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  1. #1
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Thinking of topping off my hive top feeder with a pane of glass and a little weatherstripping to seal it. I want the syrup to get warm enough for the bees to take it. Temps currently in the 40s. Anybody see any issues with that?

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by justusflynns View Post
    Thinking of topping off my hive top feeder with a pane of glass and a little weatherstripping to seal it. I want the syrup to get warm enough for the bees to take it. Temps currently in the 40s. Anybody see any issues with that?
    Its not about the syrup temp, its about the cluster temp.

  3. #3
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    VENTURA, California, USA
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    There are some people that feed their bees by placing the syrup in a shallow container and pushing it into the hive entrance.
    Or, just fill an empty comb with syrup and place it where the bees can have access to it. You can warm the syrup is you want to.
    You could consider the Mountain camp method of feeding.
    Good luck.
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Its not about the syrup temp, its about the cluster temp.
    If I'm getting temperature breaks that allow the bees to fly, but they aren't taking the syrup, is it not the temp of the syrup that is the likely issue? In other words, it isn't warm enough for long enough to get the syrup up to the temp that the bees will take it?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    There are some people that feed their bees by placing the syrup in a shallow container and pushing it into the hive entrance.
    Or, just fill an empty comb with syrup and place it where the bees can have access to it. You can warm the syrup is you want to.
    You could consider the Mountain camp method of feeding.
    Good luck.

    I want to simulate a nectar flow and get the bees building comb and raising brood. Will MC method do that?

    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    If the bees are flying but not taking the syrup it could be because the cluster is located down too low in the hive to get to the syrup easily, but chances are the syrup is not warm enough also. So even if you were to warm the syrup quite a bit above 50 degrees they still may not take it because of the cluster location. Possibly the bees don't need supplemental feeding as they may have enough food where they are at and are not very interested in the syrup. John

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    They won't be building comb this time of year no matter how much syrup you give them, what will help more is pollen substitute patties layed on top of the cluster for stimulating brood rearing. Make sure they have honey, fondant, or plain sugar (MC) next to the cluster not only for brood rearing but survival. John

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    They won't be building comb this time of year no matter how much syrup you give them, what will help more is pollen substitute patties layed on top of the cluster for stimulating brood rearing. Make sure they have honey, fondant, or plain sugar (MC) next to the cluster not only for brood rearing but survival. John
    I've done that, so it sounds like I'll be fine. Thanks for all of your input.

    Could you tell me the minimum conditions for comb building? Is temperature an issue? What about daylight?

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    You can throw a package of bees into a hive that has nothing but frames of foundation, with an outside temperature that's pretty cool say around 45 degrees, and give them syrup in contact with the cluster and they will build comb. Normally though, an established hive won't build comb unless they need room for incoming nectar storage (a honeyflow), or to draw out brood nest combs, and the temperatures are quite a bit higher, and lots of young worker bees are available. John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    As I understand it, the wax making bees need 100 degrees in order to make wax. They tend to hang out at the top of the hive where it is warmest. I slipped a hot pad between my SBB and the plastic insert. Then I covered my top feeder with a screen inner cover, then a folded up mylar emergency blanket, then the top cover. The mylar reflects the heat to the syrup and any condensation drips back into the feeder. The heat from the hot pad rises and collects under the feeder, providing a warmer space and warming the syrup. I started this because my bees were very low on stores, but it has allowed them to take about 2 quarts of 1:1 syrup per day for the past couple of weeks when temps have been in the 30s and 40s. Obviously a hobbyist!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Interesting. Thank you.

    Do you know of any potential problems that you need to watch for as a result of your setup?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    I suppose that if you set the heating pad too hot, you could cook your bees or melt your wax. A thermometer stuck under the feeder should let you keep an eye on that until you are comfortable it's safe.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Do you have any issues with bees not being able to void due to cold weather?

  14. #14
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    Nov 2012
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    Kingston, Tennessee, USA
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    Cool Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    I put a 100 watt light bulb under a early March split last spring.
    I used a garage light, a long extension cord and placed it under the screened bottom board.
    Did it help? I don't know but it didn't hurt.
    Would I do it again. No.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2011
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    Brainerd, MN
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    540

    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Holy cow why would you need supplemental heat in Tennessee? From what I have read 15 watts is what you need for extra heat in a hive. We have had a cruddy winter here in Minnesota. It felt like we were at -30 to 0 with a few days of ~25ish in between. I have lost 3 of 5. The remaining two have a 15 watt bulb wrapped in tin foil in the bottom of the hive.

    I have given though to feeding as well. Temps are a bit cold at this point, but if I did want to feed syrup I would give strong consideration to using an inverted pail with a light in the super to keep it warm. The bees would theoretically be more likely to take it then. I have never done this, but in theory is sounds good.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  16. #16
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    May 2011
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    Nashville, TN
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    Default Re: Heating Hive Top Feeder

    Re voiding: here in Tennessee we rarely have more than a couple of days or a week at most at a time when they can't fly, so voiding isn't a problem.

    Bush 84 both of my hives had less than 10 lbs of stores when I checked 3 weeks ago. So feeding was mandatory and the heat is just to allow them to leave cluster and get to the syrup. They already seemed to be building up brood. Our temps are so borderline and fluctuating between 25 and 60 degrees that they have many days at 45 which is barely flying temp and nothing really to eat yet. The heat is just to add a few degrees to make sure they can get to the feed. At your temps they stay in cluster but not here.

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