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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Lilliwaup, Washington State
    Posts
    32

    Question

    Hello all!

    I am using a Miller type hive top feeder and discovered some mildew forming on the feeder and the outer cover. I admit to a couple mistakes. My first mistake was in not finishing the inside of the outer cover, maybe this started the mildew. Second mistake was I finished the inside of the feeder with Safecoat water based poly finish which is by itself a great product, but then I coated the entire inside of the feeder with melted paraffin wax. One should only do the seams, otherwise the wax could separate from the finished inside surface. This is what happened to my feeder. The feeder plans I used were the plans from BeeSource. I am using a slatted bottom rack over a IPM Screened bottom board (with slide out board removed) It seems as though ventalation should not be a problem. I have just built and installed a new feeder and outer cover. I flushed the old syrup and started the new feeder with a new batch of syrup. I will remove the excess wax from the old feeder and plan to re use for another colony some day.

    My questions are:
    Is mildew a common problem using this type of feeder?
    Is mildew a hazard? (the syrup looked fine except for a few small bee parts?)
    Is it common to find drowned bees? I am guessing the drowning may have resulted during the topping off of the feeder syrup. I'll try to top off slowley in the future.

    Thanks in advance for any replies and/or tips you all may have!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    I had one hive with a miller-type feeder on it that developed mildew on the inside of the top cover- 2 other hives were OK- no mildew. I dunno if it's normal, or a problem. We've had a really cold wet spring here, I'd expect a little mildew forming in such conditions. Without an inner cover, ventilation would suffer. Perhaps ventilation could be provided without letting bees in/out.

    As for the lining of your feeder, I dunno. I just put one into service that I built to overcome the deficiencies of the ones I bought- and I waxed the whole inside of mine with bees wax over unfinished wood. I'll let you know how it holds up.

    I seem to have eliminated the drowning problem by stapling some screen on the wall of the feeder where the bees are climbing up/down to the syrup- give them something to really grab hold of, though with a nice wax surface that might not be necessary. Perhaps you're right- you surprised them when you filled it.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Lilliwaup, Washington State
    Posts
    32

    Post

    Thanks for the reply George.
    I do have the screen installed for ladder use also. I do think the tide came in without warning, and a bit too fast I suspect. I considered the wax only approach also, but being in the rainforest I had concerns of deterioration. I'll be interested in hearing how yours works out.
    Thanks again!
    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    If you take my adviceyou'll do the following
    1. Cover the entire top with #8 wire.
    2. The plans have an extra (IMHO) piece of wood forming the channel the bees crawl into. Remove it and replace with wire.
    3.Staple some screen to the remaining wood for traction.
    4. Get some of the epoxy paint used to refinish sinks, at your paint store. Use 2 coats on new wood.
    5. Put a little lemon juice in the feed. (Keeps mold down)
    6. Cover the inside of the lid with aluminum.
    7. Put a 3/4 " block of wood to the rear of the feeder to holdup the lid for ventilation. (No inner cover)


    Dickm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,800

    Post

    >Is mildew a common problem using this type of feeder?

    It is common in ANY kind of feeder.

    >Is mildew a hazard?

    No.

    >Is it common to find drowned bees?

    Yes. But anything you can do to minimize it is useful.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Lilliwaup, Washington State
    Posts
    32

    Post

    Thank you all for your advice!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    Ventilation on top of the feeder would be good if it can be provided so as not to let bees into the feeder from the outside. There are some intinerant (migratory) bees about a mile up the road pollinating blueberries and I imagine they'd love some free syrup.

    I'm not about to use a 16x20 inch square of #8 screen on the feeder, that stuff is just way too expensive!

    My bees wax coating seems to have worked fine.

    In any case, I'm done feeding my bees for now- they've got plenty of stores and don't need it.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

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