We fed all 8 of our hives yesterday with fondant. We used something called "Fondabee". Instead of coming in a 12.5kg block that needs to be cut up into smaller chunks, Fondabee comes in 2.5kg blocks, each one ready wrapped. And to add to that, a section of the wrapping can be easily stripped off. This is a considerable improvement on the old system of chopping off a chunk of fondant, putting it into a plastic bag and then ripping open part of the bag to allow the bees to get to the fondant. My guess is that Fondabee has been invented by someone who is a beekeeper.
I have to confess that I am not a fan of the way commercial products are packaged. The packaging is excessive and eats up important resources which then enter our waste stream. Dealing with packaging is one of the biggest headaches for those responsible for disposing of waste. Something I have noticed since we started to go down the road of self-sufficiency is the big reduction in waste we put out for collection. Nevertheless, the way Fondabee is packaged is progress.
We did not do proper inspections of the hives but we got a good impression of their health. 6 of the hives are fine. 2 need to be watched closely. They could be candidates for merging with other hives in the new year.