Ventilation & Top Feeder
I'm a new beekeeper with two package hives. I have screened bottom boards in place, but I still see bees congregating at the hive entrance. Not quite bearding, but close, and this has been on days when the temp was only slightly warm.
I purchased plastic top feeders when getting set up, a move which I now regret, but they're all I have at this time. I need to begin feeding again, and would like to give some top ventilation to keep things cool inside. These feeders are quite flexible, and I'm afraid that if I prop up one side, the thing will flex enough to prevent the top cover from sealing out bees. When I installed the packages with these feeders on, one hive lost about 25% of their population by getting in the syrup and drowning.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
You may or may not really need ventilation. All of my hives have bees that like to hang out, but they aren't really bearding. Sometime late at night, they go inside. If you do need some ventilation, you could try something like this:
from Betterbee. I use these a fair amount and on a couple, I've put window screen inside so that I can transport a hive and give it a little extra ventilation without losing bees. The plastic plug allows you to close it completely. I don't know if your feeder extends too low and would cover the hole but it's worth a try.
When I first got a hive top feeder I did not press snap the plastic insert down far enough & the bees got in and drowned. I put a slatted rack in also which many on this site said helped with ventilation. On the inner cover I put popsicle sticks to help with ventilation but soon saw SHB coming & going so I cut some larger slits in the inner cover near the edges & put the screen from the packages over them with duct tape. Now I plan to use the original hole with a jar feeder since I spilled syrup when I tried to remove the hive top feeder when still partially filled and this still allows ventilation. In the scheme of things I cannot say if all this tinkering is necessary but it is fun since I only have two hives. Maybe it's like the dog food that looks like vegetables or bacon. Does it matter to the dog.