It seens like lots of people are struggling with feeding in top bar hives. I thought I would post some ideas I have about making a top feeder for top bar hives. I have attached a drawing of my idea. I would really be interested in peoples thoughts of this idea. I have never built one of these, and I don't have any bees to test it on, so any inputs would be interesting.
Here is the drawing of the feeder.
This drawing shows the feeder with the top partly open. The top is hinged so that it can easily be opened for inspection, insertion or removal of patties or fondant or whatever is being fed.
The top would be made of 1/4 inch plywood. The frame could be made of 1 x stock of any size,
ripped down to the appropriate height. In the drawing it is depicted as ½ inch in height. This might be a little cramped. The frame could be glued and nailed together. The length of the box from left to right in the drawing would be unimportant. In the drawing it is 5 inches, but could be much longer. The width of the frame would be the same as the width of the hive. The “teeth” sticking down go between a pair of top bars on the hive to provide an entrance to the feeder box. The “teeth” are glued into a dado in the frame. The dado shown is 3/8 inch deep. Since my top bars are ¾ inch high, the tooth sticks down ¾ inch from the frame to make a tight seal on the hive, so the total height of the tooth is 1 1/8 inch. The width of the tooth isn’t critical as long as it seals the side of the hive, but would probably be 3/4 inch also.
The feeder could be placed between any top bar desired and could be adjusted to keep it above the cluster in winter for maximum feeding efficiency.
This idea could also be built right into a plywood hive lid by cutting the desired size hole in the top and putting another top over that. The "teeth" could be replaced with spacers so that the entrance into the feeder remained flexible. The spacers could be taped to the adjacent top bars to keep them from falling into the hive. Of course you would want to design this so rain and wind wouldn't leak into the hive through the feeder.