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  1. #1

    Default Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    I have one of these feeders on my hives:

    https://www.mannlakeltd.com/mm5/merc...-110&ajax=true

    I have done inspections since installing a package on two week intervals. Each time I have found brood comb built above the center frame below up and into the center divider of the feeder. So maybe a poor design of the feeder that has too wide a gap between the two chambers ... but regardless, what should be done? I have scraped it out each time, but it has eggs and larvae in it. Should I just leave it? Fill the space with something to prevent them from building up in there?

    Anyone else use these feeders and having this problem?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    When I was researching what top feeder to buy, I heard a few comments about your problem. The solution given was to simply put the inner cover beneath the feeder so that they would be required to enter the feeder right where the access to the syrup is, and be discouraged from spending too much time wandering around the rest of the underside of the feeder looking for something to do.

    So put the hives on top of the inner covers. On one inspection, they had built a very adorable little ladder up from a frame and through the inner cover hole. It was about 5 inches tall and four inches wide and ll of the cells were empty. I carefully replaced the inner cover to preserve their handiwork. During the next inspection a week later, I found that this ladder had not grown at all nor had they begun to fill these cells with anything, so I think they had built a ladder they were happy with. but I removed it since it was time to add a medium super above the brood box.

    If I were in your situation, and this was a new hive, I might be inclined to leave it if it is not causing a mess between the feeder and the brood box, figuring that they spent a lot of energy building comb to produce those brood. But perhaps it is time to add another super if they are looking for new places to raise brood?


    All in all, I've been very happy with the feeders, especially because when I cleaned them after taking them off the hive, I found a total of two drowned bees. In three weeks, my two nuc;s took a total of sixty pounds of sugar syrup with only two bee casualties. They slowed down and then stopped taking the syrup a week ago, so now the feeders are put away until the next time they are needed. It's time to let bees be bees and see what the summer has in store.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    The bees keep building a ladder so they can get to the syrup. You keep destroying it. They keep rebuilding it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    Thank you both for your replies! I wasn't thinking of it as a ladder to get to the syrup but rather of "burr comb" that needs to be cleaned up. That makes sense and I'll definitely "let the bees be". So much to learn. Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,650

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    I would call it a sign of over feeding.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    odfrank, can you explain? Why would this activity signify over feeding as opposed to just run of the mill burr comb or a ladder as suggested by others?

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

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    I like these feeders for fall feeding because a lot of syrup can be fed in a relatively short time. They don't seem to build as much comb under them at that time--but they have. I even glued some "wood ladders" to the middle part of the feeder for them, but glueing wood on plastic didn't work so good. It is a pain in butt [PIB] to do for more than just a few feeders.

    > One thing I did was put this styrofoam rope type insulation around the outer edge of the feeder next to the inner edge of the box. This prevents the bees from wondering around up there trying to find their way to the syrup. Another PIB is getting all the bees out from under the feeder when taking it off. I can't leave them by the hives overnight.

    > I think these feeders could be constructed to work better even though it might make them more expensive. Putting them on top of inner cover works fine when the weather is warm enough to keep the syrup warm. I use bucket type feeders in the spring/summer and try to avoid having to feed for too long a time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,650

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by cryptobrian View Post
    odfrank, can you explain? Why would this activity signify over feeding as opposed to just run of the mill burr comb or a ladder as suggested by others?
    IMHO - Bees generally only build excessive comb in every nook and cranny during a honey flow, you generally don't have to feed bees during a honey flow.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    3,999

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    I've found they usually raise drones in the Mann Lake top feeder. Its not really a problem they need a place to build drone comb.
    You could try an experiment & put a queen excluder under the feeder, to see if they do it less. Make sure the queen isn't up there first.
    Dan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mustang, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Comb w/ Brood in MannLake Feeder

    I had the same problem on a swarm I caught. They built comb there before they started on my foundation. I slapped an inner cover on and they stopped right away. I am thinking about making some kind of cover to attach to the box with some PVC tunnels that allow access for the bees up to the feeder.

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