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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Warne, North Carolina
    Posts
    551

    Post

    I am having a terrible situation with this plastic entrance feeder. I hived my packaged bees on Monday and already the feeder was empty. When I went to add more syrup, I had to pull the entire feeder out and turn the yellow bottle upside down to pour more in, then insert the entire tray and all back into the hive. This is a feeder that Brushy Mt. sells with the English Garden Hive. This type feeding tray inserts into the area of the front entrance inside the hive. Tonight when I tried to re-insert the tray, something was blocking the entrance and I could not get it to go back in. The bees were really pissed at me and they started swarming out. I finally forced it back in, killing some of the bees, I got stung and now I'm crying because of my frustration over this feeder. I felt so horrible to kill those bees but I had to get the feeder back in because the temp is going down to 38 degrees tonight and I had to make sure they would be okay. They are still hanging around the outside and syrup is everywhere. I hung an infrared light out so that they could have time to get settled back in since it is already dark here. Can anyone tell me about this feeder and what could have gone wrong?? I can't believe it and am not sure I like this feeding type. Have I lost my bees? Are they going to forgive me for this mistake??
    ~What do you know there's so much to be done
    Count all the bees in the hive, Chase all the clouds from the sky~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Lyndon, KS
    Posts
    357

    Post

    First off it is almost impossible to do anything with bees with out killing a few.........don't worry they will forgive you.......those feeders are tough to work with and I have experienced the same things........that was until I tried and now use almost exclusively the beemax feeder........those you fill from the top of the hive and no bees get to you as they are closed in with the only entrance from inside the hive......
    You have to stop and smell the roses......but please watch out for my bees.
    www.johnwaynehoney.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Charleston, WV
    Posts
    172

    Post

    Sorry that you had such a rough time. I am not familiar with the specific feeder you are using but are you sure you can't just unscrew the bottle without removing the whole feeder tray? I can imagine they get pretty unhappy if you have to bang around each time you feed them more. You'll have to feed them alot...maybe daily at first. If there is no way to unscrew the bottle leaving the tray still in the hive, I would junk that feeder and get one of the cheapo wooden boardmann feeders Brushy Mtn (and everyone else ) sells. You can use a plain old mason jar and it can be removed leaving the tray in the hive. You can also just poke some holes in a pickle jar and invert that over the hole in the inner cover. I have done that but am not typically satisfied with the results (that's just me...lot's of people do it that way). Anyhow, I like the chaep-o wooden entrance feeders. Brushy Mtn and others also sell the Miller feeders that go on top of the hive but I always drown a lot of bees with that and hate cleaning it out all the time. Whew...long winded tonight. Anyhow, don't despair. Get a better feeder if yours won't work. Press on...it will be worth it when you get to eat honey from your own hive!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    > First off it is almost impossible to do anything
    > with bees with out killing a few...

    Well, it certainly is possible to refill a
    hivetop feeder with killing a single bee, as
    one simply removes the cover, fills the feeder,
    and replaces the cover again. This is the exact
    reason why I am such a fan of hivetop feeders
    rather than buckets, division-board feeders,
    or entrance feeders.

    > the temp is going down to 38 degrees tonight

    Ah, there's a clue - wait until dark and cold
    force the bees into a cluster, and they will
    not mind you messing about with the entrance
    feeder.

    > Can anyone tell me about this feeder

    Sure - entrance feeders are "defective in design".
    The whole concept is brain-damaged, as it is a
    very bad idea to put feed near the entrance for
    several reasons:

    a) At the entrance means "robbing may start".
    Moreso with a small weak hive, a split or a new
    package, but then, what else would you be feeding?

    b) At the entrance means that the bees must either
    brave the cold, or forego the feed due to cold.
    Neither one is what you want. You want to be
    able to provide the bees feed even when the
    ambient temp is very cold.

    c) Entrance feeders are too small. I've seen
    colonies empty them in less than a day. This
    leaves the bees with no feed until you notice
    that the feeder is empty.

    In short they are "Broken As Designed" or "B.A.D."
    as we say in the lab.

    > and what could have gone wrong??

    You did nothing wrong. It likely came with no
    instructions at all, another unforgivable fault
    of most beekeeping products.

    > I can't believe it and am not sure I like this
    > feeding type.

    Trust your impression.

    > Have I lost my bees?

    I doubt it. Your hive was strong enough to mount
    a vigorous defense in reaction to your attempt to
    re-fill the feeder. This is a good sign for the
    bees, even if it was painful for you.

    > Are they going to forgive me for this mistake??

    Nope. They are just bugs, and cannot forgive
    you. The good news is that they can't hold a
    grudge either. If you made a regular habit of
    provoking them, they might become very defensive,
    but this "learning" takes time and repetition,
    and is hard for any but this most clumsy beekeeper
    to invoke.

    If you bought the entrance feeder from Brushy
    Mountain, you may be able to trade in a squeeky clean
    and undamaged entrance feeder towards the purchase
    of a (more expensive, but problem-free) hive-top
    feeder. E-mail Steve Forest (steve@beeequipment.com)
    who owns the place, and tell him your tale of woe.
    If the feeder is in returnable and re-sellable
    condition, I am confident he will do whatever it
    takes to make you a happy beekeeper and repeat customer.

    While you are at it, tell him I suggested that you ask,
    and tell him that I said that the bundling of
    entrance feeders in "complete kits" is taking
    cost-cutting a bit too far! [img]smile.gif[/img]

    But don't blame Steve - all the "beginner kits"
    sold by all vendors vary from terrible to worse
    in terms of including low-priced, but sometimes
    nearly useless imitations of industrial-strength
    beekeeping tools in an attempt to make the
    initial investment as low as possible for the
    new beekeeper.

    jim fischer
    (Who had a hive tool made from titanium.
    Why? Because we can!)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Warne, North Carolina
    Posts
    551

    Post

    Thank you. I appreciate everything..I feel better. I just met Steve this weekend and I really enjoyed my visit to Brushy Mtn. He's a great person and made me feel very comfortable about my new adventure - I still am. I don't care about the $$$, all I want is simple, and something that works. The catalogue was very confusing to a "new" beekeeper - way too much information. The entrance feeder sits on the outside, but the tray goes inside so the bees don't have to come outside. Right now they are still outside eating all the spilled syrup on the container from our ordeal.

    Anyway, I will be getting some type of top entrance feeder as this is the most logical choice especially because of my ant problem. I actually watched the bees fight the ants today as they tried to enter the tiny entrance hole..that was interesting to watch them with the ants. Also, tonight I was stung all over especially on my face due to not securing my veil because I thought it would be a simple matter and I didn't expect what I found. These Italian bees do not sting that hard at all, I can't even tell I got stung nor do I even feel it, it was so light. I hope they don't change the way they sting when honey flow gets here, LOL!! Otherwise, I can deal with this and beekeeping ain't too bad after all! Thanks again, I'm going to bug Steve now.

    Jim, which hivetop feeder do you recommend??
    ~What do you know there's so much to be done
    Count all the bees in the hive, Chase all the clouds from the sky~

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Top feeders are not entrance feeders. As stated earlier the simplest is a mason jar with several small holes punched in the lid and turned upside down over the inner cover hole. So far I have never been stung refilling a jar on the inner cover but a few bees are on the jar and the inner cover hole is open while I fill. You have to use another hive body with no frames to cover the jar then place the outer cover on. I am disabled and every dime is very important to my family so I have not purchased a hive top feeder like Jim advices.

    The spilled syrup will attrack robbers. Which is one of the reasons againt an entrance feeder. The bees can get to the syrup in bad weather but not in cold weather as the cluster normally forms near center in the back side of the hive because of the draft near the entrance. So when they cluster they can not get to the syrup at the front of the hive. Hive top feeder stay a bit warmer(heat rises) and are closer to the syrup. My bees took the syrup from the entrance feeder with temps above 40F. They take syrup from the hive top feeders in the teens on strong hives and splits take it in the mid 20s.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    > Jim, which hivetop feeder do you recommend??

    I like the Styrofoam ones, but the plastic
    inserts that fit into a medium super are
    OK, once you bend the screening so that the
    bees stay inside the screened center channel,
    and/or duct-tape the screening to keep it
    sealed.

    The ones made from 100% wood can become a pain
    over time, as they tend to develop leaks if
    not maintained with meticulous care and lots
    of coats of waterproofing.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    98

    Post

    I used one of those yellow entrance feeders also, and you are right Cyndi, they suck. They allow the bees to feed faster, but the concept is flawed, as you invariably irritate the bees in the refilling process.

    I know I am "behind the times," but I still use a Boardman Entrance Feeder. That is a kind of box that you stick in the entrance, and you don't remove until you are finished feeding for the year. Then you fill up a Quart mason jar with your feed, and put a cover with a few holes poked in in on the jar. Invert the jar into the feeder and the bees go to town. When you need to refill, just lift the jar out of the feeder, and there are rarely any more than three bees on the lid. These you can easily flick off the top, back towards the entrance of the hive. And you can fill the jar, replace the lid, and put it back in the feeder. Simple and easy. No need to actually get in the hive like some top feeders. But if that is what you like, that is OK too. They are all good options, just different pros and cons.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
    Posts
    1,725

    Post

    this is the feeder I use and have no complaints yet, seems to work just fine.

    http://betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=409
    Ted

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Charleston, WV
    Posts
    172

    Post

    Having to deal with the breakdown of the wooden hive top feeders is a pain as mentioned above. When I use them, I buy cheap cake pans and fill them with the syrup. They hold the syrup fine and never leak. Easier to clean drowned bees and gunk also

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Post

    For what it is worth, I cant not justafy spending a lot money on a feeder. If you have one hive.. maybe two and money is not an issue, than what the heck. spend away. I now have 6 hives and I cant seem to justafy spedning anymore money than what the woodware costs.

    For me... the bucket feeding is a great way!

    Now... I am not sure how to feed nucs. I used the bucket method but then it needs a nuc extender.

    any ideas?
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Warne, North Carolina
    Posts
    551

    Post

    Anyone want a plastic entrance feeder??? Today I took that thing off...what a pain!! I'm so happy to never deal with that again. When I took it off today, the syrup went everywhere, it came apart and I ended up throwing it over the fence several feet away from the bees. (I picked it up later of course - don't want to attract any wild critters). Anyway, I'm happy to report that I got the pail feeder and it seems to be doing just fine - at least it went on and was dripping syrup - just hope it doesn't drown them. The bees spent most of the day cleaning up the big mess..the ants are on the ground instead of on the hive and the guard bees have been busy all evening shooing the ants from the tiny entrance. Bees are the best housekeepers, I wish they could come and clean my house for me:~) Oh well, if no one wants this feeder I'm going to use it to feed the butterflies. Thanks for all the input and the mason jar with holes in it was a great idea and would have worked since I only have a zillion of those around my house....but I went ahead and spent the $5 on the pail which holds more.
    ~What do you know there's so much to be done
    Count all the bees in the hive, Chase all the clouds from the sky~

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alpine, NY (near Cayuga Lake)
    Posts
    107

    Post

    Cyndi, I don't use a bucket, but I don't think it's supposed to drip.
    Lesli<br /> <a href=\"http://beeyard.blogspot.com/\" target=\"_blank\">http://beeyard.blogspot.com/</a>

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    &gt; I don't think it's supposed to drip.

    No, they are not supposed to drip, and if they
    do, they can make a real mess. The mesh should
    be fine enough to prevent any dripping when the
    bucket is inverted, surface tension should keep
    the liquid in the bucket until a bee pokes her
    proboscis onto or through the mesh.

    If it leaks or drips when simply inverted,
    it is defective, and should be returned for
    a replacement that does not leak.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Warne, North Carolina
    Posts
    551

    Post

    This pail bucket drips at first when you tip it over and then when the vacuum effect takes place, it stops. Does that make sense? I tested it before I put it on....I just said that because I guess I don't have much faith in the laws of gravity, nor do I have much faith in any of these bee products:~) For instance, those mason jars with holes could do the same thing..drip, if you had too many holes punctured on the top..right?
    ~What do you know there's so much to be done
    Count all the bees in the hive, Chase all the clouds from the sky~

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,958

    Post

    I take a plastic pitcher (flat top) with me. I invert the buckets over the pitcher and actually rest them there a while. You can squeeze the bucket a little to hurry the process, but it only takes a few seconds.

    My hives are on wooden stands with boards nailed on as a place to put stuff, so if you don't have a nice hard level surface, I wouldn't rest it there.

    When the pitcher is full, I empty it into a bucket that isn't quite empty on one of the hives.
    Bruce

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