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Author Topic: Top feeders and drowned bees.  (Read 1776 times)
RHBee
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« on: February 08, 2013, 03:20:04 AM »

Through all of last year I fought the issue of drowning bees with my feeders. Because of this I switched to inverted plastic buckets. I feel that this greatly reduces the bees access to syrup. I was looking at some old beekeeping photos online and saw that there was hay in a feeder pan. I decided to try it out. I got one of my wife's basting pans stuffed hay in it and poured syrup to about full. I put it out on the lawn and in a few minutes it was black with bees. Afterwards,  I found no dead bees. Is there a reason why this method couldn't be used inside the hive?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 06:13:11 AM »

Be careful of mold. I have also found that many times the bees that drowned got in from under the top cover.Which are bees from somewhere else. The feeder bucket will provide enough for brood rearing and buildup.Many accomplish this with nothing more than mason jars over the inner cover hole.
You don't want to convert syrup to honey for production.
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danno
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 09:02:17 AM »

I have about 25 miller top feeders that I made from plans on beesourse.  http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/miller-type-feeder/  I had the same problem until I changed the design abit.  Instead of screening just over the center with #8 wire I covered the whole top. 
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S.M.N.Bee
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 10:05:12 PM »

I built a few of these feeders as well. Had some drowning issues until i added floats that cover the entire syrup reservoir, I made mine out of quarter inch plywood and drilled about ten eighth inch holes for the bees to feed threw. I than sealed them with poly urethane.

John
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Bush_84
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 10:32:41 PM »

I have about 25 miller top feeders that I made from plans on beesourse.  http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/miller-type-feeder/  I had the same problem until I changed the design abit.  Instead of screening just over the center with #8 wire I covered the whole top. 


I am having a hard time picturing this.  So instead of curving it around the center you put it over the top as if you were putting plywood over the whole thing?  I made some miller type feeders but have not tried the screen.  I am going to maybe redo my floats and try some screen.
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danno
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 09:05:05 AM »

Look at the PFD of this drawing.   The changes I made to this was 2 pc of #8 wire bend in a U shape and fastend bewteen the A and B boards at the bottom.  This alows the bee's to come up through the open center then down between the A and B boards but the cant enter the syrup chambers.  My first time making these if my lid didn't make a tight seal on top of the feeders bee's would enter (mostly yellow jackets but many honey bees) and drown.  I fixed this by  installing a full sheet of 1/8 wire 19 7/8 X 16 1/4.   Now the only access to the syrup is by bee's in the colony.  For filling I just pour it through the top screens
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RHBee
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 10:19:10 AM »

danno, the dead bees didn't come from the out side. The feeders I bought are twin tank with a center access and four feeding stations. Sold by Rossman Apiaries, no slam on them.

 http://www.gabees.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=34&products_id=596

I got tired of digging dead bees out of the feeding stations so I cut some 3/8th dowel to fit dipped them in wax and put them in the slots. Still a few died, in much smaller numbers, so I just figured that was the trade-off.

I'm not concerned with mold, it's easy to change the hay. I'm gonna use really cheap tanks, like throw away bread pans, stuff them with hay and fill with 1-1. I want to build up early so I can split, I need more drones. I understand that drones are produced when a good flow is on and pollen is available. Stuff is blooming here, the bees are bringing in pollen. It's supposed to be 62degF today and sunny. I think a couple of my colonies are ready for more room.

Enough information about whats going on. I don't see any down side with this type of feeding(pan filled with hay) it's just dried grass. After seeing the type of watering holes bees frequent dried grass is pretty clean. After what I observed last summer, the bees can burrow down into the hay and even if they get in the syrup they can drag themselves out. The really big plus is the lack of assembly time, no fiberglass, no wax dipping. All you need is a super, a cheap pan, hay and syrup. Set the pan on top of the frames, put a super on to enclose it and, let the bees do the rest.
I know it's old technology but it works. What's the worst that can happen? I just wanted a few more opinions and perspectives. More brains and eyes on a problem are always a plus.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:43:38 AM by Ray Bayless » Logged

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danno
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 10:37:35 AM »

I use all migratory tops.  Most lay pretty flat and tight but a few have warped just enough that when put on top of the feeder they leave alittle crack.   When I first made these feeders I stapled a foam seal around the top edge of the feeder This worked for awhile but didn't last.   the screen fixed the problem perminently.   
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Joe D
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2013, 10:42:42 AM »

Some of the beeks down here,in there bee yard, use a cut off plastic 55 gal drum with pine straw in it with corn syrup.  You put a couple of boards over the drum and then some tin to keep rain out.  They have 1 or so per yard depending on yard size.



Joe
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RHBee
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2013, 10:48:29 AM »

Joe, Same kind of idea as the drum but, inside the hive. It won't set off robbing and the bees can cover it.
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 11:42:01 AM »

Bush

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I eliminated both of the parts marked "A" in the beemaster print, This allows the bees to come up the center channel and clime directly onto the float. Also the floats are cut 1/8" smaller than the reservoir.

John
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danno
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 12:25:14 PM »

I have used the floats in the past and they do work well.   The thing I like most about the way I do it now is I dont have to worry about bee's flying up in my face.   I carry 5 gallon jugs, open, fill and close it up.
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dirt road
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 04:05:55 PM »

Ray B
I would guess that pine straw would be better than hay, though that might depend on the kind of hay. Alfalfa will turn moldy in no time if damp, but some kinds of grass hay might be a lot better in that regard. Perhaps plain old straw, cheap and readily available, around here anyway. I am also guessing that you would have to dump the hay out and replace it after a couple of weeks or so, which shouldn't be a huge problem. Altogether an interesting idea. Please let us know how this works out.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 05:22:57 PM »

Ya mine look slightly different than that, but similar concept. 

http://warre.§¤«£¿æ.com/feeders.htm

It's the feeder at the bottom.  It works just the same for langs and is easier to assemble. 
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 08:47:58 PM »


  Let me start by saying i am a newbie so please forgive my lack of knowledge... I was going to use entrance feeders but saw a few things that mentioned that this type of feeding invites robbing. Has anyone tried or know how well the floating top feeder that brushy mountain sells works? Seems to be a good design to my rookie eye...
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Marshall
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2013, 11:47:43 AM »

Im very interested to hear what the experienced keepers say about that feeder. Looks good to me, but then again, I have no experience yet.  =)

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Sally
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2013, 02:28:08 PM »

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/feeder-compare/





             BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2013, 04:14:44 PM »

thanks for the info jim
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Marshall
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