Can someone explain to me how this is done? I am assuming that "open feeding" means the food is placed away from the hives. Boardman feeder? Some other kind of feeder? It sounds like a good way to prevent robbing.
Outdoor feeders would seem an easy way to supplement needs of many colonies at one time. Problem is that weaker colonies do not seem to get nearly as much advantage as strong colonies. Communal feeding may ENCOURAGE robbing and weaker colonies end up losers.
Dave W . . .
A NewBEE with 1 hive.
First package installed
I used a large Rubbermaid tub, filled with syrup and then put straw in to form a mat, make sure it's at least 300 ft. from the hives and if you see fighting at the feeder, you need more surface area so all the bees can get at the syrup. If you see drowning add more straw.
>I am assuming that "open feeding" means the food is placed away from the hives.
>Boardman feeder? Some other kind of feeder?
I tend to use what I have around. You could cut a piece of plywood to fit the bottom of a five gallon bucket and use it for a float. Drill a lot of 1/8" holes in it, and fill the bucket with syrup.
Right now I have a lot of Brushy Mt frame feeders in a box on a bottom board and a lid (not the plastic ones) and several miller feeders on bottom boards with lids
>It sounds like a good way to prevent robbing.
>Outdoor feeders would seem an easy way to supplement needs of many colonies at one time. Problem is that weaker colonies do not seem to get nearly as much advantage as strong colonies. Communal feeding may ENCOURAGE robbing and weaker colonies end up losers.
The more I've experimented in recent times with feeding various ways, I've concluded that it is FEEDING itself combined with a dearth that sets off robbing. I've seen a robbing frenzy after any kind of feeding I can think of or heard of.
A boardman seems to be worse because it's on the front of the hive.
Open feeding close to the hives seems to be worse because it's sort of like a weak hive and the forages start looking in the vicinity of the feeders for more stores and find the weak hives.
Open feeding away from the hives seems to help some. But still sets off some robbing.
Miller feeders seem to give of a lot of smell and set off robbing. (Especially if you feed honey or Honey Bee Healthy or any kind of essential oils in the syrup).
Frame feeders drown a lot of bees, expand to crowd the frame next to it when you fill it, and you have to face bees to fill it. But they seem to give off less smell and are usually at the top of the hive and are defensible.
Strong hive gets more, no big deal. Just swap frames of honey later.
Robbing, robbing, robbing. If you spill syrup in the apiary, if you open for too long, if you have weak hives,....any feeding may cause robbing. What should you do, nothing?
I've mentioned about setting up a boardman feeder table, away from the hives, and this will MINIMIZED or almost ELIMINATE all the concerns about the robbing. I prefer this way of feeding as I can refill the jars every morning, without opening up any hives. No stings or suits, etc. Also have no dead bees from these feeders. I can set 5 or 25 feeders out.
I also use 5 gallon pails with floaters for some locations, but there are dead bees to deal with.
If I had my way and could fill jars at all the apiaries every morning, and I had enough boardman feeders, the boardman feeder would be my choice. Also no concerns with rain in the pails, etc.
For a couple of dollars(or make your own) and old canning jars bought at flea markets, its actually cheaper and more handy than carrying the extra boxes around needed for other types of feeder.
Now I'm more confused than ever! I was asking about outside feeding because I do use Honey B Healthy in my Miller Feeders and wanted to avoid robbing. I keep entrance reducers on them while feeding, but I thought maybe outside feeding might be the answer. As it stands now, I think I'll stick with "the devil I know."
Many beekeepers open feed, but to open feed you have to take in a few considerations.
How issolated are your yards. Very reason why I dont open feed. I would hate the thought of feeding my neighbours bees!! Even worst, spreading disease to his from mine, or even vice versa.
How strong are your yards. An ununiform yard of strong and weak hives may lead to disaster,
How much time you have. Open feeding is probably the easiest way to feed hives. Simply fill the durm.
It can cause robbing problems, but usually not if the drums are at least 100 feet away, and the hives fed up to what they need.
I feed with hivetop pales and feed each hive accordingly to weight. I suppose open feeding leaves the feeding needs of the hive up to the bees themselves...
Many different ways of feeding, but if you find a method that works, run with it. Who cares what everyone else is doing, right?
Open feeding is a lot like looting. Bees from my hives, from the bee tree in the woods, from my neighbor, wasps, flies, moths and ants all show up for their share. Don't be lazy--feed in the hive with a big feeder and shut the entrance down to a manageable size to make sure that robbers cannot get in. Cut it down to a 3/8 x 1/2 slit if need be.