I need some opinions on the practicality of this idea.
I was thinking of taking a small aquarium pump, and building a shallow declined trough lined with screen, and slightly grooved, and pumping syrup down it. ( including a reclaim set up)
Placing this get up in the middle of the yard, and seeing what happens.
Drowning wont be an issue due to the screening. Robbing incitement shoudnt be an issue, although I know I'll be feeding every fly and wasp within 500 miles. Its August here and the flow is slowing, but not stopped.
A barrel with a lot of bark in it would be cheaper. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif Should work like as well as any other open feeder. I just have some miller feeders on bottom boards I'm trying for open feeding right now and they don't have any moving parts.
I have made "Miller type" feeders. I changed the design a little from the plan on here. They work very well, and drowning is not really an issue. Further, they feed longer into the season, and if you leave them on in the summer, the provide a little ventilation. I made my own vents though too.
I see your point, but I'd like to simulate natural foraging activity as much as possible,and an open barrel wont achieve that.
My line of thought is that because the syrup is in motion, (and I think I'll dress the trough with artificial flowers,) it wont trigger as much as a robbing impulse. Also the syrup being constantly filtered to remove debris, and sporaticly timed to resemble nectar secretion, might help the illusion.
I fear I'm making the age old mistake of trying to out Bee the Bee's........
Errrrr..........Miller type feeders?
Go to the plan section on this site and there is plans there. Hope this helps. Dale Russell
"My line of thought is that because the syrup is in motion, (and I think I'll dress the trough with artificial flowers,)"
Maybe if you get fake flowers that are hollow like a funnel, you can stick them into the screen to make it so that the bees have to go in to the fake flowers to get the syrup just like they would have to on normal flowers, basicaly just an advanced humming bird feeder but better.
I don't think you can fake out the bees thusly. Real flowers look very different to bees than they do to us. Bees see into the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. And natural flowers actually *point* to where the bees can find nectar using ultraviolet color. Artificial flowers won't look at all like flowers to a bee.
The only way that I know of to "open feed" without itching the robbing instinct is to place the open feeder FAR away from the beeyard, but still within a bee's commute. The robbing instinct is excited when the bees find *easy pickins* instead of having to do some hard-word like the rest of us stiffs. If they have to go forage for it, it lessens the instinctual robbing triggers.