What are you finding is the best methood of feeding sugar syrup? I have tried the black plastic "tanks" that replace a frame and they seem to just fill up with dead bees. Its often too cold to use the front entrance feeders that use a quart jar with pin holes in the cover.The upside down pails seem to run right thru better than half the time. I have been using top feeder boxes but sometimes they leak thru or they fill up with dead bees or the bees just dont want to go into them. I need to get some more feeders just wondering what you guys are having success with.
I just use quart mason jars with hole punched in the lids. I have made "feeder boxes" from rough cut pine, so that I do not have to tie up deep or med. super boxes.
It hs worked well for me.
I use a plastic zip-loc bag of syrup inside a "feeder box", about half the height of a shallow super. When the bag is on the frames, I carefully cut shallow slits in the bag. I've accidentally cut too deep, and the syrup has leaked out the bottom. What a mess!
I've used everything except the baggies. My favorite for price and ease of use is the one from beeworks. http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp You can fill it without greeting any bees because they cannot get to you. I holds 1/2 gallon of syrup and it sits on the inner cover with a box on the inner cover to give it room for the feeder.
The division board feeders need a hardware cloth bent to fit inside for a ladder to keep the bees from drowning and still the swell in the middle if you fill them and crowd the frame next to them. Brushy Mt. has some made of masonite and wood that don't swell, have the hardware cloth in them and have a lid for when you aren't using them. I think they would work fine, but I haven't had the chance to use mine yet.
The Boardman feeders I don't like much because you have to mess with the entrance (gaurd bees) to fill them. There are always bees still on them to deal with and they tend to encourage robbing.
I have some hivetop feeders from Brushy Mt that I added screen wire to to make only a bee space access to the syrup, and some from Bee-Commerce that already have the hardware cloth. They are similar to the one in the plans section http://www.beesource.com/plans/mfeeder.htm
I like them for all the reasons I like the one from beeworks except they are more expensive. You can fill them without facing the bees (if you add the screenwire to the Brushy Mt. one) and you can put more syrup or honey in them than any other feeder (a pro and a con. Sometimes the bees lose interest and you have a lot of moldy syrup or crystalized honey).
I have also, when making my own inner covers, put a hole the size of a mason jar (or two) with 1/8 hardware cloth stapled on the bottom and you can use like a boardman with a box on top of the inner cover, except it's inside the hive (so there's no robbing being set off) and the hardware cloth lets you pick up the jars without dealing with bees. When I put two of these on I often fill one with water and one with syrup or honey.
I like glass gallon jars (free) for getting close to cluster during cold weather. Division board feeders either filled with straw or screen type material to prevent drowning. I only feed when I must. Don't like all my $$$ tied up into fancy and/ or expensive feeders. Rather it went into boxes, frames, bees, ect. I like miller feeders but find they are to costly compared to free and they just don't get the feed right close to the bees. Zip lock baggies work good but arne't good for feeding 50+ hives? Anyone got a good method for transporting these to outyards where terrain is rather rough? Pail feeder are the same as jar to me except not free, and some of them seem to leak allot. Don't use boardman feeders as the neighboring yards can rob nucs to death in the fall around here.
I prefer division board feeders with a piece of window screen or hardware cloth cut to size and folded over double as Michael mentioned. Gives the bees something to climb on and prevents comb building in the feeder.
I try to avoid feeding unless absolutely necessary (packages) - I like to let the bees do it their way as much as possible.
When I was at the Kansas State Honey Producers meeting last month either Draper or Dadant had a division board feeder that had a lid that kept the feeder from bulging and also had two or three holes in the top with tubular ladders for the bees to crawl in and out of.
Don't bother to look in the catalogs, they are not listed. I have been meaning to call and ask if I could order just the lids but haven't gotten to that yet. I use the hive top feeders with the wire and like them just fine.
If you want to keep your syrup from molding, add Honey-B-Healthy. If you can keep your bees from sucking it up, it's supposed to inhibit molding.
I like cheap and effective. This year I decided to build my own feeders. After reading all of the posts about how to seal a hive top feeder I figured there had to be a better way. I have an abundance of old shallow supers. Some in worse shape than others. I used a few beat up supers and trimmed them down to clean up the edges. I tacked a piece of 1/4" plywood to the bottom and drilled 1" holes in the piece of plywood. I put 2 rubbermaid 1 gal plastic rectangular containers from Wal-Mart ( like a shoe box )in the super and folded screen wire like an accordian and put that in the containers. All I do is put the super on the hive under the top board and pour my sugar water in. I don't have a problem with the bees when I refill it but if you wanted to you could tack screening on the top and pour the sugar water thru the screening.
Excellent! In my quest to standardize to all medium boxes I knew that I could cut my deeps down to mediums and use the cut off portion for Emirie shims, top entrances, slatted racks and the such, but I wasn't sure what to do with those shallow boxes.
I needed another woodworking project
Smack dab in the middle of the country.
For those of you that use outside container feeder's, I use corn comb's , they make good float's for the bee's.& after the feed is gone they keep working it for day's getting the feed out that has soaked in the comb's. just one of my cheap way's Mark