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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Question Ventilation when using top feeder

    I pulled my excellent frame feeder (no dead bees!) so that I could get the last frame in for the bees to use, and because I was sick of opening the hive every other day to fill it. I put the miller feeder on.

    My question for you is: what, if anything, do I need to do about hive ventilation when using a top feeder? Due to the heat, I had a shimmed inner cover. I'm reluctant to shim the feeder either under the telescoping cover or under the feeder directly for fear of setting off robbing. But I also don't want my hive to overheat. I have an SBB, but with no upper vent, circulation will lag. Any suggestions?

    On a side note, so far the bees are less than impressed. Whereas they would swarm into the frame feeder, tongues out, only two bees have used this one. Maybe we're actually getting a fall flow on.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    688

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    Build a vent box and install it above the feeder.

    A vent box is simply a "mini super" built from 2X4 and drill two one inch holes in each side, slope the holes downward for rain. 4 inch side is vetical. Cover the holes with 1/8 screen.

    Can use 3/4 inch material but I like the 2x4 as with glue and screws, I make a simple butt joint. Very easy and strong corner to build.

    With a wind and air flowing through the vent box, should get a venturi effect and actually "suck" air upwards through the hive.

    Check D E Hives where they promote good ventilation to increase honey production.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    I use a inner cover on top of the feeder, and I screen off the opening with 1/8 hardware cloth to keep robbers out. The only problem I have is that this makes a roach motel, on top of the inner cover.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    Thanks. Do you find that robbers are attracted to the smell of the feed wafting from the inner cover or vent box? My assumption is that if they find that, they'll eventually find the hive entrance.

    On another note, there are now hordes of bees using the feeder. Two liters in one day! My concern now is I don't want to feed them so much that they swarm!
    Last edited by Splatt; 08-28-2012 at 06:25 PM.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    I personally have never had a robbing problem while feeding a full size hive with a hive top feeder. I was just told not to use a inner cover with a vent and a hive top feeder, otherwise you might start robbing. When I feed without the inner cover I had a moisture problem. So I decided to protect the opening and use the cover.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    688

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    Find a few wasp squeeze through 1/8 mesh in the vent holes.

    Robbing won't happen of you have sufficient bees and an appropriate sized entrance relative to the population.

    Can vent the hive using screened bottom boards and vent boxes above and inner cover with good sized screened openings( use a 3.5 in the center and two 1 & 3/8 round holee) above a feeder. Use 8 x 1 inch holes in the vent box. With the feeder in place, the center opening is likley the restricting area. Do an area calculation. Could try making it wider but bees may then build bridge comb.

    Had robbing in two NUCs this year and it stopped when I reduced the entrance to 3/8high, 7/16 wide and one inch long. Two or three guard bees can defend the little tunnel.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,674

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    I once glued strips of polyester "batting" material around the edges of an outer cover for a nuc. I'm thinking of buying a roll of the batting and gluing full pieces under more of my covers. It will prevent unwanted bees from entering and also allow some ventilation.

    Increased ventilation, I assume, would also increase the amount of syrup odor in the air; making the batting material all the more important ...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Denton, NC USA
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Ventilation when using top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    I pulled my excellent frame feeder (no dead bees!) so that I could get the last frame in for the bees to use, and because I was sick of opening the hive every other day to fill it. I put the miller feeder on.

    My question for you is: what, if anything, do I need to do about hive ventilation when using a top feeder? Due to the heat, I had a shimmed inner cover. I'm reluctant to shim the feeder either under the telescoping cover or under the feeder directly for fear of setting off robbing. But I also don't want my hive to overheat. I have an SBB, but with no upper vent, circulation will lag. Any suggestions?

    On a side note, so far the bees are less than impressed. Whereas they would swarm into the frame feeder, tongues out, only two bees have used this one. Maybe we're actually getting a fall flow on.
    I use a screened inner cover -- basically built on the design of a spacer with wire mesh stapled to the frame(spacer) and then I add an additional spacer to the four corners and middle making sure I have it thick enough where the bees can go under the wire to work the feeder. During the summer, I use this type of screened inner cover on all my hives to provide better ventilation. Good luck.

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