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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Hive-top box feeder warning

    Wasn't sure to post this here or in the diseases and pests forum, but I have box hive-top feeder (molded plastic insert) with screen running down the middle. I was having a lot of drowned bees (10 - 30 per every other day feeding) and realized that on some areas of where the bee access screen met the plastic tray, there were gaps large enough for bees to pass.

    I pulled the feeder and used my trusty hot wax/glue gun and closed those areas off, being careful not to create a dam. There is no way for bees now to get into the feeder now except thru the screen since I have the top window-screened off. today there was only 1 bee in the feeder.

    This is of course an issue that needs to be addressed by those of you using similar equipment with similar problems.

    The other (main) issue was that once I pulled the feeder off and was able to shake the bees off, hive beetles were running amok out of all those small hidey places (a hundred...) around the plastic feeder insert. With the feeder off, I should have addressed that problem by somehow blocking/filling all areas around the bottom of the plastic tray except the access bar with something.

    SHB are like mesquitoes - where there is one, there are ??? many more. This weekend, after the girls have settled down, I'm pulling the feeder and making sure that only the bee access area is open and also installing my beetle traps (AJ's & modified bottom West).

    They are sucking down a gallon a day, so altho I hate that top box feeder, it makes sense right now.

    Point being - if you are experiencing bee drownings with this type feeder via the screen (not necessarily from above), check for gaps and eliminate. At the same time, screen/block all access to the bottom of the feeder except where it was designed for bee access to prevent SHB from hiding.

    SHB has not ravaged my hive yet, but they have the numbers to do so, and I hope to eliminate a very large area where they are hiding.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,087

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    You're right the screens don't fit that well.
    I used silicone to seal around the edges of mine. It did the trick.
    Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    I feel like I solved the drowning issue - is this what you were dealing with?

    My after-thought, re all those hive beetles, was that here I had 80% of an empty box with lots of very small spaces (btween the plastic feeder sides and box frame) where no bees could patrol. Have you done anything for this issue?
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Liberty, Maine
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    I have the same feeders (miller) and had to fix them like you did.

    Drowning was never much of a problem, just a few bees overall.

    My biggest gripe is bees building comb in the blasted things. Maybe I have bees that just love to build comb, I don't know but I've had trouble for a few years now. Not all colonies do it it, but a few do and it's a mess.

    I'm moving it Mason jars over the inner cover sitting in a stand. I make the stands, the jars are cheap as are the little metal covers and will last forever.

    Clean up is done in the dish washer, the miller type I had to take a part if it was in need of a good cleaning.

    With pint jars you need a shallow super to cover them, with quarts you need a deep.

    K

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,087

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Yes drowning was the issue, before sealing around the screen. My wifes hive fills the opening of hers with comb, my bees aren't as bad.
    Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    928

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    IF you ever buy another hive top feeder i think this is by far the best

    https://www.dadant.com/catalog/produ...roducts_id=616

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    OPP, Al USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Congrats on getting your feeder squared away. Floaters (plastic beads available in the craft section of local Wal-Mart or other) work realy well to cut down on Bee losses in feeders also.
    We were decimated last year by SHB. This year after placing West SHB Traps on all our hives they are nearly non-existant!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,087

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    If I was buying another top feeder, I'd buy the wooden one brushy mountain sells. I've read a lot of compliments on it.
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Have to say that I built an inner cover with 2-3in lip on top and 4 or 5 1/2 in holes in the bottom. I put 2 quart zip lok bags of feed in there and put the top on that.
    No drowned bees and easy to change out. Great for helping late season swarms get started.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    What an enlightening post.

    I used to be a solid, inverted quart kind of guy. I fed over a screened inner cover. It worked great for establishing packages and newly caught swarms. Then I switched to those screens in the tops of inverted 2-gallon buckets. Not totally satisfied, but they worked. Then I switched to the hive top feeders as described in this post (bought some used from an old, retiring beekeeper). Yeah, I baptized a bunch of bees.

    Then another beek told me about baggies, which I had formerly disdained out of ignorance. Well, I'm a new convert. They work well. They're kind of hard to pack in buckets as I haul them out to the yard, a little hard to pick up and slide over the top bars, but boy, the girls sure love them!

    What I find with the baggies is to buy the brand-name bags (not the cheap ones) and keep the slits short on the top of the bag where the air bubble sits prior to slitting.

    Funny how the simple things work.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Azle, TX, USA
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Ok, I've never heard about the baggie technique. Could you tell more about it? What size? How big are the slits? Where do you put them so they fit? Is the slit on top?

    I've had top feeders with the above mentioned problems. I fixed it by putting empty supers over the top of the feeder, and the covers above that. It forms a good barrier, tightens up the feeder without having to clean off silicone etc later. It also helps with robbing (which I had in addition to drown bees) - I guess because the feeder is so closed off. Of course you do have to have an extra super. It works well, but if I had it to do over (and next time), I'd go with mason jars. Or baggies when I hear more!
    __________
    Terri

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    a 1 or 2 gallon freezer bag is probably best. The freezer bags are a bit heavier material and usually don't leak when you fill them. So, take a 1 gallon bag and 3 quarts of 1:1 syrup. Seal the bag leaving the air bubble inside. Place the baggie ( on it's side ) on top of the hive and use a good sharp knife blade to puncture the air bubble in a couple of places. 2-4 1.5 inch slits will work fine. You may have to push the plastic down a bit to get some syrup on top of the plastic. The bees will do the rest. It may take a day or two for them to get started, but once the do they continue.

    Fuzzy

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Fixing those hive top box feeders is no more fun than moving them full of feed to get into the hive - BUT - when the bees are feeding like they are now, at least a quart a day, all I have to do is throw my veil over my head, pop the cover and refill.

    Everytime I open the hive to exposed frames, I have to totally suit up and smoke, which is something I'm not willing to do for the 'convenience' of baggie feeding 2 or 3 times a week or more.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  14. #14

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    we don't even cover here in the carolinas. Im running half gallons and gallons (HARD to find).

    (I was referring to mason Jars)
    Last edited by Skinner Apiaries; 09-03-2009 at 10:57 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Annville, Ky.
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Personally I like Kellys Hive top feeder. Works like a charm and holds alot . About a gallon and a half. Just my .02.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    737

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    Quote Originally Posted by JIm in Annville View Post
    Personally I like Kellys Hive top feeder. Works like a charm and holds alot . About a gallon and a half. Just my .02.
    Is this the new one, the plastic box within a wooden box? I had to use a shim under it to make it work.
    karla

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    919

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    I am very disatisfied with the plastic in a box with screen. Tried silicone to keep the bees from getting into the syrup and works ok but a pain to do. Have also had a lot of comb issues underneath. Luckily SHB is not a big problem in our area. I will not order these again. I prefer either the strofoam or wooden with screen on the front end, Baggies work ok once you get the hang of it but you will go through a few leaky episodes plus you have to refill more frequently.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sewell, nj
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: Hive-top box feeder warning

    can someone explain where to silicone ? i just got 2 in and never used them yet..
    ant

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