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Author Topic: Best Feeder  (Read 2976 times)
BlueBee
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« on: September 21, 2011, 08:28:59 PM »

I’ve been experimenting with various feeder designs again.  I guess I like to tinker Smiley

I’m curious to what everybody else is using for feeders this fall and why?  So let’s hear your best feeder stories.
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 08:33:19 PM »

big jars with holes poked in the top. cheap and i can see what they have taken.
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 08:50:42 PM »

Inner cover with four holes (one in each corner) for mason jars. Can monitor their intake.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 05:18:23 AM by rail » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 09:05:54 PM »

If you can do wood working, you can't beat making a miller feeder.  Or buy a top feeder. Top feeders are bad in the spring, but in the fall they can suck down gallons in days.  Plus you can refill them without bothering the bees and with a minimum of effort.

All the ways work, they all have positives and negatives .

A frame feeder will go through gallons fast, but then you are opening the hive.  Containers/jars with holes can leak, and you have to have an empty box and face the bees when checking and refilling.  I find jars work  best in the spring, because it is right over the cluster.  You can also do things like baggie feeders.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 09:13:54 PM »

If you can do wood working, you can't beat making a miller feeder.  Or buy a top feeder. Top feeders are bad in the spring, but in the fall they can suck down gallons in days.  Plus you can refill them without bothering the bees and with a minimum of effort.

That says it all.  We use Miller top feeders.  They work better in the south where low syrup temperature is not such a problem.   You can feed large amounts without disturbing the bees.  


For colder climates,you can just pour syrup into empty drawn comb and stick those in the hive.  It's a little messy and takes more work than a Miller feeder.

Another easy way to feed is to just put a tub of syrup about 100 yds from your hives (so you don't set off robbing).  Put some twigs and sticks in the syrup so the bees have a place to land.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 09:30:03 PM by FRAMEshift » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 09:21:08 PM »

Advantages to a bottom board feeder:
1) free
2) can be filled without opening the hive
3) can be stacked up (for nucs this is nice for overwintering)
4) did I mention they are free?  You have to buy a bottom board anyway right?

http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom

Disadvantages:
They still drown as many bees as a frame feeder.
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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 09:40:19 PM »

Why not feed dry sugar all the time?
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 04:34:00 AM »

I often do.  It's just not treated the same and while it will keep them from starving it does not elicit the same responses.  It doesn't stimulate brood rearing, it isn't stored like honey, but it is eaten when they run out of food.



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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 12:00:20 PM »

i just finished a copy of Kelly's two jar feeder. made out of scraps and extra quart mason jars.(we can and milk goats) So I guess my cost would be free also.  cool
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 12:08:40 PM »

I use in-hive top feeders in the spring and fall. I also dry feed in the late fall to help 'fatten' the girls for winter. So far, so good.  -Mike
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 11:28:18 AM »

I started my bees with a jar in an entrance feeder.  They would eat about a quart a week. 
moved it to the inside of the hive with as a top feeder.  Again about a quart a week.
This last week I put 2 quarts with sticks in them out next to a post that I keep filled with water for the bees.  1/2 gallon in about 5 hours.  next day the same.  I guess my bees are foragers and would prefer to fly 20 yards to eat the syrup instead of just moving to a part of the hive to get it.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 11:44:54 AM »

I started my bees with a jar in an entrance feeder.  They would eat about a quart a week. 
moved it to the inside of the hive with as a top feeder.  Again about a quart a week.
This last week I put 2 quarts with sticks in them out next to a post that I keep filled with water for the bees.  1/2 gallon in about 5 hours.  next day the same.  I guess my bees are foragers and would prefer to fly 20 yards to eat the syrup instead of just moving to a part of the hive to get it.
Depends on what's going on in the hive.  If you have lots of foragers and not many house bees,  they will take more from an open feeder.  But if you didn't have many foragers and there are lots of unemployed house bees, the inside feeders would do better.  And it all depends on whether you have empty comb to put the stores in.
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 12:35:26 PM »

.
i bought 25 years ago wide feeding box. Dimensions are same as langstroth box and it is 4 inch high. The volume is eight litre.

I have a thin board between the box and the hive. Otherwise bees glue the box with burr.

Is it free? Yes, because no harms and after these years cost is zero.

At night wide bottom get heat from the hive. If  it is near freezing point, couple of sheet from newspaper keep the box warm under outer cover.
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rober
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2011, 12:57:25 PM »

i've been using division board feeders. right now i have them in an empty super on top of the inner cover. i can pop the outer cover & fill them with minimal disturbance in the hive. the kelley feeders come with bent hdwe cloth that the bees can use for ladders. a lot of bees were drowning so i switched to 3/4"x3/4"
sticks for floats. fewer drowned bees that way
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ccar2000
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2011, 07:02:34 PM »

As a hobbyist I don't mind the expense of hive top feeders.
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« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2011, 07:37:44 PM »

I filled gallon frame feeders yesterday at one pm, today when I put mite treatments on some had already drank ever drop while a few did not even know it was there apparently.  I have a couple hive top feeders that hold four gallons.  Those were half empty in 24 hours.  Inverted jars, hardly a dent in them.  I find the only way to make inverted jars work is to have at least four or five on one hive at a time.

I really like the bottom board feeder idea.  I was thinking about the Minnesota bottom feeder idea.  Its like bushs idea but it uses screen bowed in the bottom so the bees have to got to edges to drink and save on drowning.

At the moment, same as every fall, I wish I had all hive top feeders.  Bottom board feeders would work well too, Im going to give them serious thought for next season.
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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 09:17:59 AM »

My vote, is for the miller feeder also. Problem is buying one for every hive I have. I have enough for half of them and have to feed, move, feed .
I gave open feeding another shot this fall with a few five gallon chicken waterer's (Tractor Supply) . Placed a piece of thick rope in the tray, works like a wick and keeps bee's from drowning. They empty them in no time at all.
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 09:57:08 AM »

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My feeders are just like Millers but they are plastic.

I need not better. They do not leak and they are easy to keep clean.
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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2011, 08:47:27 PM »

I use a entrance feeder but put it on the back of the hive. This keeps me out of the flight pattern of the bees when I'm refilling the feeder.  I have also used a top cover feeder temporarily to feed with which works well.  Again easy to refill without having to suit up.

I have never understood open feeding and don't think it is efficient use of sugar water to boost my hives.  I have set out some old sugared frames and observed that the yellow jackets forage earlier in the morning and later in the evening than my bees as it gets colder at night.   
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2011, 08:52:39 PM »

A nice big field of flowers.   evil   grin grin
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2011, 11:32:38 PM »

My bottom board feeder is just like a miller feeder except it's shallow, free and on the bottom.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2011, 11:36:04 PM »

Quote
I have never understood open feeding and don't think it is efficient use of sugar water to boost my hives.

works well in spring, but the yellowjackets are a problem in fall.  for spring feeding i like it because i can mix up gallons and not have to go hive to hive to fill feeders.
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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2011, 03:36:02 AM »

If you want your hives to be robbed by other bees, yellow jackets, ants etc., use a Boardman. Do yourself a favor, cut your losses and don't use them. Go to Home Depot and buy the 2.5 quart clear plastic "Versa-Tainer" paint buckets with lids. Wash buckets and lids when you get home. Polk holes in the lid with a small nail, fill it with syrup, turn it upside down and place it on top of your frames using two 3/8 inch shims. Place an empty medium super on to protect it, inner cover them top cover.

Or, place the upside down bucket on top of the hole in your inner cover using shims, medium super then top cover;

Or, cut a larger hole the size of the bucket lid in your inner cover, staple #8 hardware cloth to cover the hole, place bucket over the hole, then medium super then top cover. That way the bees will feed through the hardware cloth to the bucket lid and you can re-fill without disturbing the bees sticking to the lid or flying up in your face. You don't have to worry about burr comb with this option. It's a little more work modifying the inner cover but it's the easiest in the long run for me.
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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2011, 03:58:08 PM »

I have wooden Miller top feeders...  The plastic ones look like they would last longer, but on examination at my local supplier more of them had poorly attached screen that would allow bees to get through and drown.  So I stick with wood.  They mildew pretty fast, but that doesn't seem to bother the bees.

One solution to cope with not having enough feeders, if you're a hobbyist, is to pick a couple of your strongest hives and feed them like mad, adding more frames as needed.  Then distribute the stores (ideally after it's capped) among your weaker hives.  Fewer feeders needed and strong hives store syrup faster than weaker ones.
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« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2011, 04:42:16 PM »

I have been using the upside down jar method (with holes poked in the lid)
This works fine except I have to refill the 3 times per week and they are a 40 minute drive away!
I wanted to create a larger feeder, one that holds 2 or 3 litres, so I tried some dollar store 2 litre jugs, poked the tiny holes but it won't hold the sugar water. It just runs straight through the holes.
So then I tried the largest coffee can I could find, thinking that it has to be metal. The 1kg can doesn't work either! I am looking for a container that will work, but it must be a container that I can refill from the top end without removing from the top cover hole.
The reason is, that everytime I remove the old jar and place a new one on, I squish about a dozen bees. I don't like this as this happens 3 times each week!
Why won't the larger containers work? My holes are barely through the metal. Or, what other easy, large, cheap container will work?
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« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2011, 06:01:15 PM »

Algonam;  Try placing shims under your inverted jars.  Its always worked for me.  No squashed bees.  Read back a few posts and you'll see some other methods for those who have to travel to bee yards.  Many years ago we used new (unused) paint cans.  You can fit four "shimmed' gallons in a deep super that way. 

thomas
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« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2011, 07:54:09 PM »

Quote
I have never understood open feeding and don't think it is efficient use of sugar water to boost my hives.

works well in spring, but the yellowjackets are a problem in fall.  for spring feeding i like it because i can mix up gallons and not have to go hive to hive to fill feeders.

I'm open feeding right now.  There are a few yellowjackets and other wasps around but they are not a significant issue.  If you are feeding 100 yds from a beeyard with several hives in it, your bees will outnumber other insects at the feeder by many, many times. 

Foragers returning to the hive and delivering syrup stimulate wax production.  This is not so necessary in the spring because even internal feeding will stimulate wax.  But i the fall I think open feeding works better to get new comb built.  If you only have one hive and you are feeding in the spring, I would use a top feeder.  If you have many hives in a dearth or in the fall, open feeding is safer since it will not start robbing.  If it also stimulates wax, then its a very good idea.
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« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2011, 10:05:01 PM »

I have not seen anyone mention this type feeder yet.  I take 1/2 gal plastic jars and drill 1/4 inch holes(2) in the top rim of the jar,where the threads are.  Keep the holes within the area covered by the height(or depth) if the lid.  The ones I use, the lids are about 1/2 inch high.  Now fill the jar, put the lid on and invert it on the inner cover (of course with an empty super and cover on top).  The syrup fills the lip of the lid and it works like a chick waterer.  The bees line up around the jar and can empty it in a few hours when really taking syrup. 

You can do the same with plastic tubs with snap on lids (yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, etc.), you just have to adjust the size of the holes so they are not higher than the rim of the inverted lid.

I also tried some of the cheep storage containers available at any grocery store.  Holes can be melted in the lid with a heated paperclip for those without tools.  Fill, snap on the lid, and invert over the inner cover hole.  These tend to drip more until that vaccum is formed that holds the syrup in, but work great.

Jim
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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2011, 02:49:27 AM »

I tried some dollar store 2 litre jugs, poked the tiny holes but it won't hold the sugar water. It just runs straight through the holes.
So then I tried the largest coffee can I could find, thinking that it has to be metal. The 1kg can doesn't work either! I am looking for a container that will work, but it must be a container that I can refill from the top end without removing from the top cover hole.
Why won't the larger containers work? My holes are barely through the metal. Or, what other easy, large, cheap container will work?

If you open up the opposite end of the container to fill it, you will lose the vacuum and all the remaining syrup will run out.  shocked
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« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2011, 06:28:30 AM »

Grandpa Jim:  gonna have to at least try your method of drilling holes on the sides of plastic jar, sounds reasonable. 

No problems w/ leaking?Huh

thomas
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« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2011, 07:11:32 AM »

Grandpa Jim,

Does this mean you let the bees access the hole in the inner cover to get to the sugar syrup on top of it? Do they just feed and then return to the frames or do they create a mess in that empty super with all that empty space? (lid on of course)
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« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2011, 07:20:31 AM »

Sorry, don't mean to step on the Q to Grandpa Jim but the ONLY time I DON'T allow bees access to area above inner cover is when I'm not feeding (screen placed over hole).  I've never had them make a mess when done this way.  They have no access for most of the summer, only during Fall, Winter and Spring feeding times.

thomas
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« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2011, 06:21:29 PM »

Quote
No problems w/ leaking?
Not if the jar is level or at least close to level.  The hole must be below the rim of the lid (that is below when the jar is setting upside down)

Quote
Does this mean you let the bees access the hole in the inner cover to get to the sugar syrup on top of it? Do they just feed and then return to the frames or do they create a mess in that empty super with all that empty space? (lid on of course)
Yes the bees do have access to that area without a problem.  I once put 4 jars on a hive and did not get back to it for a month..they did build comb between the jars, but that was not in the fall. 
Jim
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« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2011, 08:38:07 PM »

Grandpa Jims feeder idea is one I will be trying. It sure sounds like it will work for me as I'm not able to get to the hives much more than once a week. This way I know I can leave them enough for between visits. 1 jar at a time is a slow process and the jar is always empty when I return!
I'll let you know how it works out!
I may even set up 4 jars per hive......since I have 2 hives.
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« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2011, 10:27:08 PM »

I tried the miller style top feeders but had big problems with drowning.  I tried modifying the float system with finer mesh to keep the bees from falling through but still too much drowning of bees for me.  I have switched to mason jars over inner cover.  For nucs, I made extra holes in the inner cover and use multiple jars.  I also do communal feeding and the bees really drink it up.  My hives are new so I'm not at point where I can let them fend for themselves.
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« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2011, 05:20:06 PM »

I use the inverted quart jar, but just finished a feeder that holds two jars. I got tired ofirrate bees when i went to remove the single jar just set over the inner cover hole.
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« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2011, 09:48:40 PM »

I think it is awful hard to beat a gallon zip lock bag with three qts of syrup laying on the top bars with two 1 inch slits at the high point.  No one drowns, the cluster keeps it warm and they treat it like spilled food that has to be properly stored.   I have 2 1/2 inch rims that provide the space required under the cover nad are used for mountain camp insurance feed in the winter. 
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« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2011, 10:05:08 PM »

brushy top hive with new floats
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« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2011, 07:29:24 PM »

As a hobbyist I don't mind the expense of hive top feeders.
$11.50  http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Plastic-10-Frame-Hive-Top-Feeder/productinfo/423/
 I've got some that are 5 or 6 years old and like yourself I thought they were well worth it.
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« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2011, 06:22:21 PM »

I am building a feeder like Langstroth describes in his book, he used 75% rosin and 25% beeswax. Has anyone tried the rosin - beeswax mixture to coat the feeder?
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« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2011, 11:46:10 PM »

>Has anyone tried the rosin - beeswax mixture to coat the feeder?

I've used 2 parts beeswax to 1 part rosin.  It works well.
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