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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Independence, Or USA
    Posts
    24

    Default questions on open feeding

    I have never used this method to feed my bees so I had a few questions about it
    1. Can open feeding start a robbing feeding or can it help stop one?
    2. How much syrup do you put out at one time and how often do you refil your barrels (currently I have about 150 hives in some locations and I was thinking of using 55 gal barrels to feed out of)?
    3. What are some other pro and cons on open feeding?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,001

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    I wouldn't set the barrel right in the middle of the yard as those colonies closest to the barrel might have to fight for their lives. How many bees, not in your boxes, are within four or five miles; because you will be feeding them all!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,212

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    How many hives do you have to feed?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Schoolcraft Mi.
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    I use small plastic pools hold around
    25gal. With 150 hives I would use
    Three or four pools. bees should drain
    The pools in one or two days
    Scott

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Independence, Or USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    I will eventually have 300 to 600 hives per location and I am already feeding with inside feeders, the main thing I was concerned with was robbing( if open feeding would start a robbing frenzy or if it would stop the hives from picking at each other), also some areas could use some extra feed before the cold weather hits

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
    Posts
    3,015

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    We currently are using 5 gal buckets to feed during the dearth. I am sure we will go back to the internal feeders when we try to fatten them up for the winter, but those times are about a month off. The biggest problem with the bucket feeders are the dead bees. We have largely solved this by placing 2 wire screens in each bucket... this works really well. We place 1-2 buckets in each 20-24 hive yard. We travel around about once a week and refill the buckets... it is a lot less labor intensive than the internal feeders in my opinion and appears to work just as well. At least that is my thinking at the moment.
    \
    I have not seen it start robbing frenzys.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    I've seen a few guys with nice open feeders in their holding yards, that circulate syrup from a 275 gal tote. THe syrup drips onto a peice of plywood with a sheet of hardware cloth on it, and at the bottom edge is a 3 ich pipe made into a trough which collects the extra syrup. This is then recirculated over the board. The thing does a good job of feeding 1000+ hives, and no bees drown.

    Tim Stewart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Fruitland ,Idaho
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    Tim do you have pictures of this device or a contact number? I would imagine that it requires power?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    450

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    what I have done is use 2 1/2 gallon chicken waterer with a sponge stuffed in the outlet. That way the girls can not get into the tank and pull to much syrup into the tray and drown. It has worked for me, but I do know I am feeding the locals too
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Middletown, Delaware
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    In this day and age it is a very poor practice to open feed. There are simply to many communicable diseases that are currently affecting Honey Bees. For instance, Israeli Acute Paralyses Virus is devastating to a hive and WILL be passed on at open feed sites. Open feeding is far different than bees simply foraging together at nectar sources. While open feeding may have made sense 10 years ago, I would stay far and away from it today.

  11. #11

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    IMO, the labor, paid or otherwise, is well spent in feeding individually.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,397

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Skinner Apiaries View Post
    IMO, the labor, paid or otherwise, is well spent in feeding individually.
    Agreed, and it really dosent take more than 5 to 10 seconds per hive if you are well set up. In addition the small hive that really needs the feed is going to get it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Fruitland ,Idaho
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    The labor deal would be a plus I guess but not what I was trying to save on. We played around last year with some open feeding and had good results. Seems to keep them from robbing on each other as bad. An oldtime beekeeper told me they would throw a pit today then go work that yard tomorrow and had very little robbing. I tried it and it worked. You need to have isolated yards for this to work.
    However I havn't found a good application method. Need more of a drip type system for less drowning.

  14. #14

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    Nick, it probably works good, when all your bees are strong like yours!!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    436

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    Open feedings works well as long as you are isolated enough from other bees. I find open feeding reduces robbing as the bees are busy. Some of the worst robbing I've seen in a bee yard during feeding is with hive top feeders. I open feed as many as 1000 hives at a time with not problems. My feedings are often as close a 5 yards from the hives.

    In fall, when I am feeding for winter my yards are about 60. My winter survival rates have improved since I began open feeding - usually less than 10% (knock on wood). Big hives get a little more and the probably need it and smaller ones don't need much and probably should get replaced anyway. I like feeding early so the bees don't wear themselves out looking for food and robbing each other.

    Surface area is the key to feeding. I found I had a fair number drowning in drums. Now I use totes with covers that have holes on the sides. This keys the rain out nicely but doesn't hinder feeding. The feeders have a wood float with a 2-3 inch layer of straw on top of the float.

    I am not very concerned about spreading diseases if only my bees are feeding. Already took care of the spreading of diseases by splitting and equalizing.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,182

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    Allen, very well said.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,992

    Default Re: questions on open feeding

    I just hate how the foragers with open fed bees turn bald. I know those bees are near the end of their lifetime anyway. These bees really amaze me sometimes. No old age security benefit for these guys!!!!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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