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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Kalispell, Montana
    Posts
    84

    Lightbulb Community feeders

    I have two yards, one with 36 hives the other with 40. I was thinking about a community feeder made with a plastic 55 gal drum and a 3x4ft tray with gravel in it. 3 ft by 4 ft tray would allow a lot of bees at it at one time and keeping the feeder 50 or 100 ft from hives should not cause a robbing problem.If this would work it could save a lot of time when feeding. I know all the bees would use it and not just the week hives but for now time is the main issue.What's your thoughts on this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Community feeders

    I gave the idea a lot of thought myself too. I had one idea, but found it may not work so well.

    I like the idea of community feeding too and i think some ingenuity ought to work better than what i have seen before.

    I think adding a layer of grass,hay,straw,what have you for a landing,feeding area is a terrible idea.

    Too many bees drown in that.

    Until i have given my alternative method a try,I'm going with the inverted pail idea on a bit of a modified fashion.

    Each feeding method has their problems. I don't like the idea of feeding other bees and sharing possible disease.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Community feeders

    As long as you're confident there are no other beekeepers with 5 miles of each yard it should work. Otherwise someone else is getting free feed and a super full of sugar syrup

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    539

    Default Re: Community feeders

    Open feeding or community feeding work alright if your bees are not to close to other beekeepers yards. If temperatures are below 70F, a mile between bee yards is fine from my experience. I have have fed at 85 F with a neighbours bee yard less than a mile away in a pinch and based on the weight gain, most or all of the feed went to my hives. This may not have been the case if I had fed the yard again within a week.

    My preference is feeding at cooler temps as a feeding frenzy can occur when temps are warm.

    Surface area is very important. Too little surface results in fighting and bees drowning.

    A 3-4 inch layer of straw on wooden floats work well.

    Plastics totes make nice feeders.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Kalispell, Montana
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Community feeders

    Allen it sounds like you have some experience with this so Im interested in your opinion on my feeder. I want to use a 55 gal drum and gravity feed a 3 ft x 4 ft tray with about 1 inch of surape using clean 1 in gravel or stone in the tray to prevent drowning. Build a 2x4 frame with a roof over it and a 1 ft by 4 ft tray on top of the horizontal drum for feeding dry pollen or pollen substitute. My bees are on a trailer so they can be moved easily. I have 36 hives on one trailer and starting a second trailer now with 40 on it. How many hives do you think I can feed off of one 3x4 feeder? The state of Montana requires all bee yards to be registered and no other yards are registered within 15 miles of this site so Im willing to try it. Only planning to feed early to help get a good start and late if I have to. Im hoping to move this trailer 2 or 3 times during the summer to put the bees on alfalfa bloom or some other flow at the time then return to the home yard.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    539

    Default Re: Community feeders

    Should work nicely for spring. I find 1 of the totes is adequate for a yard of 60 in spring.

    I think for fall the you might not have enough surface area. I use 1 tote for every 10 hives in fall. When I used to use barrels, I found I was a little low on surface area plus they were a pain to transport.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Sandpoint, ID, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Community feeders

    I'll go out on a limb here and share a couple ideas i've been tossing around.

    First, i thought about the idea of using a drum to supply artificial flowers. Drip emitters for irrigation was my first thought. The adjustable type have 8holes per emitter. Buy a few packages of them and install them on a coiled sprinkler line under the drum. Naturally,this means the drum is elevated some.

    Secondly, somehow creating an apparatus like the float in a toilet reservoir but inverted. But only allow just a skim of feed to be dispensed at a time so the bees don't drown.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Kalispell, Montana
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Community feeders

    Thanks for the input. I like your tote idea. Much simpler than the drum to build. I will try one of your totes this spring put I have to try the drum as well so I can compare them. Im hoping to keep the drum feeder in the outyard permanently and just bring the trailer of bees home in the fall. I have plexiglass doors on the inside of the hives and enjoyed walking through in early January when it was -17 and two foot of snow on the ground and looking in on the bees. So far I'm really liking the trailer adea for the bees. Makes it easy to move a lot of bees with little work. hex0rz, the flote idea may work but Id like to try it with a gravity feed first. Put a valve on top fill hole and small pvc pipe into 3 in tray from bottom hole on horizontal drum. Im going to try to put one together this weekend. If it works out Ill post a pic for you and maybe you'll have an idea to improve it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    539

    Default Re: Community feeders

    If you are going to use straw for a float make sure that you add plenty of it. You probably don't need too thick a layer of straw but you are better to start with a thicker layer and experiment with less later. A thick layer of straw will slow the feeding some but the bees will still take the syrup surprisingly quickly. Sometimes the bees have a bit of a difficult time finding the syrup until they are trained to associate straw with feed. I often throw a piece of comb on top of the straw and drizzle some syrup on it.

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