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Thread: Hive top feeder

  1. #1
    hooisyurbee Guest

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    New beekeeper here....I have a hive top feeder and have 2 questions:

    1. I was told to keep my feeder on my new hive even though the nectar flow was in full force. Is this true?

    2. I get mold in the feeder and does anyone know how to keep that out and will it hurt the bees if I leave it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    The reason for feeding even though there is a flow is so that the queen keeps laying and the bees draw comb. It takes about 5# honey for 1# wax. Plus the bees are not stressed as much since even at night they are taking syrup down. Rainny days they still have the syrup in the feeder and that gives them a sence of 'wealth'. Now for the other question well the mold is not good. It will give them the runs. I would clean it out with hot water and a brush. Are you using 2 sugars to one water, or 1 sugar to one water, or 2 waters to one sugar? To start up a hive I use 1 to 1. Weight or volume measure does not matter. 2 sugars to 1 water for fall feeding, 1-1 for build up, and 2 water to 1 sugar to stimulate egg production and create a false honey flow.
    Dan

  3. #3
    hooisyurbee Guest

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    Thanks Dan....I was using a 1:1 mixture until about 2 weeks ago. I now understand the need to feed.

    I will take your advise and put the feeder back on.

    Any advise on controlling the mold??? It seems to take hold very quickly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Mebane, NC, USA
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    115

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    A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in each 4 or 5 gal. bucket of 2:1 sugar syrup should keep the mold down. I tried it and it seemed to help.

  5. #5
    hooisyurbee Guest

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    Thanks again...I will try the vinegar too.

    One other thing with this feeder....the bee build comb in the feeder entrance. Is this normal???

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    hermiston, oregon
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    458

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    Does everyone like the top feeders???
    I have 2 top feeders and 2 doolittle(frame insert) feeders. They seem to really go through the syrup 10 times faster than the top feeders

    [This message has been edited by oregonsparkie (edited June 24, 2004).]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Freedom, PA USA
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    222

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    I was getting mold in my hive earlier this year from the top feeder. I stuck some popcicle (sp?) sticks on top of the feeder so the top cover doesn't seal so tightly, and that seemed to remedy the problem.

    I like the hive top feeder, but I feel bad cuz every week there is at least a dozen drownd bees in the sugar syrup. I want to install little life jackets, or rescue boats.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    814

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    For the top feeder use a crunched up wire - screening. I use glass 1/2 gallon containers (canning jars) with holes in the lids. Every 2 - 3 days I have to feed again plus I can rise them out. Unfortunatly my apiarie is only 50 feet from my house so it probably wont help you folks with out apiaries. Best of all the ones that I read about are the frame feeders. I think that is what they are called. Again put something inside so the bees can crawl out like window screaning. Good luck.
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    6,601

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    >>I was told to keep my feeder on my new hive even though the nectar flow was in full force. Is this true?
    >>The reason for feeding even though there is a flow is so that the queen keeps laying and the bees draw comb

    Yes feed during a flow, to continue building your colony and brood comb, but dont continue to feed while the bees are storing nectar. Dont contaminate your honey with surip. There is a huge difference between the two types of flows...

    Ian

  10. #10
    hooisyurbee Guest

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    I put the feeder back on tonight and added some vinegar in the hopes this will help with the mold.

    I also find dead bees floating in my top feeder and feel this also adds to the molding from their little bodies decaying....not sure how to stop that one.

    Also my feeder does not allow for emptying or cleaning without removal and I always have hundreds of bees in the feeder entrance. I smoke them but it never get them all.

    Anyone have neat tricks to help ease in the cleaning of top feeders???

  11. #11
    hooisyurbee Guest

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    Ian...Thanks but I'm not sure I understand what you are telling me.

    I just did start this hive in April and I just added another deep super/foundation today. I really wasn't expecting much in the honey production. I was more concerned with building my colony.

    Am I missing something here???

  12. #12

    Post

    I love the top feeder, I don't have to disturb the hive to check the syrup level. I too find drowned bees, i rescue the swimming girls. I never knew the different ratio levels. - Tim

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
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    I put some lemon juice in the feed and a few drops of essential oils. (Spearmint,wintergreen). This is sort of a homemade "Honey B Healthy". Also, I put a piece of bare copper wire in each bay of the feeder. Seems to help but I'd like to hear from others who have tried it.

    dickm

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    Well seeing that your trying to establish a hive I would keep feeding honey flow or not. Make sure you have at least 2 deep suppers drawn out before you stop feeding. This will create a hive that has plenty of stores and brood for winter. Now about 'careful mixing sugar and honey', yes I agree but are you not trying to establish a hive? They will use up all the syrup drawing all that wax, feeding all that brood and trying to establish some reserves. Stopping in the midle of 'helping them' will cause a sevire drop off in brood production, and most definatly no comb drawing. By mid July if you have two suppers full I would then put a third on and stop feeding. There should be enough bees to continue 'normal' hive activities and also start storing a surplus for the poor beekeeper.
    Dan

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
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    504

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    Hello, I did build a Miller type feeder as shown in the plans and also had some drowning bees. First I looked at the screening and made sure that the ends were closed and all the way to the sides with no openings. Finally I had to solder some additional strips in and did some more stapling. That solved that, but, the inner cover, also built to the dimensions given in the plans had to be rebuilt with the bottoms flat so the bees cannot crawl over the high barrier. Now when I use it, mostly in the fall, I have no more bees in the feeder. Hope this helps, take care and have fun.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Mebane, NC, USA
    Posts
    115

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    hooisyurbee, I have the polystyrene top feeders. When I need to clean them and put them back on, I just take them off and give the end that has the bees in it a good bang on the ground. The bees fall off and then I can clean the feeder, return it, then refill it. This assumes there is very little to no syrup in the feeder.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bellville, Texas
    Posts
    41

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    I have used the top feeders and have been really happy. Yes I loose a few bees (10-15 over 7 days). I just use the float to "rake" them out. Presently, only feeding 3 nucs that have graduated to 1 deep and one medium while they get estabalished right now. Using the HBH will eliminate the mold problems. I mix 20 gallons at a time (use a paint mixer and cordless drill) and keep it at the appiary in an extra plastic tank that I had. I put a 1" plastic valve on it. Fill a bucket - fill the feeder. Works great and lasts about 3 weeks.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA USA
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    119

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    >One other thing with this feeder....the bee build comb in the feeder entrance. Is this normal???

    It's normal because your bees need room to store brood, pollen and nectar. If they're building in the feeder entrance they are most likely crowded for space down below.

    Scrape out all the comb in the entrance so the bees don't start building again on the wax residue.

    This happened to me for the first time this year. I have two hives quite a distance from my house and for one reason or another I just couldn't get to them.

    When I checked under the cover all the syrup was gone, the bees had built considerable comb in the hive entrance and the bottom frames were crammed with brood, bees and honey.

    Sheesh. I learned my lesson. I'm lucky they didn't swarm on me because of the crowding (as soon as I saw what was going on, I checked for swarm cells) Fortunately I had brought an extra hive body with me as well as a clean feeder.

    Gave them 10 new frames to draw out and replenished the feeder with 4 gallons of feed. I'll be back to check them next Monday, no excuses.

    ------------------
    First Year Beekeeping Journal: http://www.blackcatnetworkhelp.net/beeblog.aspx

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,742

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    I had a hive that moved the brood nest into the feeder hanging from the inner cover. What a mess! I flipped it upside down and put it on the bottom until the brood emerged and the queen moved into the hive again and then I harvested the honey they had filled it with when they reworked it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC, USA
    Posts
    71

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    My bees like to draw comb in the hive top feeder also. This year I just fed them a couple of times in late Jan., early Feb. then took it off. It was a source for a good bit of wax.

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