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Question about winter "clustering"


I noticed my bees are not really clustered that much…but, rather, all sandwiched in between the combs in groups…

is this a good sign? a sign of things to come for a poor winter?

am i just a paranoid first year beekeeper?

also, i want to make fondant to feed them…i suspect their supplies might be getting low…i did leave in 18 combs…but some had larvae and eggs…

how do i get the fondant to them? or sugar water?

thanks so much for any help!!!


Their clustering in groups between combs is normal. Do you have any idea how much honey is in the hive? I usually do a final inspection in September/early October of all combs, hefting them as I go to get an estimate. If you’ve not done that yet, it may be too cold at this point. In your location 40-60lbs is probably the right amount…but this can vary dramatically depending on the genetics of the bees, the size of the cluster, etc.

At this point it’s probably too cold to feed liquid. You will need to feed hard candy/fondant.

I don’t feed fondant, but this site covers one method of making it: http://www.bamboohollow.com/fondant-recipe.php

Many of our customers who do feed fondant in horizontal top bar hives will set it on a thin piece of cardboard and slide it under the bees…or as close to them as you can get it.





Thank you sir for the response and thank you, again, for your wonderful business and forum.

I did a “final” inspection of the bees, the comb and winterized the hive…i left in 17 bars…all of which had honey on them and only two had brood.

i would guesstimate there was at least 80-90 lbs left for them…even if i’m off by a 10 lbs…i still feel was not greedy in the harvest and left them a good amt.

i will continue to just check on them and make sure they’re doing well and if need be i’ll make some fondant and get it to em!!!

thanks for the recipe. much obliged.

take care




Awesome! Sounds like they’ve got some good stores.




just an update…

  1. it’s been way too cold to even think about opening and putting in the fondant…

  2. gladly…thankfully…no need to open up i keep checking on the clustering and the bees…they’re still alive and still abundant…i take this as a good sign of a healthy hive…i check on em through the window about every 2-3 days…i don’t want to bother or expose any draft…

  3. most likely they have sufficient stores and won’t need fondant…but i’ll make some just in case!

thanks again matt for the help