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Author Topic: TOP FEEDERS SUCK  (Read 3006 times)
nepenthes
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« on: April 26, 2007, 04:43:06 PM »

You know those top feeders that they sell, they are brown and you dump Sugar water into them?

Yea well They suck, I check on my hives, and each top feeder has 100's of drowned bee's. Its starting to rain so I didn't leave it open for long. I don't think I put the guards on all the way, but I put them on as Much as they would go, their is no room for the bee's to get through any other place, (I checked).

Pint Canning Jars would work right?
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pdmattox
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2007, 04:49:49 PM »

I use the quart feeder (5# ) jar on the top cover and it works great.
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Ray Hall
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2007, 05:13:29 PM »

Is this a feeder that fits over the brood box and the bees can access it from either? Did you get it from Dadant? I discover several things about this top feeder from Dadant. First I put an empty super over top of it. I then took some screen (plastic or wire) and Glued it over the hole in the inner cover. I used my wifes hot glue gun. The hive will still ventalate and no drowned bee's
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Understudy
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2007, 05:18:01 PM »

This is why there are 16 different ways to do the same thing in beekeeping. Some people don't get the same results as someone else.

Nep, if the don't work for you. Try an entrance feeder or a bottom feeder or oneof the others. Also you may want to try different top feeders.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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AllanJ
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2007, 05:40:40 PM »

I brought the ones from Mann Lake and I ended up with a few hundred dead bees and quarter of the hive stuff up the sides.  I might give them another chance in the future when I have more hives and am able to recover from such events. I ended up taking it off and going with a baggie feeder.  It worked perfectly to begin with and then dumped syrup in the hive. I put a boardman feeder out front and ended up with a few hundred ants..  *sigh*  Smiley  I was not having much luck with feeding..

In the end, I got some of those throw away cooking trays with a 1" side and rested the bag on those and it worked great.
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 05:42:23 PM »

I got my top feeders from Brushy Mountain and it has worked great. There are very few drowned bees.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=688
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nepenthes
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2007, 06:07:39 PM »

Well I found the problem, when the manufacture made the molds of plastic their was a ridge from where they put the plastic in. Well, the ridge didnt go down all the way, they could get out from the side.

Problem solved, use all my body weight to push in the fence. Pain in the butt! Every thing seems fine now.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2007, 07:18:20 PM »

Here's my current favorite feeder:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm
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Michael Bush
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Mklangelo
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2007, 09:49:05 PM »

I got my top feeders from Brushy Mountain and it has worked great. There are very few drowned bees.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=688


Looks pretty nice.  Made of wood, how well will it stand up to constant moisture?  How many seasons will it last do you think?
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2007, 10:02:44 PM »

The Best one I have ever used was a one gallon Quail watering Bottle from NcMurray hatchery set on top of frames cover with deep you can use up to four make sure hive is level perfect
kirko
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annette
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2007, 10:41:53 PM »

I have been using the top feeder from Mann Lake and yes at first I had many drowned bees, but finally figured out what was happening. The bees are down in the screened area sucking up the syrup and I was pouring in more syrup really, really fast. Well I drowned many bees this way until someone told me what I was doing wrong. If you smoke the bees they will go down from that screened area, but of course this is a hassle. I do not smoke them, but I pour the syrup very, very slowly and give the bees a chance to get out of the screened area. You can see them moving up so they do not get wet. Yes there are still some drowned bees that get through the screen, but much less.

I think that finding a way to seal that screen would be the answer to the top feeder problem.

Good luck
Annette
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2007, 07:47:56 AM »

I got my top feeders from Brushy Mountain and it has worked great. There are very few drowned bees.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=688


Looks pretty nice.  Made of wood, how well will it stand up to constant moisture?  How many seasons will it last do you think?


I'm not sure how long it will stand up to constant moisture. I'm sure it will last a few years since it's only used in spring and fall. Also, the price of $16 is not bad if I have to replace it.
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woodchopper
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2007, 12:03:58 PM »

I got my top feeders from Brushy Mountain and it has worked great. There are very few drowned bees.

http://www.beeequipment.com/products.asp?pcode=688
These are the feeders we started out with before we switched to the BetterBee brown plastic ones. I have to unstick the floats if I let it go empty with my hive tool before we add syrup so as to not drowned any girls. The brown plastic feeders we're using now don't fully cover up the hole while in place. I've got to modify them somehow to keep them using the openings as a top entrance.
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lively Bee's
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2007, 12:32:19 PM »

I have 20 of the plastic topfeeders and yea some bees get killed but I have yet to see a feeder that bees dont die in.

I also use 2 gal chicken waters I put them out in the field with sugar water in them and refill them every other day just pitch some rocks in the water tray and it helps to keep down on dead bees.
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Mountaineerfan
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2007, 08:43:24 PM »

Well I found the problem, when the manufacture made the molds of plastic their was a ridge from where they put the plastic in. Well, the ridge didnt go down all the way, they could get out from the side.

Problem solved, use all my body weight to push in the fence. Pain in the butt! Every thing seems fine now.

Nepenthes,
I was having a similar problem, and had to push mine all the way on as well.  However, they could still climb through the side, so i just put duct tape on the four corners of the feeder to hold down and close off where they were getting out.  Result:  0 dead bees!  cool
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2007, 09:14:01 PM »

The guy I picked my bees up from this morning had a whole stack of Mann Lake top feeders. He Said they were worthless.  So I said I guess nothings changed in 50 years.  The top feeder with the access down the middle didn't work well back in the 60's either.  I still do it the way I was taught in 1959--small holes in the lid of an unused paint can that I buy from the hardware store for $1.99.  Holds a gallon and fits over the hole in the inner top (if you use one) and last for years.  Just put it inside a super and its easy to refill.
   
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AllanJ
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2007, 09:38:50 PM »

The guy I picked my bees up from this morning had a whole stack of Mann Lake top feeders. He Said they were worthless. 

I am happy to know I am not the only one who thinks so.. I can see how some others many be ok, but the one from Mann Lake is useless.
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2007, 06:31:27 AM »

Top Feeders Don't Suck, You Do!

lol j/k

Sean
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2007, 08:43:31 AM »

DUCT TAPE THE SCREEN EDGES DOWN. I learned the hard way as you have. Also make sure your telescoping lid fits snugly to top rail, or bees get in from outside and will drowen too. I used some insulation tape for windows around the rim and it works well. No more dead bees.
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Cindi
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« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2007, 08:54:44 AM »

I use the plastic inner frame feeders, it holds almost a gallon.  During the few time using this feeder i would always drown lots of bees.  But, now I have found a great way, worked last year pretty good, only a few drowned bees.

It is handy because you don't have to add a super to encompass the can/bottle, whatever is being used to feed the bees.  I put pieces of wood to float in the syrup.  I pour the syrup in very very slowly, the bees move up and out of the way.  No dead bees to speak of.  I was going to also try the baggie feeder for smaller feedings, that seems like it would work well too.  But I think I would place it in a small tray, like was said in another post though, in case the baggie leaked and the syrup went everywhere.  Good luck with your syrup feeders.

I do like Brian's empty paint can idea a lot.  But then there is the thing about having to put on the empty super.  I wonder if this would cause the bees to work harder to keep the hive body warm because of the second box on top? 

Have a wonderful day, beautiful day, good health to all.  Cindi
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2007, 12:26:40 PM »

Wire mesh stapled or folded over the sides solved the problem for me.  grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2007, 02:56:14 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm

These are virtually free...
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Michael Bush
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Moonshae
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2007, 10:03:36 AM »

I just got my hives, and had ordered top feeders (inevitably) from Betterbee, the ones with feeder access at both ends. They don't have screens, just plastic guards. My question is, do I put it above or below the inner cover? And is it supposed to raise up my outside cover by a substantial amount? I thought it would "tuck inside" a bit better...I'm worried about other flying insects getting in through the top once I install my bees.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2007, 11:58:54 AM »

Skip the inner cover w/ top feeder. Make sure telescoping top sits all the way down, or bees will get into from outised and will drown. I used insulation tape for windows on edge of super so top sits on foam and no holes.
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trapperbob
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2007, 05:04:43 PM »

I bought a top feeder from beecommerce.com and really like it. I don't think you can use a top feeder and and not drown a few bees but when I check it only a hand full of bees are there less than a dozen.if this worrys you try the paint can like Brian. I have to drive a little ways to check my bees and it holds over 3 gallons so I don't have to worry about them running out. If I had them closer the paint can would be more convenient. Also the bottom feeder that Michael Bush uses is nice I seen this in use at his place over the weekend. He had a workshop.It was easy to fill from what I could see and easy to keep closed.
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2007, 06:39:26 PM »

I attached a screen to keep them out, problem solved.  Smiley
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2007, 09:35:53 PM »

I have the Dadants brown top feeder. I took forever to figure out HOW the bees got throught the white guard slots..I finally realized that they DONT go through the slots but instead stay down under them and watch for me to pour more syrup in the tray.I think now I know how it works....Mostly though I know the syrup dissappears evry 4 or 5 days and I have to add more..And the little bees continue to peer through the slots at me..oh, yeh...I dont use the inner cover yet. I suppose I'll use it when they quit drinking syrup and start getting their own.
your friend,
john grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2007, 09:17:01 AM »

I think ALL feeder suck.  Some more than others.  Smiley

Top feeder advantages (assuming a screened in access area):

Feed without even suiting up.
Feed without opening the hive.
Feed a lot at a time so you don't have to feed as often.

Disadvantages to a top feeder:
They won't take it when it's at all cold.  In times where a baggie feeder or a jar over the cluster will be taken, they won't make the trip up and over to get that cold syrup.  This happens even when it's quite warm in the daytime if it gets cold at night.  For instance if it's in the 30s at night and the 70s in the day they usually won't touch the top feeder where they will suck down the syrup from a baggie feeder, a frame feeder, a jar or bucket over the cluster or a bottom board feeder.

If there is a space for one bee to get in the top cover the feeder will get filled with drowned bees.

You have to remove it to work the hive and if it's full this is VERY awkward.  When queen rearing feeding is a very useful tool just before giving cells to cell starters and just before introducing cells to mating nucs.  With a top feeder you have to remove the feeder to get to the hive to do your manipulations.
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Michael Bush
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