Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fondant for the Bees

As part of the winterization of my hive, which seems silly considering it's going to be in the 70's today (I know, it's a fluke), I made fondant boards for the bees.

Most of the information about making candy boards or fondant for the bees is for Warre or Langstroth hives. There isn't as much about top bar hives out there, at least not yet! Anyway, some searching online a while back made it clear that since I couldn't put the sugar or fondant on the top of the bars, I needed to have or make some kind of frame and put the fondant inside. That way, they could hang with the combs. First I went back to the company which made the hive. I purchased 2 combiner boards which look like false backs but with a big hole cut out of them. These are generally used to combine two colonies in one hive. I thought I could repurpose them for candy boards.

Next, I scored some wire mesh from Lisa who had some left over from a project. I had been thinking about getting the fondant into the holes on the boards and then putting the wire over on each side afterwards but she suggested using it more like rebar. An excellent idea! I stapled the mesh to one side of each board, like so:
This morning I made fondant based upon this recipe: How to Make Fondant From Table Sugar. I cut the recipe by 1/4 so I used 2.5 pounds of sugar, plus 1 cup of water and 3/4 tsp. of lemon juice.
Once the syrup had cooled to 200 degrees, I added a teaspoon of the bee essential oil mixture and put it in the stand mixer for a while, until it was white and smooth. Then I poured the fondant into the two molds. The amount I made was perfect for the 2 boards, which I had hoped would be the case but one never can tell.
When it's time for me to put the insulation panels on, in about a month, I'll pop these in as well.

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