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Author Topic: Korschgen super feeder  (Read 1112 times)
CarlinMO
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« on: August 29, 2012, 02:23:17 PM »

I have found an effective way to feed my bees during this extreme drought with an open feeding station on my deck which is about 400’ from my 10 hives.

I designed a floating board that fits as tight as possible into a standard Langstroth super or deep box.  I cut a sheet of 1/4" plywood to fit wall to wall (-1/8”) into the box.  I used a 1" forstner bit to bore holes through two of the three plys of the sheet.  The center point of the bit pierces the third ply to allow sugar syrup into the 1” circular wells.  I used another sheet of plywood (19 7/8 x 16 ¼”) to close the bottom of the box.  I stapled (1/4 x 1” crown staples) the bottom sheet to the box and sealed it with silicone caulk on the bottom and corners.  SEE PHOTOS BELOW.

I make up 5 gallons of sugar syrup every evening and put it in the feeder the following morning.  In a few minutes thousands of bees are foraging on the board and the feeder is empty in 4 hours.  I have had no bees drown beneath the board so far.  A few bees die on the top of the feeder board for whatever reason.  I bring the feeder onto a porch at night so I can load it up in the morning without dumping syrup on the bees.

Construction tips:
1)  Use a hive box that is perfectly square and smooth on the inside.
2)  Cut the feeder board so that there is only a ½ beespace gap around the perimeter of the board.
3)  Bevel the underside edge of the feeder board so it will float down without catching on the sides of the box.
4)  If bees happen to get around the feeder board, use fiberglass screen as a soft shim.  Staple a 1 ½” strip of the screen to the top and bottom of the feeder board using a standard office stapler.



Carl Korschgen
Columbia, Missouri USA
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 02:38:20 PM by Robo » Logged
BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 04:22:03 PM »

Nice job there Carl.  I like your design. 

One of the problems I’ve had in the past with wood floats is the things getting waterlogged and then starting to sink.  Have you had that problem?  Is your ¼” plywood actually flooring underlayment (luaun) or real plywood?  Does it have a tendency to warp when it gets wet?

Obviously the bees really like your design!  Wow, they’re sure going after the syrup.
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CarlinMO
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 04:31:48 PM »

Real AC plywood.  I did give the underside a coat of varnish.  The bees empty the feeder so fast that the board is dry 20 hours each day.  So far it is floating nicely.  It it starts to sink I would put a small piece of styrofoam underneath it but that would mean there would be some syrup remaining in the box.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 04:37:28 PM »

We’ve been pretty dry here most of the summer, but not to the point where I needed to feed my bees.  However I might just make up one of your super feeders for fall feeding.   Thanks for sharing.

Does the bottom of the plywood ever stick to the bottom of your box at the end of the day?
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MTWIBadger
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 11:13:06 PM »

I've never understood the need for open feeding.  Besides my bees, I would be feeding bees from the nearby feral hives and neighborhood hives. 

I discovered a bee tree on my land by beelining when I set out some wet frames this year.  I thought I was only feeding my bees.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 05:36:13 AM »

I've never understood the need for open feeding.  Besides my bees, I would be feeding bees from the nearby feral hives and neighborhood hives. 

I discovered a bee tree on my land by beelining when I set out some wet frames this year.  I thought I was only feeding my bees.


The first part explains open feeding;
http://www.bjornapiaries.com/feedingoptions.html

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CarlinMO
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 07:23:58 AM »

If your environment ever gets as dry as ours is right now you would realize there is nothing out there for the bees to process except a few ornamental flowers.  I would watch my hives and there would be no activity yet the hives are absolutely full of bees -- and extremely defensive.  To me, the bees are always in a zero sum game -- they are storing or consuming their food (and we make survival harder by taking their honey).  I am amazed that they have been able to survive this long but I know they had good stores up until mid June.  I just put the feeder out at 6:00 this morning and thousands of bees were already there ready to forage.  So yes, feeding is a last resort as far as I am concerned and my colonies were at that point.  We might get our first rain in 3 months tomorrow.  We have had the driest and hottest year on record.  I bet millions of forest trees have died.

There are no other beekeepers close to me and if I am feeding feral colonies all the better for the environment.  Before I brought bees into our neighborhood it was rare to see a honey bee and pollination of garden plants and fruit trees was poor.
Investing in 20 pounds of sugar per day for the next couple of months is a small price for the honey that I got in June.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 07:52:24 AM by CarlinMO » Logged
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