Feeding BeesFondant or syrup? Fondant has advantages over syrup:
- Fondant is easier to store - it does not spill.
- Fondant does not need special feeders.
- Syrup feeders have to be stored for most of the year - they are only used for about 3 months.
- There is no spillage from fondant so there are fewer wasps.
- Feeding fondant does not increase humidity in the hive - feeding syrup does.
Maisemore and also from Simon the Beekeeper.
Other suppliers are available.
Some advise that you need 12.5kg of baker's fondant per hive.
Invert or non-invert sugar
- Table sugar is sucrose which is a disaccharide.
- It is made of two ("di") sugars ("saccharides") - glucose and frutcose.
- Sucrose is glucose and frutcose loosely bonded.
- If the sucrose is split it is invert sugar.
- It is easily split by heating in presence of acid.
- Acids may include lemon juice and cream of tartar.
- Bees can do this in their stomachs. They do not require us to split the sugar.
- Some argue invert sugar is easier for bees to digest.
- A naturally occurring organic acid.
- Toxic to bees in laboratory conditions.
- Formed by the dehydration of frutcose.
- Thus the more frutcose in the feed means more chance of HMF.
- Heating syrup or honey increases amount of HMF.
- Use less heat making fondant or syrup to produce less HMF.
- Do not use acid in the fondant recipe.
- Cream of tartar is an acid not a cream!
- More details of HMF can be found here.
- Also more details in "The Apiarist".
- An article on HMF and bees is to be found in Bee Culture.
- Commercial fondant may contain corn syrup or flavours.
- You can control how long it is heated for and to what temperature.
- Always use white granulated sugar.
- Anything else can cause digestive upsets in bees.
- Bees do not mind whether it is from sugar beet or sugar cane.
- Heat the syrup as little as possible to avoid forming HMF
- Do not add acid to any of the recipes.
1kg of white granulated sugar into l litre of water.
At this concentration there is no need to heat it at all. It just takes a bit longer to dissolve.
Syrup for bees in the autumn. (Heavy syrup)
1kg of white granulated sugar into 0.5 litres of water.
This may need to be warmed to dissolve the sugar but avoid boiling it.
Fondant for bees in the winter
- Boil 500ml of water.
- Add 2kg white granulated sugar.
- Boil briskly with the lid off till temperature rises to 114C
- Allow it to cool to 93C in a sink or cold water.
- Whisk to incorporate as much air as you can.
- Pour into molds (I use small plastic boxes costing £1 from a well known store.)
- Allow to cool.
- Place on the hive - still in the same container -on top of crown board.