View Full Version : Top bar spring feeding
03-01-2005, 04:57 PM
I will be installing package bees on a TBH I am building for the spring. What can I use/ how should I go about feeding them the sugar syrup?
Also...(this is a question for Michael Bush)...how did your TBH, made out of 1x12's, work out? I'm basing my design on your's (ease of construction), and from the pictures at your site...it seems to work fine. Also, you said you used 1 1/4" top bars for brood comb and 1 1/2" top bars for honey storage. How many top bars did you make for brood comb and honey comb then? Thanks for the help.
03-01-2005, 06:00 PM
>I will be installing package bees on a TBH I am building for the spring. What can I use/ how should I go about feeding them the sugar syrup?
Anyway you like. I just open feed them. But you could do baggies on the bottom of the hive in the back. Or build a frame feeder. Or make some kind of feeder to go on top.
>Also...(this is a question for Michael Bush)...how did your TBH, made out of 1x12's, work out?
Great. I love it. I keep vasilating on whether to try one just a bit wider, but it worked so well, that I don't think I will. I am thinking of making another just like it. The small combs are much easier to handle and I had no collapses.
> I'm basing my design on your's (ease of construction), and from the pictures at your site...it seems to work fine. Also, you said you used 1 1/4" top bars for brood comb and 1 1/2" top bars for honey storage. How many top bars did you make for brood comb and honey comb then?
I made them half and half. Don't remember exactly how many.
I recently added some another picture of it opened up and I think you can count them from it. smile.gif It looks like about 15 of each but I have a couple of spares too.
It was the easiest hive I've built. But the easiest top bars were the ones on the long medium. Most of them are just 3/8" by 1 1/4" by 19" with no guide at all. I got away with that by putting them in a five frame nuc with one bar with a starter strip in the center. When it was full I moved it to eight and ten and finally the long hive, with no guides on the bars. I'm not sure if it would work without starting in a small space. I did put guides on once they started storing honey. You just can't tell how wide they'll build those without some guidance.
03-02-2005, 08:55 AM
i built a feeder for each tbh The first two pics show one:
top bar pictures (http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dn4911/album?.dir=/3180)
a couple advantages to this type:
you can use it as a follower board. start with it in the middle and as they build comb move it back.
you can easily refill it without disturbing the hive. smile.gif
03-02-2005, 09:29 AM
I really like the idea of a feeder/follower. You could just put some #8 hardware cloth on the hole and forget the stopper. Better yet, put the hardware cloth on the bottom of the hole before you assemble it.
Maybe I'll get around to trying to build one of those.
03-02-2005, 10:29 AM
How did you make the feeder/follower? Looks like a real helpful piece.
03-02-2005, 01:05 PM
I know I looked at David's photo's before but forgot about the feeder. It's a great idea and I'm going to build one for each of my tbhs as I've decided to run a small nuc in the opposite end of each of my tbhs.
03-02-2005, 02:24 PM
Just cut two pieces of 1/4 inch luan or whatever to the inside dimensions of your hive. Mine actually were about an inch to a half inch smaller. No need to make them real tight. Then just use a blank top bar piece for the top, with a fill hole, and scrap of the same width for the sides and bottom. Then melted wax was run inside to seal them up tight. Be sure to put some scraps of wood or screen inside so they don't drown.
It took my 3 pound packages about 10 days to empty the feeder of HFCS. You could make the feeder bigger if you wanted of course.
I don't think the cork in the top is really necessary. But the problem with a screen is you can't stick your funnel in the hole. I left the cork off once by mistake and didn't seem to hurt anything, they still go down for the food instead of out the top.
Took me more time to carve the corks than to make the feeder! I am still trying to convince my wife that I need a lathe...
It is surprising how much one of these actually holds and weighs.
The biggest trick is to avoid overfilling. By the time you realize it is full, your funnel still has some syrup in it and continues to run into it. So better to go slow and stick a straw in there every so often or come up with a better invention to monitor the fill level.
Even though I left "bee space" around the feeder, the bees never really did anything in the empty space behind the feeder. There would be a few bees strolling around but never any comb or worries.
Now that I think about it I think the idea came from a web site somewhere called Bees for Development or something. I will try to find the link and post it.
03-02-2005, 02:33 PM
If the top bar was 3/4" or so and the screen was on the bottom, I think the funnel would still work.
03-02-2005, 04:26 PM
<I've decided to run a small nuc in the opposite end of each of my tbhs>
Dennis how are you goint to run the nuc? I guess if you do that the feeder / follower should be bee tight? If not, you could feed from both sides if you added some holes on both sides.
03-06-2005, 10:15 AM
I'm bulding 2 of the feeder follower units for my TBH. You mention that you should add wood scrap or screen to keep the feeding bees from drowning inside.
If using screen do you fold the screen to fit inside, staple a piece to one side of the feeder follower or what?
Thanks for your help.
03-06-2005, 10:37 AM
What I did was built it with out the top bar first, then used melted wax to seal it. then took a piece of screen a little bigger than the size of the feeder, then let it kind of bunch up a little bit to the bottom. I kept it long enough to extend up to the top, then added the top bar with the excess screen between the top bar and the side. Put the entrance holes on the other side from the screen so you don't screen them out. I was paranoid about drowning bees ;)so I put a few wood scraps in too.
03-06-2005, 04:13 PM
I think I'll make an upside down, v-shape pyramid of screen inside the feeder/follower. Since I have made the feeder 2-1/2" wide (inside dimension ) it should give the bees room to land, feed and grab hold to if necessary.
I have located the filler hole at one side of the top bar to avoid drowning bees when refilling the feeder.
With bees feeding inside, how do you keep from drowning the lot of them when pouring syrup?
Twas a beautiful day here in NC. I'm looking forward to getting these hives going.
Thanks for your reply.
03-06-2005, 04:46 PM
Miles that should work. I don't worry about drowning them. You can't see them when you fill - just stick the funnel in the hole in top, they will get out of the way - or they won't. The syrup goes in pretty slow so they can crawl out of the way. Putting the hole to one side is a good idea.
It was nice here today too, got up to 52 degrees, I had bees flying... Still have 8 inches of ice on the pond though... No pollen coming in that I could see.
03-07-2005, 03:48 AM
I think I'll put plexiglass on the back side of the feeder. That way I can gauge syrup level from the rear as well as watch as I pour.
Thanks for your advice.
For a quick fix any size can or jar that fits inside the hive with room under it for the bees can be suspended from a topbar (hung up side down) I use wire. poke holes in the lid fill it while it is fastned to the bar then turn the whole rig over and slide it one or two bars from the last comb close the hive and your done. no worry about drowning bees. Make two per hive and just switch them fast easy minimizes robbing, cheap to make easy to clean.
04-03-2005, 08:14 AM
What do you put in the jar to use as feed? I am builidng my hive today and trying to get everything "organized" before the bees get here. What to feed and how has been a concern for me. I see lots of good ideas here and am searching for something very easy and idiot proof since all of this is new to me!
04-03-2005, 09:01 AM
Here is a good site on feeding.
I use sugar syrup 1:1 for spring stimulation mix 1 part sugar with 1 part water. i.e. i quart of water and 1 quart size container of sugar. this is 1:1 by volume.
04-11-2005, 03:29 AM
I have an open 2 litre tupperware container with a few bits of (roughed up) styropor floating in it and put that inside the hive. To refill it I just take the bar atop it out and aim carefully with the refill bottle <g>
The follower board looks nice tho, but how can you clean it out or tell if its got mould in it?
04-11-2005, 07:29 AM
I built a glass frame feeder for my observation hive so I can tell if it's empty or see to fill it or tell if it's all moldy. It's just a wooden frame with the glass glued on with silicone. I don't know why that couldn't work. Mine has just a wire section in the center for a ladder and the bees don't have access to all of it.
04-11-2005, 08:23 AM
I love that idea Michael, and I think it is just the ticket for our clubs observation hive.
You would not happen to have a photo handy of it?
04-11-2005, 08:49 AM
04-12-2005, 06:33 PM
michael, there don't seem to be too many bees in that hive! Was the first picture taken before a swarm was introduced, or is the ob hive a few frames wide and they just weren't working on the outside?
04-13-2005, 10:47 AM
I have built a follower board, with a cutout to accept an entrance feeder. This is a very simple method of feeding, you can view the syrup to check its level without disrupting the colony, and you can see if it is moldy or not. I don't know how one would go about cleaning the follower board/feeder that was posted above. Also, you would not be able to monitor bee drowning. Using the entrance feeder this way would also cause no increased occurrence (sp) in robbing, since the feeder in inside the hive.
04-13-2005, 06:33 PM
There aren't a lot of bees in the hive at the time the picture was taken. A lot more now, but still only a little over a frame of bees in it right now. They fill up fast, though.
Scot Mc Pherson
04-13-2005, 06:34 PM
I no longer belive that follower boards are a good idea in a TBH. I think it interferes with brood nest development by disrupting the bees ability to make plans.
You can feed the TBH without disrupting the hive at all if you don't enter the brood nest. Just open the back of the hive and place some feeder baggies back there. The bees don't recognize the interusion as such until you reach the perimeter of the brood nest or you are clumsy and knock the hive around a lot.
04-14-2005, 12:04 PM
I haven't tried follower boards or feeders. I've just put them in the TBH without any follower and open fed them what little I've fed them.
04-15-2005, 06:32 AM
My hive came throught the winter pretty small thanks to a mouse but they have some good brood going so I am not worried. I thought I'd feed them a baggie or two so a week ago I put in a quart. They have barely touched and I just checked yesterday. So they are doing their thing without my help which works for me. smile.gif
Scot Mc Pherson
04-15-2005, 06:59 AM
Well that's strange. They don't usually ignore feed. Perhaps your cluster is so small they can't send out foragers? Are there many bees flying?
Also I found very quickly that smaller cuts in the baggie can get clogged with drying sugar very quickly and the bees can get to the feed. I usually make 3 paralelle cuts about 3 inches long. If you use a sharp razor and make the cuts swiftly, you only get a little drizzle as the bag looses pressure. That drizzle stops instantly, it just happens right after you make the cut. Maybe a table spoon or two at most is spilled and the bees eat that up quickly.
04-15-2005, 09:02 AM
The brood cluster is about 8" round. And there is a decent flow of bees in and out with pollen so they are foraging.
I'll check the slit in my bags. Never gave that any thought. So I guess it's off to the hives tonight with me. Not that that is a problem. smile.gif Love looking at those little critters.