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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    oneida co. ny
    Posts
    34

    Default All My Bees Are Drowning!

    As a newbee I have read and took alot of advice on everything I can to do with beekeeping. So long story short...I have been feeding a swarm I caught a few weeks ago to help them along before winter. And some advise I took was to feed with a hive top feeder. So I bought one from Brushy Mountain, it is their own wooden one that they make themselves. Its has floats to keep the bees from drowning, right? WRONG! I notice the first time i checked on them after feeding and seen alot of drowned bees and thought maybe this is normal. Well tonight i had what seemed to be 1000's of dead bees so many that i dumped the feeder and pulled it off. no more of that! Just before i dumped it I watched for a moment and noticed that every bee that went down to feed was slipping on the walls of the feeder and could not climb back out, what good does this type of feeder serve? what should I do know? To make matters worse, i have two more of these being delievered form brushy mountain any day know for my other hives.
    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Genesee County, Michigan
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    Wow, sorry to hear that. Such a waste of bees. I personally don't use top feeders like the ones from Brushy Mt. because of the fear of drowning. Also, the floats failing is actually a common problem with these. The ones you ordered, I'd send them back. But that's just me because I disapprove these.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I dont like hive top feeders and only use them for open feeding. I like the mann lake ones the best. Minimal drowning.

    What you could do the help matters is lay straw on top of the floats so the bees have a lot more foot holds to access the syrup.

    Stinks when things happen like this. When in the hive I use those 2 1/2 qt plastic painters buckets with snap lids and punch a few dozen holes. Works great for only about $2. Search for collins bee feeder to see the idea.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I like bucket feeding inside the hive. No chance of drowning.

    The top feeders that are open that are supposed to prevent the bees from drowning, even if they work the first year, they seem to break down over time due to damage and wear. Then they allow the bees to get into the sugar water and drown.

    I have several Collins Bee Feeders: Here is a link: . You can make your own if you want. The paint section at Home Depo has the pails and lids.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  5. #5

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    Out of the many feeders I've experimented with this year none of them beat an old fashion jar with some holes punched in the lid. I plan on turning the 2 hive top feeders I got from brushy into candy board feeders.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Harrisonville, MO
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    Sorry to hear about your bees drowning . I've had good luck with the Mannlake 10 frame Top feeder #FD111 very few if any drowned Bees
    Last edited by beegineer; 09-14-2011 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Spelling

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Vernon, NJ
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    Try zip loc bags. Fill a 1 gallon ziploc bag with syrup and lay it on its side directly on top of the frames. Take a box cutter and cut a few slits in the side of the bag. Some syrup will run down but the rest stays in the bag. Place a spacer or empty shallow on top of the hive and close it up. The bees will crawl over the bag and get the syrup. Once they've taken it all remove the bag and throw it away and place a new one in the hive. I have switched to this method with zero bee mortality.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
    Posts
    542

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I use division board feeders w/a wood lathe floater. I get some drowned bees, not many. It is amazing to me how easily they get themselves in trouble. I am planning on making tops to hold mason jars, so I can feed without opening the hive. I sealed a gutter @ both ends put harware cloth that I bent in an inverted V, put it in front of my hives & the bees can climb all the way to the bottom on good footing.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I have tried differient types of feeder. What is my favorite is from www.kelleybees.com Item # 172-1. I use the 4 hole with a vented super from Kelleys with a homemade super riser. Never had a bee drown. Never had a bee disturbed when feeding them. Good luck!
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Medford, New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    We use the Mann Lake hive top feeder (the plastic one with the screening). I thought the plastic was too slick because the bees couldn't even get up through the feeder, so I scratched the surface with some sandpaper to give them something to grab on to. Seems to have worked. We still have a few bees drown but it's not too bad (really only the 1 hive, the others seem to be able to navigate fine). Hope this helps.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New London County CT
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I still use the old standby of a pickle jar with holes punched in the top. They are free and the is no mortality.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Telford, TN, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    We use the brushy top feeders but have added screen from where they crawl up through the center (just stapled to the flat top) down the side and under the floats. We have not had any problem with the bees drowning since we added the small bit of screen. I like the two different sides on these feeders so we can give them pollen if needed in one side and we only ever fill one side with sugar syrup at a time as needed.

    That being said we mostly use the old fashioned jar feeders because of the cost of the top feeders. I have about 20 good top feeders and all the other hives get a jar. Only issue with jar feeding from the top is the extra woddenware to cover the jars. We have a robbing issue if we use the front feeders with the jar and there is no nectar flow (which is the only time I have to feed other than queen rearing anyway). Good luck and if try the screen in the top feeder if you want to still use it since you already purchased it.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Staunton VA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    brushy changed the floats to fix this problem. If you have the old wooden slat floats call and get the plastic ones. Most important make sure you take floats out before you fill it up with sugar, dont pour over top. make sure you dont have a top entrance in your inner cover, can result in robbing and/or bees getting traped and cant find there way out and die

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Warren County, Kentucky
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I use division board feeders, an it amazes me how sometimes bees drown in large numbers, while other times none drown. I wonder if the syrup ferments and causes the heavy drowning.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I'm going to address your problem and not suggest alternatives. I have these exact feeders. I do not have problems with them. You seem to have a defective product-- maybe they accidentally overcoated it with wax? Try the sand paper, as suggested before. Or is your hive level, or almost completely level (mine it just a bit off so that if water gets it, it would drain through the front)? Also, fermented pollen patties or syrup kill the bees before they can walk away. That's a possibility, as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneVBS View Post
    brushy changed the floats to fix this problem. If you have the old wooden slat floats call and get the plastic ones. Most important make sure you take floats out before you fill it up with sugar, dont pour over top. make sure you dont have a top entrance in your inner cover, can result in robbing and/or bees getting traped and cant find there way out and die
    I have the wooden floats, and I do not take the float out and then pour in the sugar. It would be awfully hard to get those bees out before you start pouring without a float. I just take the feeding slow at first, waiting for anyone who was under the floats to have enough time to swim on the wooden floats. Then I just keep going.
    Over a period of feeding every other day for about a month, I had maybe 20 dead bees when I finally cleaned out the feeder.
    Of course, the night before last, I accidentally poured the syrup into the side without a float-- I can't wait to see what happened there. It was dark and I forgot I had changed the float position around. :<
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wilmington nc
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    fill your feeder with cut up pinestraw the bees will walk on it and not drown

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Keno, OR
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I have the top hive feeder from Dadant. It also has the floats and the sides are left on the rough side. I have been using them for months this spring and had no drowning whatsoever. I took one off after two month of continuous use. I found 5 dead bees in it. The second one had 1 dead bee. Not a very high drowning record at all. I would say get some sand paper and roughen up the sides. This also means that liquids will saturate the wood, but that is expected.
    Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association: www.klamathbeekeepers.org
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/kbbafb/

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    parker, co
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I have the same Brushy Mountain feeder and I ended up buying that plastic craft mesh that you can get from craft stores. I just cut it to size and it sits on top of the floats. It seems to work pretty well.
    I called Brushy Mountain to ask about the new floats mentioned previously and they said they can ship those separately, but they are $2 each (so $4 per feeder) plus shipping. If you already have a couple more on order I would ask if they could throw the extra floats in so you don't have to pay another shipping fee.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    378

    Default Re: All My Bees Are Drowning!

    I have the same Brushy Mountain feeder as well. I couple of things that I found...

    1. The hive (and feeder must be absolutely level).
    2. The thinner syrup (1:1.5 - 1:2) seems to work much better than the thicker.
    3. The original wood floats sink.

    As much as I like these feeders, I think I'm going to modify them as suggested by MB.

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