Feeding Winter Bees: Fondant Patties Candy Board Recipe
Learn how to make candy boards, otherwise known as fondant patties, to feed your bees through the Winter and times when natural resources are scarce. Follow our simple guide to provide essential nutrition for your hive, ensuring healthy and thriving bees.
FUN FACT: Raw honey is 1-1/2 times sweeter than table sugar, but has many health benefits that sucrose does not.
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Welcome to the world of beekeeping and the simple task of making fondant patties, also known as candy boards, for your bees. This recipe is designed to help you provide essential nutrition for your hive's inhabitants.
Whether you're new to beekeeping or have some experience, our straightforward instructions will ensure your bees stay healthy during challenging times. By the end of this guide, you'll have a batch of fondant patties ready to feed your bee colony this Winter. Let's get started on this practical journey to help your pollinators thrive.
Feeding bees during winter is vital for their survival. During this season, natural food sources become scarce, making it challenging for bees to find nectar and pollen.
Providing supplemental food like fondant patties ensures that bees have the necessary energy and sustenance to maintain hive temperature and sustain the colony until spring.
Without this assistance, bee colonies can weaken or even perish during the cold months, which can have far-reaching ecological consequences due to their crucial role in pollination.
This recipe will yield approximately 3 patties, each weighing about 1.5 pounds, and you can easily make more as needed. As a general rule, one honeybee colony will consume about 1 candy board fondant patty per week.
• 4 pounds of granulated sugar
• 16 ounces of water
• 1/4 cup of bee pollen (optional)
• 2 tablespoons of HoneyB Healthy (optional)
• Candy thermometer
1. prepare the molds:
• With Molds: Before you start, get your molds ready. You can use paper plates, pie pans, or any flat, heat-proof pan that fits under a beehive lid. Lightly spray the mold with oil and place it on a flat surface.
• Without Molds: You don't have to use molds to make fondant patties. If you choose not to do so, you will need wax paper to pour the fondant mixutre on for cooling and to provide a non-stick surface for placing them on the hive.
2. Dissolve The Sugar:
• Pour the water into a large pot and heat it until it simmers.
• Add the granulated sugar and stir until it dissolves completely. If it doesn't dissolve, add a bit more water until it does.
• Once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn up the heat to medium-high. Do not stir anymore. Put in a candy thermometer.
3. boil the mixture:
• Let the mixture boil until the thermometer reads 234°F.
• Take the pot off the heat and let it cool until it reaches 210°F. You can check the temperature by dropping a bit of the syrup into a glass of cool water. When cool, the mixture should be slightly pliable and flatten between your fingers.
4. Beat The Mixutre
• When the syrup reaches 200 to 210°F, pour it into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or use a hand mixer.
• Beat the mixture slowly. As you beat it, the candy will change from clear to white and become crystallized. Keep beating until it's smooth and light in color.
5. Add optional ingredients:
When the candy's temperature reaches 175°F, you can add bee pollen, lemongrass or peppermint essential oils and HoneyB Healthy if you want. The pollen adds protein and fat, while the HoneyB Healthy has lemongrass and spearmint oils that attract bees and stimulate feeding.
6. Cool and Store:
• Divide the mixture onto dinner-sized paper plates or waxed paper and let it cool completely.
• Once it's cool, wrap the fondant in plastic or wax paper and store it in a cool, dry place for several weeks. If you want to keep it longer, wrap it well and place it in the freezer. Remember to remove it from the paper plate or mold before putting it in the beehive.
7. Fondant Patty Placement in Hive:
Put the fondant patty on top of the frames in the highest brood box of the hive. Make sure it's thin enough for the hive lid to close. Paper plates can help you gauge the right thickness.
If the patty reaches the box's edges, bees might not eat it all. The circular shape of a paper plate puts the patty in the center of the box, reducing waste around the edges.
Supporting bees through winter is critical to ensuring your honeybee colony doesn’t starve during this time but also come into Spring ready to build new bees for the new season. Crafting fondant patties for your bee colony is a valuable skill for any beekeeper.
These simple yet nourishing treats can make a significant difference in the well-being of your bees, especially during times when food sources may be scarce. Remember to store your patties properly and place them strategically in your hive for the best results. With your dedication and the nutritional support of these patties, your bee colony is well on its way to thriving.
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