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Thread: Feeder buckets

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Shreveport Louisiana
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    Default Feeder buckets

    To you guys that use bucket feeders. What size buckets do you use and where is the best place to get them. Thanks tracy

  2. #2
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Think baggie feeding...............

  3. #3
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    May 2011
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    Kingsville, OH
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I use baggie feeders too, but I would also like to know what others use for buckets.
    I hate to open a hive in the middle of a howling snow storm.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I'm using 2 gallon buckets that I get from Betterbee. (About the only thing I will order from them anymore.) Baggies worked ok for a few hives at home but is too much work too often for any number of hives. Since you're posting in the commercial section, I'm guessing that you will also have more hives than can efficiently be fed with baggies.

    So far, I've been able to keep enough extra buckets on hand that I can fill them at home, put them in the truck and swap them out in the yards.

    They have to be off the hives by the time howling snow storms hit, though. Freezing and all that.

    Wayne

    -- Shouldn't we be checking to see if any village is missing its idiot? --

  5. #5
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    If you are ever this way from Louisianna, I have several hundred two gallon feeder bucket you can have. TED

  6. #6
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    Apr 2010
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    All my hives are 8 frame mediums, which makes buckets a challenge. I couldn't take feeding with little jars that I had to check all the time. Last spring I went on a mission to find the biggest bucket I could find that I could surround with a hive body as the bucket sat inverted on top of my inner cover. Here's what I came up with:

    http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=30659

    These are fairly cheap, food grade, and water tight. Put some small holes in the top with a small frame nail or tiny drill bit and you're ready to go. The best part...they hold over a gallon. You can mix an entire 5lb bag of sugar + 10C of water that make a 1:1 syrup mix right in the bucket. They also fit inside an 8 frame medium. You're not feeding a quart at a time, you're feeding a full gallon at a time.

    A few words about the company. Order online *only*. The online shipping calculator is very good (meaning cheap). Don't call them and order anything. They won't give you a shipping quote, and then they'll put a heavy catalog in the box and make you pay outrageous UPS rates so you can ship their catalog for them.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I go to Home Depot and buy the 2.5 quart clear plastic "Versa-Tainer" paint buckets and polk holes in the lid with a small nail.
    I cut a larger hole the size of the bucket lid in my inner cover, staple #8 hardware cloth to cover the hole, place bucket over the hole, then medium super then top cover. That way the bees will feed through the hardware cloth to the bucket lid and you can re-fill without disturbing the bees sticking to the lid or flying up in your face. It's a little more work modifying the inner cover but it's the easiest in the long run for me. The bucket is clear so you can see the level of syrup without having to look inside.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Also, one complaint I hear about the larger buckets, particularly from those using only medium boxes, is that they need all those extra deep boxes to cover the feeders. I use medium boxes with easy to make three inch shims to achieve the height. At the time feeders are on, there are lots of extra, unused medium supers available. I pull the frames and store them in cartons during feeding time if I don't have enough extra empties boxes made.

    Wayne

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Those bucket feeders don't need to be in a box.
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

  10. #10
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeslave View Post
    Those bucket feeders don't need to be in a box.
    Shannon - can you share with us your experiences using bucket feeders without a surrounding box? Would like to know what you are using for covers and how the hole (I'm guessing there is one) gets closed up and a feeder is not in use.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Commercially.... plywood cheese board lids. A pipe cap plug to fill hole when not in use.

    Inner covers without shim rim facing up. A little water getting in the hive will not hurt the bees unless it's cold out. This time of year the bees will propolize the bucket down preventing most of the water from entering anyways. Telescopic cover on top when not in use.
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Go to a plumbing supply and ask for 2" PVC test caps. Bore a 2" hole in the lid. Invert bucket feeder on the lid. When you pull it off fill the hole with the test cap. BetterBee and others used to sell these "plugs" but do not any longer. BTW, you can use other sizes if you don't like a 2" hole; the test caps come in various sizes.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeslave View Post
    Those bucket feeders don't need to be in a box.
    How are they without a box with yellow jackets or robber bees?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  14. #14
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Due to the raised rim on the bucket lid nothing can get to the syrup except from inside the hive. The bucket sits flat on the hive lid. Never had a problem with robbers or wasps unless the bucket leaks and runs out onto the lid of the hive.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I'll have to try that. Do bees propolize the 2" plug? I suppose you could just pop it out from the other side if they do.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  16. #16
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    Staunton VA
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    Go to a plumbing supply and ask for 2" PVC test caps. Bore a 2" hole in the lid. Invert bucket feeder on the lid. When you pull it off fill the hole with the test cap. BetterBee and others used to sell these "plugs" but do not any longer. BTW, you can use other sizes if you don't like a 2" hole; the test caps come in various sizes.
    Not a bad idea, what about drilling another hole in bottom and putting a second 1 inch plug to refill without removing from hive? No bees!!!!

  17. #17
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    Shane; the buckets have a hole in the top for the feeder screen plug. You just pull out the plug, fill the bucket, replace the plug and return it to the hive. Bees are not a problem! If you drill another hole you'll be likely to have some leaks and lose the vacuum holding the syrup in. For those contemplating using these, fill the bucket all the way to overflowing, no air left, before inverting the bucket. When you invert it syrup will drip for a couple seconds and then stop.

  18. #18
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    Oct 2008
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    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
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    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I use 5 gallon buckets. Not all 5 gallon buckets will work the way I do it. You have to look at the reinforcement ring on the upper sides of the bucket. If it has the thick reinforcement ring with the little stiffener segments in the ring, this will work. I drill a 1/16 inch hole about every 1/8 to 1/4 inch in the side of the bucket just below the top level of the reinforcement ring as you are looking at the bucket upside down. Once you have drill holes all the way around the bucket EXCLUDING the areas where the bucket handles go into the bucket. You are done. If you removed the top, re-install the top and make sure the plastic cap is on the spout. After you fill the bucket upto the level where you drilled the holes. You will observe the sugar syrup running out. Take the bucket to the location it will be used the very quickly turn it upside down on a level surface. The sugar syrup will run out just a bit until a vaccum is reached inside the bucket and the little compartment along the outter reinforcment ring will fill up with sugar syrup. The bees love this set up as they can land and perch on the out edge of the reinforcement ring to get at the syrup and as they drink it down, they can go down into the little compartments and draw the syrup directly out of the holes you drilled in the bucket. Each bucket holds about 4 gallons of usabel syrup.

    My girls love them and can drain 2 of these buckets in about 4 hours.

  19. #19
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    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,185

    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    I have a 2 inch hole saw. I went to Menards for the 2" PVC Test Caps, they only had one and it was 57c. Then I went to Home Depot, they only had three - but they were only 25c each. Thanks for the tip Fishy, I'm going to use them on my nucs.

  20. #20
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo,MI
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    325

    Default Re: Feeder buckets

    libhart, tryed to get some of those buckets, out of stock now!

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