I looking at the Miller Feeder design. What if I doubled the depth of the feed to 7 inches. I can pour twice as much syrup?
Anyone ever try this?
If you put too much syrup in it will be too hard to move it without spilling all the syrup. It already is bad, if it was deeper it would be worse. Also, it would be heavier and the syrup would last longer. The syrup lasting longer is a two edged kind of thing. It will do more molding, mildewing and fermenting if it's there longer. If I made one deeper, I would still only fill it two or three inches and use the extra to keep it from spilling. Of course you also have the problem if you do it the Brushy Mt. way with floates instead of a screened off small access, that the bees will be even more likely to move into the feeder and fill it full of comb. I've had this happen with the regular ones.
I built a bunch of them last year and use them for inner covers because they allow a little more air. I didn't try your idea but I may. As they are, the plans will allow about 2 1/2 gals. That's not too bad. I did alter the plans a little. I eliminated the cross pieces of wood that act as a baffle between the bees and the honey. Then I simply formed the wire to that shape. Also, I covered the whole top with wire to eliminate robbing. If you add cleats for handles, make sure they don't interfere with the cover. I used an epoxy paint intended to re-glaze sinks,for the inside, and gave them 2 coats. No leaks yet. They are a challenge to build, the wood costs something and you can buy a plastic one for 20 bucks.
[This message has been edited by dickm (edited October 28, 2003).]
I built two Miller feeders following the plans on Beesource, but made it 6 inches deep. They countain about 4 1/2 gallons. When I fed my bees last september, they emptied it in about 3 days. Worked great.
I've been using miller type feeders as open feeders to feed this fall. For that I think the deeper ones would be great. Because I never have to lift the feeder off to get in the hive. But as it is I find it frustrating when I need to get in the hive and the feeder is still full.
Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll go with the 6 inch deep modification. 41/2 gallons sounds about right to me.
I don't like adding a gallon every day ( which is what my hive top feeder can hold now). Yeah, lifting a partially full feeder is a pain. Thanks for reminding me. I'll just have to time my inspections with low feeders....
Can you use silicon caulk to seal the feeder seams? Will it hurt the bees?
MB: you mentioned "open feeders" so you just had one in the yard where the bees from different hives can access it? If this is the case so I assume you used a telescopic cover, and put it on some kind of stand where the bees can go in from under?
Yes. I just put some pseudo miller feeders on a bottom board with a telescopic cover. I say psuedo because instead of the wire restricting the bees from getting into the main part of the syrup, these are Brushy Mt. feeders with floats in them. I had trouble with the bees getting into the top because the cover was warped and drowning because they couldn't find their way back out. The open top with the floats seem to work better for this.
I also have some Brushy Mt. frame feeder that have a wire cloth ladder in the center. I have filled boxes with these like they were frames, with gaps and put another bottom board on top so the bees have easy access but the rain doesn't ruin the syrup.
I think an ideal feeder would hold more syrup, heat the syrup to something between 90 and 120 degreees F, keep the rain out of the syrup and give the bees easy access. I am considering what would work well, but haven't really come up with a design. Maybe a barrel with a float with hardware cloth on the float and a roof on top and a heater...
If you want an inexpensive open feeder, just take a 5 gallon bucket. Cut plywood (or any wood stock) about 1/4 inch smaller than the bottom of the bucket. Meaning the round cutout will sit in the bottom of the bucket with a slight gap. Fill the bucket and place the cutout on top as a floater. In most buckets it will have a slightly larger gap at the top but as the float goes down the gap decreases. True with most buckets.
Add some drill holes to increase the area of feeding.
You can feed 5-10-15-or more gallons in one filling depending on the numbers of buckets.
Make sure you place a good distance away from the apiary. They will find it. Also limit the entrances on less than strong hives.
The buckets can be used for other things and stack nicely. I can feed out apiaries this way and visit and refill every 3-4 days instead of perhaps daily.
What if it rains? What if it gets really cold at night? I guess I was hoping to also cover those possibilities. Also, if I made a barrel I could eliminate the increasing gap issue and maybe drown less bees. I would suppose that some kind of structure that provides a roof would do for the rain. Probably a chicken water heater would keep the syrup form getting REAL cold (like freezing) but won't keep it warm enough for the bees to eat it. But at least it has a head start in the morning when the sun comes out. Maybe black buckets would help a lot on heat. I've seen them, but am not sure where to find them.
I never worried about temperature. If its warm enough for them to fly, they will eat it. After the location is known, they'll fly there in much colder temps if they have to.
I never worry about rain. If it rains an inch in a 20 inch high bucket full of syrup, by percentages it just a little more diluted solution. Doesn't happen that often.
Rain is a concern when feeding pollen substitute as I do sometimes. Morning dew makes it sticky and rain completely ruins it. I'll normally put only enough that the can collect in one day.
I only feed this way when helping an entire apiary. I still use the jars on the inner cover and miller type feeders. This is for individual weak or starter hives. I'll sometimes put a bucket out to occupy the strong hives when feeding individual weak hives. Keeps the strong hives busy.
Normally only feed in the fall this way.
I've never fed in the open. It seems to me that feeding in the open will give the most to the strongest colonies, the least to the weakest, which is the opposite of what you normally want to do and will therefore waste a lot of feed (in addition to feeding any neighboring bees).
Am I missing something here?
I don't claim to have a foolproof method, but if I feed the weak ones the strong ones rob them.
If I restrict the entrances to all the hives to 3/4" wide or so and feed in the open, it's true the strong colonies can field more bees, but the restricted openings slow them down and I can always rob the strong ones to put full frames of stores in the weak ones.
And still I get some robbing, but less it seems.
I agree with what M.B. said.
You can feed for various reasons.
Feeding in the open can help with drawing comb for a new apiary site.
Can help weak hives while occupying strong hives. (note: If your open feeding, put a jar on the weak ones also. They can collect from the jar at times that is not good for flying ie. night, etc.)
You can also open feed to simulate a late season flow. This I wish I had done last year as the drought shut alot of queens down and the early frost did not allow them to produce young bees for winter. Then a long winter. Alot of kill.
If you open feed...Put the feeder a couple hundred yards away id possible. Will really limit the robbing frenzy.
If you feed in the hive...DO NOT drip any syrup in the apiary. This will cause robbing.