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Wintertime Prep / Candy Board - How To

Below I will offer you information on how Greg Carey makes his overwinter candy boards and arranges them on the hives. Please know there are as many different techniques to add extra food as there are beekeepers. I do it a little differently mostly because I have 30+ colonies going into the winter this year. That is a lot of shims and sugar friends. I try to make it as easy on myself as I can. I use a medium hive body typically--sometimes a deep if I run low as a surround on the top of the hive. I put dry sugar in the rapid feeder and remove the inner cone then replace the top cover. Then I will often add burlap or crumpled newspaper to offer some insulation and moisture wicking. Then a winter hive wrap and the top cover and I'm done. I will check in on them once or twice a month if the weather is decent. Even checking in cold weather just for food on top isn't necessarily a bad thing. The way I look at it--If I do nothing and they die, I will beat myself up for not doing that extra thing. If I do the things I know I can do and still they die, well, its not because I didn't do everything I could.

Here is Greg's method...Remember to K.I.S.S. ( keep it simple silly)

Candy is a good way to make up the shortage (less than 1 frame of stores for 1 frame of bees) to get you through the Winter. I use to make fondant with the recipe found in "The Hive and The Honey Bee". Now I make fluffy fondant. It's much easier and just as effective. You simply mix one cup of cold water with ten pounds of sugar. Once it is thoroughly mixed spoon it into your candy board. My candy boards are boxes about 2 to 3 inches high with a 1/2 inch hardwire cloth bottom. I cover the wire with wax paper before spooning in the candy. I then scratch the wax paper before placing on the top of the hive. The candy board actually performs three functions. The obvious is that is provides food for the bees. It also acts as a layer of insulation on top. Lastly, the sugar absorbs any moisture that rises to the top due to aspiration. That's why I do not bother put a hole in the candy. That trapped moisture helps the bees to consume the candy. So, you see that a candy board can be used even when you think you have plenty of stores. Don't worry. That unused candy can be put into warm water in the Spring and turned into a thin syrup to get your bees started raising young brood. It won't go to waste.

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