If your bees have not stored sufficient honey for the winter, fondant is the next best thing to feed them during these cold months.
You can set a candy board above the top brood box for good accessibility for the bees, and below the quilt box, which is filled with insulating material. To allow ventilation, break the solid candy into separate pieces.
Here is a quick and easy way to make a small batch of fondant. This amount should be good for one hive for supplemental feeding both going into winter, and during winter.
WINTER FONDANT RECIPE
The ingredients are simple, as follows:
I will not go into the chemistry that this process includes, but in effect, you will be making candy by separating sucrose (table sugar) into its constituent sugars of glucose and fructose. The small amount o vinegar is essential to make this chemical reaction happen.
You need a somewhat tall, but medium-small pot (I am using a 3 qt stainless steel pot) and a long-handled spoon.
Put all the ingredients into the pot and start the flame at medium. Heat this mixture slowly with constant stirring, 15-18 minutes. Monitor constantly with a candy thermometer.
The mixture will bubble up at about 225ᵒF, so be ready to stir this away. Heat the mixture until it reaches about 240ᵒF and continue to stir constantly for 15-18 minutes.
The mixture will become more viscous. When it does, take the pot off the stove and begin to cool the mixture by beating with a kitchen whisk or slotted spoon. Optional lemon grass oil or honey can be added at this time.
The mix will become white and very thick. Once the temperature reaches 180ᵒ to 190ᵒ, pour the fondant out onto a cookie sheet covered with a piece of parchment or wax paper and allow it to cool, pressing it down to a thickness of ½ inch.
Cut the soft fondant into usable sizes with a serrated knife. Voila!