After weeks and weeks of doing nothing, I made some fondant for the bees yesterday. I think it was about 2 pounds, and it took a little over an hour to make because I had no idea what I was doing. Today I went down to the garage and looked through the empty hive boxes I have, to see if there were any frames with decent honey stores on them. I found two, and brought them upstairs to warm in front of the fire. While the frames warmed up I went outside and moved our compost and recycling bins over to make a windbreaker in front of the hive. After about ten minutes, when the honey was starting to run out of some of the cracks in the wax, I suited up and took the fondant and 2 frames outside. I took the Warre hive box off of the top of the hive, and removed the empty plastic container I had been using to feed the bees sugar water late last November (ish?). I was glad to find the bees were unhappy to see me, and a few flew out of the telescoping cover’s hole to investigate. I quickly removed the telescoping cover and then covered the bees with the burlap from the Warre box.
There were 3 or 4 frames of bees present, and they were more to the left of the hive (the north side), which is more protected from the wind. I removed two empty frames from the right side as quickly as I could, and then placed the frames with some honey stores on the right next to the brood nest. I removed the burlap cloth from over the bees, and replaced it with the fondant. I anticipate having to feed them again soon. I’m really glad they’ve made it this long though. There were a lot of dead bees on the mesh wire at the bottom of the hive, and the ground around the entrance was littered with them. There were several bees that landed on me while I was working and I tried to place as many as I could back into the entrance. The high today was 48, and it was windy out, so the bees weren’t too happy to be outside. Judging by the cluster’s size though, I definitely needed to feed them. I’m not sure how long it will take them to get through the fondant. It was maybe a centimeter thick, and was about the size of a dinner plate. The cluster was a little oddly shaped, so the fondant rested on a couple of empty frames. I had it rest on the frames I had just added to try and entice the girls to move over there.
I really hope they make it! The cluster seemed so small. This fondant may be too little too late. We’ll see!