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Author Topic: Hive Top Feeders: Who likes them ???  (Read 8857 times)
TwT
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2006, 05:56:15 AM »

I like my hive top feeders, mine I make myself, my is the miller type  feeders.
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2006, 07:48:58 AM »

Quote from: thomashton
Don't know where you would pay $50 for one, or why.


Ok,  I confess.  I have not been following the price or versions of hive top feeders over the past few years.  But when these first came out,  they were close to $50.  Now they have dropped to $35, I assume becuase of the competition.
Feeder

I built a a few miller feeders way back when and found them to be a pain in the butt, so I haven't been to interested in all the incarnations of hive top feeders available.  I can put 2 - one gallon jars on a hive at I time if I need to, so capacity isn't an advantage to me.  Cleaning jar is a heck of a lot easier too. I can also run the jars thru the dishwasher, which has it's advantages, especially if you get mold.
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Finsky
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2006, 10:28:30 AM »

Quote from: Robo
Now they have dropped to $35, I assume becuase of the competition.


Yes it is. Here we have 20 litre upper feeder  about 25 $ and
5 gallon  about 15 $. They are styrofoam boxes.

Many use as topfeeder  a bucket + cover. Price is about 2-3 $.

Drill small holes to cover. Put syrup and cover on and then turn upside down.  Syrup stays in bucket because it does not gets  air. Hole in inner cover and bees suck from tiny holes.  It nees a deep around the system and extra inner cover.
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2006, 10:39:52 AM »

I assume most everyone here discussing feeding is talking about a newly-hived package. That is the case with me.

I am in Northern Utah on the Idaho boarder in a small mountain valley. We are still only looking at 60 degree weather today and not much has bloomed yet. Still, my girls are finding nectar somewhere. I inspected yesterday, the hive top feeder isn't being touched much at all anymore and I can see capped honey, so it is pretty much time to pull it, even in this climate.
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2006, 11:39:05 AM »

Quote from: thomashton
yesterday, the hive top feeder isn't being touched much at all anymore and I can see capped honey, so it is pretty much time to pull it, even in this climate.


If you have capped honey , it is better to stop feeding. It  takes room from hives brood area.
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2006, 02:52:50 PM »

Good call Finsky. I was planning on doing it yesterday, but it was getting late and the wind was starting up, so I just put it all back together. Am planning on pulling them today.
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2006, 03:09:37 PM »

Quote from: Finsky

Drill small holes to cover. Put syrup and cover on and then turn upside down.  Syrup stays in bucket because it does not gets  air. Hole in inner cover and bees suck from tiny holes.  It nees a deep around the system and extra inner cover.


Just be careful using plastic when there are large temperature swings from day to night.  The expansion/contraction causes plastic buckets to drip and if the bees don't consume it,  it becomes an issue.
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2006, 03:50:01 PM »

Newbe here!
 
  How well does the inner covers you get from lets say Dadant hold up a 1 gal jar?  Seems to me that the weight would warp the inner cover over time and it would be sitting on top of the frames.  

I have just started beekeeping with 1 established hive that a beekeeper gave me.
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2006, 04:31:26 PM »

BUT I just wonder, how the way to feed can be a problem? huh

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« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2006, 02:32:35 AM »

sorry to all those top feeder addicts.....I detest them! I got the styrene hive top from Betterbee. I have my hive on a platform and a hive stand so its well off the ground...
Not only did I have an ant problem, but I did get drowned bees as well. ....along with gross green algae growing on the bottom because there was decaying bees and ants...also filling the dang thing was a pain...the bees were down in the trough and couldn't get out of the way fast enough while I was filling. (major traffic jam if you will). And if you've ever held a 2 gallon jug at shoulder height waiting for bees to get out of the way as you fill it's not pleasant rolleyes  but then again I just may have flabby arms cheesy
but seriously, I would never buy another. The jar method is the best as far as I'm concerned.
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« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2006, 07:24:33 AM »

I have a Styrofoam top feeder from betterbee, the main problem people have with the top feeders is when they put them on they tend to fill them up with syrup, the best way to manage a top feeder and to keep it clean is not to put to much syrup in the feeder at one time if you can check it ever few days, I know some have hive not close to their home and tend to fill them up, just because it can hold 3 gallons doesn't mean you have to put 3 gallons in it, on my feeders I only put about a quart at a time, easier to work with, and about the ants, top feeders do tend to attract ants, I spray the bottom cinder blocks with ant poison on all my hives, I know it can kill my bee's but these fire ants can move in fast, I haven't had a problem yet, my hives are 2 cinder-blocks high and 4x4's on that....
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« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2006, 08:38:58 AM »

Quote from: MEdmonson
Newbe here!
 
  How well does the inner covers you get from lets say Dadant hold up a 1 gal jar?  Seems to me that the weight would warp the inner cover over time and it would be sitting on top of the frames.  

I have just started beekeeping with 1 established hive that a beekeeper gave me.


Depends on the inner cover I guess.  I make my own and use luan and have never had a problem.  If they are made out of masonite, it could be a problem. masonite will suck up moisture and warp like crazy,  they are a problem with normal hive moisture, let alone put wait on them.

I build mine with equal space on top and bottom, so if I ever start to see them warp,  I'll flip them over and warp them back the other way.   I have a few plastic inner covers for Kelley that I inherited, and they have support lugs on them that rest on the frames so they can't collapse.
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« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2006, 09:31:53 AM »

Robo,
  Would you be so kind as to give the dimensions of your inner cover using luan i.e. thickness of luan, trim size, etc.
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« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2006, 10:32:39 AM »

Quote from: MEdmonson
Robo,
  Would you be so kind as to give the dimensions of your inner cover using luan i.e. thickness of luan, trim size, etc.


I call it 1/4" luan,  but I think it is a tad thinner.   I make the trim 5/8" thick and 3/4" wide.  I cut a groove in the middle of the 5/8" to slide over the luan,  that gives ~3/8" space on both sides of the inner cover.

I also cut 2 oval holes (normal porter bee escape size), about 4 or 5 inches apart in the center, but perpendicular to the frames as opposed to parallel with the frames as will most commercial inner covers.   My theory is that it allows for better ventilation,  allows bees to access from more than just the center frames, and allows for 2 -  gallon jar feeders.



Note: The pictures I attached in the earlier post is from a DE hive, not the ones I build.  I put the 2 holes in the center.
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« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2006, 01:39:33 PM »

For feeding syrup I've used frame feeders, entrance feeders, top feeders and jars inverted over the inner cover. Nothing works as simply as the jars. Frame feeders are the worst I believe because they take up the space of one frame (less brood), bees drown by the hundreds even wioth cloth or sticks and the so called 'ladders' built in, entrance feedersd atract robbers, ants, wasps and even birds, plus they're usless in very cold weather, and top feeders - you've all echoed my complaints.
I keep bees for a lot of reasons, but the simple beauty of it as a hobby rates up there with everythign else. A jar slowly dripping in tothe hive seems to make my bees happy.
We have a big bloom in NY, the bees have stopped taking syrup, and the privet hedges havent even bllomed yet. When they do its like bee heaven. From hiving them in April (good friday) to now I have used so little syrup its amazing. Maybe one gallon between two hives.
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« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2006, 03:53:42 PM »

Quote from: GT

We have a big bloom in NY, the bees have stopped taking syrup, and the privet hedges havent even bllomed yet. When they do its like bee heaven. From hiving them in April (good friday) to now I have used so little syrup its amazing. Maybe one gallon between two hives.


I really don't understand this. Are you making honey from sugar.  shocked

.
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« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2006, 07:58:01 PM »

Quote
just because it can hold 3 gallons doesn't mean you have to put 3 gallons in it,


This is my first year and I started with one hive. I bought the BetterBee plastic hive top. It has worked well for me after I got use to it. I learned after I filled it full the first time that full wasn't the best thing so after they consumed all of the first, I never put more than 3qts.-gallon in at a time.

I had an ant problem initially but got a solution after posting on the forum.

When they have syrup in them they are awkward to handle because of the shifting syrup. I am going to modify mine for next year by adding two small handles to each end with nuts and bolts.

Bottom line is that I like them.
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« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2006, 12:08:27 PM »

Finsk  -

Why have bees if the honey is from the syrup? might as well switch from beekeeping to maple syrup production.
My message was trying to show positive progress to date from packaged bees - the bees are bringing in more pollen than I expected this time of year, taking less of my syrup than I would have guessed. hives are building up nicely.
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« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2006, 01:09:57 PM »

Save yourselves some money.  For spring time, I've started using the large plastic Folger's coffee containers with small holes punched in the lid that I collect for free from local restaurant. These small feed containers work great on nucs if your short on honey frames.  I use to purchase small feed buckets for $2 each but now containers are free.  In the fall, I use 5 gallon plastic feed containers that I purchased at local bee co-op for $5 each.  Both are easy to use, I don't have to open hives, just flip containers and feed through 2 inch hole in insulated lid.  Its cold up here in Canuck Ville and I like to get a head start on the spring build up so I do early spring feed (Feb/March) by inverting small containers on top the insulated lid and underneath my insulating pillows.
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« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2006, 08:37:57 AM »

Since this is a discussion focused on methods of feeding bees I just have to put in my two cents worth.  
My mentor used one gallon paint cans with holes punched in the lids so that the syrup stays in by vaccum.  I still use the same method today (40 years later).  Clean un-used cans can be purchased at most paint supply or hardware stores for a buck or two.  They have a bail by which to carry them, are easy to handle, and a standard hive body will hold 3 (if staggered) or a Nuc box 2 in line.  I've made up a magritory top with a Nuc box permenately mounted on it and a 4" hole in it.  With it I can easily feed 2 gallons of syrup at a time or use it to install package bees by putting the queen amid the frames and let the rest wonder out on their own.  I can feed or install bees even on a rainy day.
The cans and lids can also be washed in a dishwasher.  The only down side is that they only last five or six years due to the repeated pounding on of the lids.  
Regardless, sealed feeder containers are the only option I have due to having to beekeep from a wheelchair.  The handles on the cans help--due to my limitations open feeders are out of the question which is also why I use shallow 8 frames throughout.
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