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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Burnet County, TX, USA

    Default Hive top feeder issues

    I have a hive top feeder from Dadant that I have been using. It doesn't have the screened access like others I have read about, but a split access in between two basins. My colony is filling that entrance as well as the underside of the telescoping outer cover with LOTS of comb that extends down into the basins as the sugar syrup drains. In fact, my colony came from a nuc and they are not completely drawing out the other frames in the bottom chamber--it's about 60-70% drawn out with the remaining frames still bare.

    I just added an excluder and super under advice from a pro in the hopes that the new space will direct them and keep them from building into the feeder. Several of my books and people in my club have said NOT to use an inner cover with a hive top feeder--also to only use one lower brood chamber due to hot weather & just a few days of real winter in Central Texas. I need to use the top feeder because my hive is 60 miles from my house so I can't always access it any time I want. Now I'm waking up in the middle of the night worrying that I've messed things up! This is my first colony, 3 months in... I was wondering:

    1) should I disregard the advice and use an inner cover anyway? I presume that would end the problem of comb in the feeder.
    2) is there a way to "guide" the bees back into drawing out the frames rather than the feeder?
    3) should I take the super & excluder off and wait until more of the bottom chamber is drawn out?
    4) Any other advice is much appreciated. Thank all of you for the wealth of info you share here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Default Re: Hive top feeder issues

    Bees will build comb in areas wider than beespace(max 3/8 inch) in what they consider their hive.

    IMHO, I think a way to avoid the bridge comb is to get the feeder above an inner cover with some vertical space between the feeder and inner cover. Idea is that they will go for syrup but not use space above inner cover as part of hive.

    I have a vent box, built out of 2x4 material that is a "mini super", if you will. I have two 1 inch screened holes on each side. Vent box is installed immediately above the inner cover. Have a super above that with frames of candied honey that the bees are slowly cleaning up and moving to honey super below the inner cover.

    Am not familiar with the Dadant feeder but built the Millar feeder on the Build It Yourself section of home page. It has a 3/4 inch vertical wood slot that bees enter from the bottom. It is not an inverted V as is the Mann Lake one. I added a 3/8 rim to bottom. Forget whether I used an inner cover when I used it, but had minimal bridge comb.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Concord, CA

    Default Re: Hive top feeder issues

    My bees where raising drones under my mann lake feeder, I put the inner cover under the feeder & they stopped doing it.


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