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  • "Fondant" on the inspection board

  • Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
Beginners forum, ask beekeeping related questions and get help from other experienced beekeepers. Please use the Search Feature please to avoid duplicated threads
 #9481  by Andy_mac
 16 Nov 2020, 13:36
Hi Everyone,
In late September I put fondant on queen excluders (protected by a super and a transparent crown board) on both of my hives. There's still plenty of fondant left when I look through the transparent crown board.
I've put the inspection boards in ready for winter and when I checked the inspection boards today, one of them had a pool of sugary fluid.
The other had no evidence of sugary fluid.

Please can I have some advice?
 #9484  by AdamD
 16 Nov 2020, 15:26
It's possible that the fondant has absorbed moisture and dripped down.
 #9500  by Patrick
 17 Nov 2020, 15:19
Hi Andy

Had you fed syrup as well and how much fondant did you put on? I would normally have expected a lump of fondant to have been taken down in the ?? 6 - 7 weeks of mild weather we have had in my neck of the woods. Is the colony still going strong?

As Adam says, its possible condensation dripping on the block. It's not the best if it is dripping down through the brood nest and associated bees. If the combs are already full of food and nowhere to store the fondant, I would be minded to peel back the fondant and see if they are making any headway with it. If the hive is still heavy and there are plenty of bees, I would consider just removing the fondant for a while, popping it into a plastic bag and maybe waiting to February to see if they really need it? I once had a lump of fondant directly on the top bars melting down on the cluster below and it didn't help them much..
 #9522  by Andy_mac
 24 Nov 2020, 08:31
Hi Patrick,
I put a box of bakers fondant into each hive. I looked through the poly crown board yesterday and they're taken about a quarter of it. The colony's are in poly hives and they feel heavy, I guess if the bees haven't taken down any more since September, they must be out of storage space. It'll be 10 degrees here today (the warmest for the next week at least), so I'll take the remaining fondant off and store like you suggested.
Thanks for the advice!
 #9523  by Patrick
 24 Nov 2020, 09:10
No worries Andy

If you seal it in a plastic bag it should last pretty indefinitely, certainly next winter if you don’t use it this.

I keep tipping up one side occasionally (“hefting”) over winter and spring to monitor how they are doing. Typically around here they lighten up In late winter as they start building for spring.
 #9528  by MickBBKA
 25 Nov 2020, 01:42
You could just leave the fondant on. Although some colonies won't touch it others will use it first before uncapping liquid stores. I suppose it depends on how confident you are that they have enough stores to get into spring. I sometimes wonder if its better to give them fondant now while its still quite warm and preserve their own stores rather than feed it later when its colder and they find it harder to use.
Not sure if we give this enough thought given climate change rather than relying on old methods from a different climate era.

Cheers, Mick.
 #9531  by The Poot
 25 Nov 2020, 20:32
Take a look at “the apiarist” website - he discusses fondant becoming sloppy. His take on it is that it can happen if the inspection boards are left in place creating a warmer, more humid atmosphere in the hive. Leave the board out and there’s no problem. I had the same issue a few weeks ago with one colony as the board was in place for varroa checking. I removed it and the issue went away.
 #9534  by Patrick
 26 Nov 2020, 10:19
Good point Poot. I normally overwinter on OMFs without inspection boards in place, for just that reason. I used to use solid floors (secondhand) when I started and that’s the last time I remember encountering mouldy outer frames in occupied hives.

If there is a puddle of syrup on the inspection board then it has to still be in place and could indeed be causing the dripping fondant issue. One might expect if the bees needed it they would be taking advantage and lapping up the wet fondant so it is probably safe to assume they don’t need it just at the mo.

You have incidentally very usefully just reminded me that the temporary blocking off of floors for my rotational summer treatment with Apiguard is still in place - thanks 👍! Out of curiosity, I may leave some in place and remove others.
 #9634  by Andy_mac
 22 Dec 2020, 16:00
I checked on the hives today and the inspection boards had standing water on them.
Everything I've read says that bees can deal with the cold, but not moisture.
Its pretty wet here (border of the peaks) to I removed the boards and will see how they get on.
I had a peek under the roof last week (the hives are poly and have clear crown boards) and there was only a little condensation at the edges furthest away from the cluster so I'm not too concerned.

Hopefully they'll appreciate the better ventilation...
 #9636  by Alfred
 22 Dec 2020, 16:56
I had boards ' in' last year and the hives were sodden
This year no boards.
It's equally damp weather (I'm having to winch my van out after unloading ) but the hives are nice and dry with no condensation under the perspex.
There been around a dozen sharp frosts too so far and most of the colonies seem to be starting to gain already without the insulation wraps I've made ready.
Definitely ditch the boards.