to match the cover.  Then on top of that went a medium I'd cut in half.  Then on top of that medium went another piece of foam, then the outer cover.  Then I put foam around the whole hive (including this top box) and held it on by wrapping it in roof felt.  I know, I know, totally overboard and nuts...but I think on those uber cold nights, even though there weren't that many this year, the girls didn't have to work as hard to keep warm.  I'll do it all again next year.  The upper box is now where I have a big chunk of fondant which is being eaten rapidly on some hives, only picked at on others.  Another reason I did this was even though the notch in the inner cover was providing some ventilation, I wanted that inner cover hole to have a nice outlet for moist air to go, and if it then condensed on the foam that was right under the top cover, very little would drip back on the bees, it'd just drip back down into that top area.  One more detail...I did all this in early November and we still had flying days.  I didn't want the bees doing much in that top box, so I used a little piece of hardware cloth to cover the inner cover hole, and put it between the inner cover and the foam.  That kept the bees out of the top area until I was ready for them to be there a couple weeks ago, but allowed that moist air to get up there all winter.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: hoxbar on May 19, 2012, 10:34:37 pm
Thanks for posting this.  We had a really mild winter and a very bad summer.  Im sure this all played a roll in me losing over half of my bee hives.  I wondered why they were eating so much.  NEver thought about a mild winter playing a roll.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: buzzbee on January 12, 2013, 10:56:39 am
With nice weather this weekend in the NE it might be a good time to bump this.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: little john on January 13, 2013, 09:49:29 am
I ran overhead (inverted jar feeder) syrup for much longer than usual going into winter, as it was going down so well into an August swarm. When the uptake rate slowed down I swopped over to overhead 'dry' (well, damp) sugar in the same jars - that's also going down well.

As I see it - there's no need to make, or buy extra kit. With pierced lids, run syrup. Without the lids, the jars can be used for sugar, candy, fondant or pollen patties. (Even mix 'n' match)  1 to 4 jars, depending on rate of uptake:


Top right hole has a 15mm dia vent installed during a period of very warm weather - now bunged-up as it's turned VERY cold.

Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: greg755 on April 18, 2013, 08:09:23 pm
I put an inner cover on top of the supers then a medium empty super on that with the telescoping lid.  I also put a brick over the hole in the inner cover to cover up the hole.   In the middle of winter I just take of the telescoping cover and remove the brick to see if the bees are clustered at the top.  If they are I dump in a bunch of fondant right over the hole of the inner cover.  If they are not I just put the brick back over the hole and the top cover back on.   Very little disturbance to the hive very little heat loss.  Oh and I vent the inner cover with a penny on the two front corners.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: andrewjones on April 21, 2015, 02:23:20 pm
I have had excellent results feeding winter hives with fondant.(http://[attachment=0][/attachment]).  Coat the fondant with pollen substitute and place it into plastic bags.  Cut a vee in the side of the bag that will face the frames.  Place the bags on top of sticks to give the bees crawl space.  Use a two inch shim on top of stack and fill the empty space around the fondant/pollen patties with grain bags, bubble wrap etc.  This will prevent the bees from using the sugars to build wax.   Lastly, place a piece of blue foam board on top of the shim.  I put the foam board in an oversized zip lock bag to prevent the bees from chewing it.
Title: Re: Mild winter lite hives:Emergency feeding
Post by: OldMech on April 22, 2015, 10:46:20 am
Good plan!
   I have found that if it is cold the bees dont build wax, and they dont chew my insulation..  the only time I would have problems with either is if I left them on too far into spring.