Do many of you use the "pro-feeder" to feed your bees? I've heard that a fair amount of drowning occurs even with a floating devise added in. Being in a cold weather area, I've heard the boardman feeder does not work well(since bees won't leave hive in cool weather). Wondering what you folks in cold weather areas use to help feed for the first few weeks. Steve
You're refering to Mann Lake's version of the "division board" frame feeder? I have added #8 hardware cloth as a complete lining for a ladder for the bees. This helps a lot. I know they have serations, but the hardware cloth works much better and a float or floats in addition also help. I still don't like them much with all of this added.
I like Brushy Mts version made of masonite with a ladder built in and a limited area the bees can get to. Betterbee makes a plastic version that looks good, though I haven't used it. The other advantage to both of these is that they are a true one frame wide and don't bulge in the middle.
My FAVORITE feeder is a rapid feeder. It goes on the inner cover. It's a nice amount of syrup (1/2 gallon) without being too much so that it spoils, you can fill it without facing any bees. You can get one from http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp
A mason jar with small holes in the lid over the inner cover is the cheapest simple method. Then put an empty box on to make room for it and put the cover on.
If they are busy raising brood and have plenty of stores, I wouldn't bother feeding. It's work and expense for you to feed and it may set off robbing.
If they are not raising brood, I would feed some 1:1 syrup for stimulation or some diluted honey. But once they start raising brood I probably would quit.
If they are short on stores I'd steal some from any dead hives or really strong hives or I'd feed straight honey or 2:1 syrup.
Mike, when using the rapid feeder on top of inside cover, do you then place an empty hive box on top then outside cover? Also, if you've ever raised young birds, we use a waterer that fits on top of plastic bottle/jar. When tipped over, it has a resevoir the water goes into(about 1/2" deep). Could something like this be used to be syrup mixture in? I assume you'd have to place an empty box over it. If it's cold outside, will ther bees climb up into the empty box to feed? Steve
>Mike, when using the rapid feeder on top of inside cover, do you then place an empty hive box on top then outside cover?
>Also, if you've ever raised young birds, we use a waterer that fits on top of plastic bottle/jar. When tipped over, it has a resevoir the water goes into(about 1/2" deep). Could something like this be used to be syrup mixture in?
I have not tried that, but some have and reported success with it. Any feeding method can drown some bees. If there are a lot drowning then it isn't working well. The rapid feeder is handier because you don't have to face any bees. You can fill it without so much as a veil. Also, the space the bees crawl down into the syrup from is only one bee space and it's serated so they don't fall in.
>I assume you'd have to place an empty box over it. If it's cold outside, will ther bees climb up into the empty box to feed?
If it's really cold the bees will not feed at all on anything but the honey right next to them. If the inside of the hive (not the cluster but the hive) is above 50 F or so they will climb up to a feeder, but if the syrup is still cold from the night before they can't take it.
If I feed in the spring, I always try to have hot syrup. Tap water and sugar gives me something warm enough but not too hot for the bees to take. But if there is syrup left in the feeders, I often boil the new syrup so that I can add it to the left over cold syrup and warm it up.
Bees will take a lot more warm syrup than cold syrup. Just don't get it too hot. You should be able to put your finger in it without getting burned. Like the temperature of good bath water.
I like glass gallon jars for feeders in cool weather (pail feeders are the same principle) and put the feed directly over the cluster. I use division board feeders in nucs mostly.
As the plastic bucket-type feeder that sits on
the inner cover is no longer offered, I was
forced to reconsider feeders.
(As it was explained to me, the maker of the
basic pail used changed the design of the pail,
and the new pails leaked all the time when
The foam hive-top feeders worked so well,
I gave away all my 1-gallon and 3-gallon
The only drawback is the lack of handholds
or handles, which makes them tricky to lift
off the hive when full.
...and I thought I'd never use any of the
>>As the plastic bucket-type feeder that sits on
the inner cover is no longer offered
I have not heard of that, surely there are other suppliers you can buy from?
It would be a damb shame to loose that method of feeding to your bees, probably the simplist, cheapest method out there...
I have used the chicken watering type jar lids as a means to feed syrpy to the bees on a very limted basis. I added a short piece of rope aroung the feeder - this serves as a wick so bees could feed without risk of drowning. The handicap is that it has to be placed away from the entrance or else on to of inner cover with the empty box. I am now using boardman style feeders and see very little effective difference in them and cannot see that the bees prefer one over the other - both jars have to be refilled daily - lots of work - but then its is spring and any excuse to get out of the house.
I have also found quite a few dead bees aroung the large water jar that I have for the chickens. I am unsure of what is attracting them to the water as there is other water sources available.
[This message has been edited by JohnBeeMan (edited March 20, 2004).]
I think they like water with some smell. They use it to recruit and for the recruited workers to find the source.
It might have been in ABC/XYZ, or not, but I had read about using chick waterers for feeding bees. It was recommended to put some straw in the trough for them to sit on to prevent drowning. My dad loved the idea, and bought 2 last fall. Thanks for reminding me. I'll have to dig them out.
A good discussion of the use of a "quail" feeder can be found in ABJ, March '04, p210.
To make your own PAIL FEEDER, use "Screen Feeder Plugs" (fits a 2" hole), see B&B Honey Farm '03 catalog, p 14.
Dave W . . .
Hobbist - 1 Hive
First Package - Apr 03
Broodnest - 3 Deeps
Screened Bottom Board
Apistan - Aug 18, 03
Grease Patties - All year
03/04 Winter Loss - 0%
I like to use hive top feeders with screen over the opening the bees to use. It eliminates drowning, very easy to fill, and hold up to 2 gallons. However, they cost a bunch. I think I can make them since the design is fairly straight forward. What I would like to know is what type of bee safe chalk to use to it seal up. Anyone have any recommendations...
I used bees wax. just pour some melted wax along the inside edge and tilt the feeder so the wax runs around the seam.
>What I would like to know is what type of bee safe chalk to use to it seal up. Anyone have any recommendations...
How about the sealer available in the aquarium section at a pet store? It's safe for fish.
And I used to keep fish. Great Idea. I am fraid that wax won't hold up with the all the banging around I give them. Plus, wouldn't it dry out over the summer and need to be redone in the fall.
I built 20 of them from the plans on this site. Unless you have sloppy tolerances, caulk isn't in the picture. You have to paint the inside with something and the paint will seal them. I used an epoxy paint made for refinishing sinks and tubs. (2 coats)The other thing i used was the fiberglass resin used to make repairs to fiberglass. Get this at any auto store. Both are 2 part mixes but becocme inert on curing. Another point. There is, in my opinion, an extra piece in the plans. It's the crosswise piece furthest from the center. Instead, I form the wire in place of that piece. It gives the bees something to climb on. Staple some wire over the remaining crosswise piece also. Then cover the whole top in #8 wire (hardware cloth) to prevent robbing. E-mail if This isn't clear.
[This message has been edited by dickm (edited March 21, 2004).]
A correction to what I had said before.
I see that Betterbee still carries the
plastic pail type feeders, so I guess it
was just Mann Lake that stopped carrying
My father loves these feeders, and 2 gallons
is more than enough for his schedule. Me,
I like the 5-gallon hive-top "foam" feeders.
What about the hive top feeder that Mann Lake offers on page 29? Anyone have this? Does it work well? It's pretty spendy for a feed, but here in Minnesota, if it works well in cold weather, it's worth it!
I think a lot of the appeal of certain feeders depends on your managment style. If you have outyards that are several hours of driving away, then you don't want to be checking them all the time. A four gallon feeder looks pretty good then. If you have your hives in your back yard, then a quart jar is plenty big. You can refill them every morning before you go to work. Two quarts is enough that you only need to fill them every couple of days.
I have several of the "Miller" feeders from Brushy Mt (whihc have no screen on them and rely on floats) and the ones from Bee-Commerce that have a screened in area. They are similar to the Mann Lake one except that it has a plastic liner, which looks to be more durable. I find them difficult to set off the hive when working it, without spilling the syrup. But maybe I'm just a klutz. I've also have a warped lid that let the bees in the top and a lot of them have drowned in the syrup. Otherwise, they are very nice for feeding large amounts less often in outyards that aren't convenient to check often.
The center entrance to the feeder is nice when it's cold and the feeder is right over the cluster. They will feed in colder weather this way.
>What about the hive top feeder that Mann Lake offers on page 29? Anyone have this? Does it work well?
I have just recieved ten of them. I ordered them without the boxes, and the price is much better that way. I have cut out the wood and am ready to start assembly. The quality looks good and they should be quite servicable.