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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    St. Augusta, MN
    Posts
    51

    Reminder comb in hive top feeder

    Hi all, newbie here. I'm three weeks out on a package install and everything is going well except my bees are building comb between the hive top feeder and the brood box. I officially hate my hive top feeder ( the kind with the screened area between the two feeding areas) and went to change it to a pail feeder the other day. Discovered once I got out there that her Majesty was laying brood in the comb. I don't know if I should clean it all out......I'm afraid the queen might actually be hanging out with her gang up there and I don't want to hurt her. Anybody have any experience with this? After reading many posts on this subject I know this much:
    If I tear it out, the bees will rebuild.
    Hardware cloth on the oval cut out and a pail feeder is a better option for most.

    What I don't know is how to remedy this without endangering the queen.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,172

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    If it were me, I would get my smoker going real good and then put the top half full of green grass to make sure it is blowing cool smoke. Blow it on your bare skin to make sure it is cool smoke. Then, smoke all the bees out of the burr comb in the feeder. When you get all the bees out, clean out the drone comb. I don't know why they built in your feeder. I personally really like a gallon zip lock bag filled with three qts of 1:1 syrup. Slowly lay it on it's side on top of the frame top bars right over the cluster. If you do it slowly, they will get out of the way. carefully poke two 1" slits in the top side of the bag only! The bees crawl up on top of the bag and drain the bag in under a week. Use an empty shallow super or make a 2" deep rim to cover it. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    Something like this: http://bushfarms.com/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG

    I flipped it upside down, put it on the bottom and smoked them to move them up into the box... Then eventually I harvested it when it was full of honey.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    I usually smoke them away from the comb and then scrape it off. If there's a ton of brood and you don't want to lose it you can wait. If you want to continue using the hive top feeder, check it more frequently and scrape it each time you check. It only takes a short time when you open it up. It's one of the reasons I switched to pail feeders. All feeders have good and bad points though.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arcata, California, USA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    Why do you need to remove the comb? My experience is they just rebuild it. If you are sure the queen isn't in the feeder comb, you could put a queen excluder below the feeder to make sure she doesn't lay in there, and then just leave it. They won't close up access to the syrup. Then when you want to take the feed off, you can put a bee escape below the feeder until the bees leave.

    This is a drawback to these feeders, but I sure like how convenient they are to check and add feed without disrupting the bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    St. Augusta, MN
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    These are all great suggestions--thanks everyone! I think I'll go out there today and try the queen excluder idea after checking for her presence in the hive. I'll report back my findings!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    "I officially hate my hive top feeder ( the kind with the screened area between the two feeding areas),.."

    I [Oldbee] "officially love" my hive-top feeders,...

    "After reading many posts on this subject I know this much:"

    You "obviuously" have not read any of "my comments/posts" on this subject or any other information about hive-top feeders!!

    Hive top feeders serve a VERY useful purpose when feeding bees 2:1 syrup in the fall when they need to be fed a large amount of syrup in a short period of time before cold weather arrives.

    In the spring and summer when new hives/packages need to be fed to build comb, hive-top feeders also serve a useful pupose. They can be left on [6-8 weeks] until the second brood box of comb is drawn out.

    Place those feeders on top/over an inner cover and you won't have any problems with the bees building comb where you don't want them to in spring or summer.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-24-2011 at 11:12 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    berkley county, WV
    Posts
    429

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    I use the plastic ones, Like I think they are talking about. I bores 2 holes about 2 inches in diameter in the ends of the box and covered them with hardware cloth. this allows for more ventilation when using the feeder, and allows some light in. it also seems to allow better access than the solid inner cover. Been using them for about 3 years now without comb buildup.
    Last edited by bigbore; 05-24-2011 at 02:54 PM. Reason: spelin
    welcome to your new addiction!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    I'm in Oldbee's camp! I love my top feeder, made it myself! I was using my inner cover as the bottom of the feeder, but didn't like how it was separating every time I removed the feeder for a brood chamber inspection. That's when I decided to engineer my own.... It's been on since I installed both packages and got only very little comb built in the void space between the two feed platforms/bottom of box; when only the one hive started to build vertically up into the feeder, I modified the design to include a 'trap door' with proper bee spacing on each side....bees seem to love the access and I've not seen any comb build up under it. Here's some images of the interior before the trapdoor modification.





    The feeder was extremely easy to construct; all from a single 8 ft piece of 1x8 and some ripped 3/8" cleats for the trapdoor. The same material spacing the jar feeder in the image.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default Re: comb in hive top feeder

    And you will love it until one day a package moves up into that box and builds comb every which way...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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