If you are overwintering an Apidea you will need to keep a close eye on the stores – especially in a mild winter when the queen may start to lay early. This one in the picture above has a double brood box and was well stocked with ivy honey in autumn but it felt a bit light so I fed it today. If you are wondering why the air vent is left open – that’s because they have it completely propolised and I don’t want to leave the front door wide open.
Here’s what to do with the feed though:
Get a spare roof…
… and pack the roof cavities with fondant.
Remove the roof from your hungry Apidea…
… and fold back the the little flap in the crownboard.
Quickly put the spare, fondant-packed roof in its place and replace the brick. The bees will access the fondant through the feed hole and eat their way through the galleries and channels in the roof which holds about 150g or 6oz of fondant.
Another alternative might be to remove the crownboard altogether but I haven’t tried that yet and wonder if the fondant might ooze down into the cluster?
Keep an eye on it:
- If the bees are using the fondant you will see water carriers unless it is very cold in which case they will use very little.
- If the weather is mild and the bees are active you might want to check it but give it a couple of weeks and bear in mind – when you lift the roof this time, the crownboard will almost certainly be stuck to it so there will be disturbance. Choose a mild day and be ready to prise it off with your hive-tool. Have a spare crownboard and the other roof at hand – packed with more fondant or Neopoll if we’re into February.
- Neopoll is a pollen supplement with a similar consistency to the fondant but more like marzipan – it’s delicious!
- If it still feels heavy – leave it alone;
- Do not feed syrup in the winter – the bees will not be able to ripen it.
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