Wednesday, November 18, 2015


After Austeja swarmed this fall, I vowed to show her some tough love and not feed her at all, but I caved today.

If the weather had turned chilly a month ago and forced the bees to cluster, maybe I would've kept my promise. However, overall, it's been unseasonably warm (50s-60s F). As a result, the bees have been flying, but they're not bringing in much nectar or pollen. Meanwhile, they're eating up their stores. 

At her last checkup in October, Austeja didn't have a whole lot of honey -- maybe 11 bars total, but they weren't completely full. The last 3 or 4 bars weren't capped, but I left them in there because there was still a little bit of brood, and I thought the bees might want to move that uncapped nectar after those bees had emerged.

We finally got a few chilly days all in a row (mid-40s F), so I took this as an opportunity to hang fondant thinking the bees would be clustered and less inclined to defend their hive. How wrong I was!!! As soon as I opened the hive, the scent of banana Laffy Taffy came pouring out, and I could see a bunch of bees in the back of the hive shifting that uncapped nectar. Two of those combs were completely empty actually.

I didn't go too far into the hive -- just to the first bar that was mostly nectar -- and hung the fondant up beside it. Maybe I should have hung it next to the first capped bar instead, but the thought of a more invasive look held very little appeal. Anyway, if this warm weather holds out much longer, the bees may eat a lot of that sugar anyway.

In years past, I've had issue with fondant absorbing too much moisture and falling to the bottom of the hive. This year, I used a trick someone shared on FaceBook and used an avocado bag to hang it. Another option, I guess, would've been to just smoosh the fondant directly into the empty comb. What's done is done, though. I'm not really expecting those bees to survive anyway, so fingers crossed.


  1. I'm going to try the mesh bag idea.

  2. Me too! I've used a manila folder sliced with some openings in the past, but this looks better. The one thing about the folder is that as the fondant gets eaten/breaks down, it holds the droppings whereas with the mesh bag, it will drop to the floor. Did you put another bar in that the bag is attached to? With the manila folder in my hives, I haven't but wondered if I'm eliminating too much bee space.

  3. I've had the same issue with the manila bag. Sometimes, it's gotten really soggy and just fallen apart, too.

    The fondant is pretty thick (about as thick as a bar of honey), so I attached it to an empty bar. Otherwise, it just wouldn't fit. :-)


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