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Thread: top feeders

  1. #1
    JBee Guest

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    Hi,I'm a new beekeeper collecting equipment over the winter to startup next Spring. I'm currently living in NM but moving to OR as soon as my house sells. This forum has been very helpful to me in making equipment decisions. However, I'm still unsure of the best top feeder to use and where to get it. Does anyone have an opinion on this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Bellingham WA USA
    Posts
    114

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    Greetings JBee and welcome!

    I live in Northern Washington and have been using top feeders made from plans on this site - and find they work very well. Initially used internal frame feeders and found a lot more dead bees, extensive comb in the feeder and having to refill them almost daily. I recently saw a styrofoam top feeder that I understand is available from Dadant. Very simple, elegant, lightweight, holds more than 2 gallons and the bees don't seem to want to stick it to the super as much as wooden ones. I think I may get a couple for next year.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

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    I use gallon plastic buckets (bought from Brushy Mountain) with lids that have a fine-meshed screened hole in the middle of the lid. The bucket is filled with sugar syrup, then flipped over and placed over the hole in the inner cover. My homemade inner covers have two holes centered in such a way that I can place two buckets at the same time or leave one hole open for ventilation. Pros: easy handling and storage, low cost, zero drowned bees. Cons: extra hive box needed to cover the bucket, can't always tell how much syrup is left (I don't know why they don't make the buckets with a clear bottom).

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Smile

    The plastic buckets are indeed a really neat feeder! I have had several of my bucket lids to crack or break when removing them, so I mainly use top feeders.

    Easy to make and a healthy colony will readily down the syrup provided. Jack Tapp of Busy Bee Apiaries makes a 5 gallon hive top feeder. Pretty awesome!
    Follow the link below if interestd. You will have to call as his catalog is not online.
    http://www.ncagr.com/NCproducts/ShowSite.asp?ID=2086

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

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    I guess I'm from the frugal school of thought. But I use glass gallon jar top feeders. I get them free. As I work in the restaurant business and we through tons of them out why not use them? Of course they can break but by the time one does I can get 10 more to replace it. Why not save a few bucks when you can............

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,992

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    I totally agree with Clayton. >>Why not save a few bucks when you can............<< I'm sure the bees don't mind,

    I use the feeder pail. It is the cheapest easiest way to feed bees. I went a bought a bunch of frame feeders for spring feeding, and found they were alot of work, especially when trying to draw foundation. I'm going to spring feed with my feeder pail next year, and spread out my feeder pail cost better.

    >>Cons: extra hive box needed to cover the bucket, can't always tell how much syrup is left

    Why do you need a box to cover the bucket?
    I feed my hives at least one full pail for winter. Any hives needing further feed is given more surip. I usually leave the pail on until empty. Just tap the pail, and you should beable to tell the full from the half full and from the empty pails


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

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    Amen to saving money! - I too would use gallon sized jars if I could find them. The main reason to cover the feeding bucket is to protect the plywood inner cover from weather. When the bucket is almost empty (one or two inches left) I can't tell by tapping it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,992

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    >>protect the plywood inner cover from weather.

    The inner cover is only exposed for two or three weeks of the year. Bit of a waste to keep a super for that I think.

    >>When the bucket is almost empty (one or two inches left) I can't tell by tapping it.

    I consider the pail is pritty much empty at one or two inches.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

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    My favorites are the rapid feeder from www.beeworks.com. YOu can fill them without suiting up or facing a bee and they are easy to handle and hold a half gallon. But I use a little of everything. I like the wood frame feeders from Brushy Mt. I don't like the standard plastic ones. Sometimes I use jars over the inner cover. I don't care for boardman feeders on the front of the hive but often put the jar on the inner cover hole.

    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited November 17, 2003).]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    770

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    MB - the "www.beeworks.com." link doesn't work because it includes the "." at the end.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

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    Sorry. I edited the period out. Here's the page with the feeder: http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp

  12. #12
    JBee Guest

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    Guys,

    I found the Beeworks site and the feeders they have. Look interesting but a bit small. Looks like you would be filling it a every couple of days. I also found a reference to something called a "diagonal Miller" design that sounds interesting but a bit complicated to build. Still looking.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

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    1/2 gallon lasts quite a while and my problem is if it's bigger it sometimes gets moldy anyway if they aren't taking it fast. Also, the rapid feeders have a plastic lid. This seems to have less robbing than when I have millers. The Miller feeders have more surface area to give off odor and attract the robbers. The Miller feeders are awkward when you have to inspect and the feeder is full. Otherwise, if they are the kind that the bees can't get to you when you open the top, I love them. I buy the Brushy Mt ones and add a #8 screen up and over the lip to the bottom of the syrup tray, or I buy the ones from www.Bee-Commerce.com but if you're handy you can make the ones in the plans on this site.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

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    Geesh I thought the best feeder was honey in the comb beekeeper gets to stay home.....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

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    I admit, most years I don't feed at all. This year I did about 20 splits and 5 swarms and had a drought. The easiest is just leave them enough stores.

  16. #16
    JBee Guest

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    Guess I'll try one of the rapid feeders on my first package this Spring. I'll think about making one of the Miller designs later after I get a little experience. The B-Com feeders look nice but are too pricey for me - I have enough other start-up stuff to get this first year, planning on using permacomb, need a veil, etc.

    Thanx everyone for all the input.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

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    Where in OR are you moving JBee?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

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    I like jars over the inner cover. If you look around you can find the glass ones but the plastic ones are at every fast food place in town. Just find someone that works for one of them to save you a couple. The ones I used this year were plastic 1/2 gallon Mayo jars. Just use a small nail on a board to punch the holes. Free is nice. My packages took about 5 days to empty them at the fastest and about 8 days at the slowest.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

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    Greetings . . .

    Here is my version of a "cheap" hive-top feeder that can be filled without suiting-up or having bees in your face, and does NOT leak!

    Place empty (no frames) super over brood chamber. Inside, on top-bars of BC, place an old cake pan on 1/2" sq wood spacers. Place in pan, an "insert" approx 1/2" smaller (1/4" all around) than cake pan, made of 8x8 mesh. (Or some kind of float.) Cover feeder w/ inner cover made w/ 8x8 mesh. Fill pan by pouring thru wire cover.

    Mine works like a charm!

    Cake pan is easy to clean, wire inner-cover is handy when bees are drying lots of nectar in that extra super.

    Good Luck!

    ------------------
    Dave W . . .

    A NewBEE with 1 hive.
    First package installed
    April, 2003.

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