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Thread: My Feeders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default My Feeders

    I meant to put this up last year, but I decided to wait and see if it worked out well, and then I kind of forgot. Anyways, right after hiving my first two packages, I was headed out of town for a weekend of camping, and since I couldn't convince anyone to come over and feed my bees for me, I had to come up with a solution that would keep them fed from Thursday morning to Monday afternoon/evening. I had tried the baggie feeder, but that only lasted about two days. My solution? Chicken waterers!

    102_1124.jpg


    They hold a gallon of syrup, they have shallow trays which I fill with small/medium sized rocks to give the girls something to land on/hold on to/crawl out of the syrup if they fall in, and the best part is that sitting them on the top bars with an empty deep above they fit perfectly inside the hive. I had zero bees drown in them, and they last much longer than the baggie feeder, they don't leak, they're plastic (so, durable). I have not yet figured out any downside to using them, and they cost around 5 dollars if you can catch them on sale. Maybe it's not an original idea at all, maybe lots of people do it, but I'm putting it out there anyways.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: My Feeders

    BB,

    You said you have had zero bees drown, how did you manage that? I use those quite often but have to make a screen to block hole in feeder to keep bees from crawling inside & drowning. It looks like yours might be a little different, mine don't have wire handles.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: My Feeders

    I don't see any way they could crawl into the hole on mine, so maybe that's the difference. By the time the syrup level gets low enough that they could crawl in, there's really no syrup left in the top at all, just in the tray. The rocks in the tray prevent them from drowning down there, because I leave such small gaps between the rocks that they would really have to work to get down in there. I used these for about 2 months until there was a good flow on and they stopped taking it, and each time I'd pull them out to fill them I'd look for dead bees, and never found one.

    Edit: http://www.tractorsupply.com/harris-...pacity-2167654 is a link to the feeders I bought at Tractor Supply. You can't see the hole in this picture either, but if you're near a TSC, you could look at them and see if there is a difference in the flow system.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    IG, Slovenia
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Some people use bird feeders. Never heard of chicken feeders hehe! What materials are they made of?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo,MI
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: My Feeders

    I've used a few different brands of chicken waterers on my hives lately. Some models you have to block the hole with screen. When the jar becomes empty, the bees climb in and die. I have been using a coil of 3/4 nylon rope in the tray instead of rocks or marbles. Makes it easier to refill.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: My Feeders

    The rope is a fantastic idea, tefer. I finally got tired of loading the rocks back in after every time I filled it so I glued them in place. I didn't have the bees dying inside the feeder as it got empty, maybe this has a larger opening or something that they can get back out of easier. They were definitely in there, and in fact I had to pull burr comb out from inside the feeder a few times.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: My Feeders

    I've used the same feeder for water but w/ sand in it to prevent drowning. The only thing I didn't like was having to dump the sand every time I added water. Guess w/ the rocks it's not as much of an issue.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My Feeders

    I am with you bobbarker. I used gallon versions of these that I got from Cutler Supply. They are good. I used hop twine rope to keep the bees from drowning. Sometimes I got lazy and had no rope and some bees got inside mine when they were empty but they were still alive for the most part when I noticed. If the syrup dries in the threads they can be a bit tough to open. Overall I had the best results feeding with these. The bees take the syrup out of these feeders the fastest of anything I have used and they are easy enough to fill and carry. They were recommended to us from an old school beekeeper.

    I prop the feeder on two little sticks so I don't crush bees. I marked where the holes are with a sharpie so I could put it facing uphill since I angle my hives a little bit. If you face the hole opening downward and the hive is on an incline it can run out. I have used them for open feeding too in way early spring. Here is a link

    They have good customer service Top Notch!!! I like their website too

    http://www.cutlersupply.com/cart/ind...roducts_id=840

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Yours feeder is a little different I just noticed in the tractor supply link. So are the holes too small for bees to get inside the main part

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Another method is to use gallon paint cans and puncture the lid. Mason jars are often used this way, but paint cans are larger and more durable. Home depot has unsused cans for about $5. Sherwin-Williams has them for about $4.50 each.

    I plan to give them a try this spring.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Virginia- The hole is plenty big enough for the bees to get in, but it's below the level of the fluid (in this case syrup) in the tray until most of the syrup is gone, and then I assume they have no problems walking around in it without drowning.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo,MI
    Posts
    325

    Default Re: My Feeders

    The ones at Tractor Supply is what I used. You have to wrap a 3/4 wide piece of hardware cloth around the opening. When empty, they will find a way in if you don't.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    456

    Default Re: My Feeders

    bobbarker, I will order a couple of the ones from your link and try them. I like the metal handles on them. Tefer 2, That is a good idea Perhaps I will modify my feeders with hardware cloth. I should have thought of that.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: My Feeders

    I tried chicken feeders years ago, but, I like the hog troughs better. Can be made from scrap wood., Virtually no drowning.

    For open feeding I make them 24 inches. To put them inside a deep super, on top of the hive, make them 12 -15 inches long. Here is a photo of them before filling, and after filling. This one is open feeding, but works just as well inside a deep super.

    Bee Feeder, Hog Trough.jpg

    Bee Feeder Jan 2013.jpg

    cchoganjr

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Cleo:

    How far from your hives to you open feed?

    Lazy

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Winter time about 20 feet from center of 14 hives. Summer time about 50 yards from center of hives. I will try to get a photo tomorrow and post. I have two feeders about 20 feet from center of these hives. I feed any time the temp is 50 degrees or above. Normally 1 1/2 gallons per feeder.

    Won't be any feeding for a few days. Last week it was in the 70's, this week it is in the 20's.

    cchoganjr

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Cleo
    What keeps them from drowning? sloped edges? Do you get some sticky bees that can't leave right away?

    It looks easy enough to make out of scrap wood.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Vermontville, Michigan
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: My Feeders

    Yeah, I rather like that design for open feeding. With as much expanding as I'm planning the next several years, feeding each hive individually is going to get to be a real chore. I'm going to keep that one on the back burner (but I've got the same questions as FlowerPlanter.)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: My Feeders

    FlowerPlanter.... I can't say for sure what keeps them from drowning, but, they don't. I believe it is the fact that the landing area is large, and the bees land there and walk down to the syrup's edge, fill, crawl back up to the top, then fly back to the hive. They don't have to lift and fly vertically, up out of the feeder, resulting in some falling back into the syrup, because they are too heavy to take off. To witness that, place some sugar syrup in a five gallon bucket and watch what happens, Large numbers try to rise and fly, only to find they cannot, then fall back into the syrup. Even if you place rocks or floats in the bucket, the bees cannot take off vertically and sustain their flight.

    When the feeder is first filled, there will be some bees who get in the syrup. As the level decreases, fewer bees become ensnared in the syrup. There are two important considerations when using this system.

    1. Fill the trough from over the edge at one end. Do not let syrup get on the sloped edges except as it rises as you pour the syrup in. If you pour over the slope area, that area will become sticky and bees will be ensnared in the syrup.

    2.. Only put in the feeder the amount of syrup that the bees can be expected to carry off by 3 PM. That will leave about 2 hours for the bees to lick off any bees that have become ensnared in the syrup. The sloped edges allow the bees who do get into the syrup to crawl out, and later be licked dry by other bees.

    Last Friday and Saturday we had 72 degree and 63 degree days. I placed 1 1/2 gallons each, in two feeders, about 20 feet from the 14 hives at the Stovall Lane facility. On Sunday it began to turn cold, only reaching about 45 degrees, so I did not feed. On Monday our high was 36 degrees and I turned the feeders over so they would not collect rain or snow and possibly crack from freezing and thawing. I counted the dead bees in the two feeders. One had 12 dead bees, the other had 8. Not bad for 14 hives 20 feet away. Looking at the photo above you can see how many bees were visiting the troughs.

    In Summer these feeders should be located futher from the hives to prevent robbing. I like 50 to 75 yards from the hives. In summer you do get a few wasps, bumblebees, and yellow jackets, however, I have found that the large number of bees at my facility, will keep these intruders at a very minimum.

    If you have specific questions, I will be happy to answer. It is just one method for open feeding. It is faster than opening the tops of hives and installing feeders on individual hives, when, at the most you are only expecting to be able to feed one or two days. If I am going to have several days available for feeding, I will feed each hive individually, plus the open feeders. The open, hog trough type, feeders are quick, safe, and give the bees a shot at feeding which may not be practical for just a day or two of feeding individual hives.

    cchoganjr

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: My Feeders

    bobbarker...Hope my response above answers your questions, if not, let me know and I will expand my answers.

    cchoganjr

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