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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    598

    Default bee death on external feeder

    Not sure if this is the right forum to post this question, but I am a new beek since August with one top bar hive. I'm feeding the bees syrup constantly to get them to build up comb and stores. They go through about 32 oz a day. Aside from the sugar, I am also using a few drops of essential oils in the water. Either anise oil, wintergreen or sprearmint. Most days they take it just fine. About once every 2 weeks, I come home to find an empty feeder and a pile of dead bees near the feeder. This is a boardman type feeder that is set away from the hive on a platform about 8 ft from the hive. I'm not home during the day to see what goes on. But I can't figure out the bee death. Any suggestions?
    I've also gotten an in-hive feeder, but I find that I can't leave that in for more than 2 days at a time or the hive beetles begin to lay larvae in spots where the bees can't clean them out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: bee death on external feeder

    Could be fighting from other bees, wasps, hornets, bumblebees, in your yard, or from nearby.

    cchoganjr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,725

    Default Re: bee death on external feeder

    I agree with Cleo. Chances are very good that fighting is going on and you're just not seeing it. Open feeding is somewhat controversial and can lead to problems if robbing starts. IMO 8 ft away is not nearly enough to open feed. If you're intent on open feeding then shoot for 20 yards or more away from the hive. You really should figure out an in-hive approach to feed. You're right that SHB are a really issue in the Fall. Pose a question to the Bee Forum on feeding TBH's.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: bee death on external feeder

    Thanks for the comments. Might the fighting be reduced if I enclose the feeder in a box and reduced the entrance to get into the feeder box? Others have suggested this happens during a nectar dirth. Most of the time, there are about 12 bees swirling about the feeder, and the occasional yellow jacket and wasp. It just breaks my heart to see the dead bees on the feeder.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,543

    Default Re: bee death on external feeder

    I would eliminate the essential oils for a test to see if the fighting is related to that.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: bee death on external feeder

    Yes, as long as the box surrounding the feeder is tight enough that invaders cannot get in. Can't be an old box which fits poorly, and still allows other bees, wasps, yellow jackets, etc, to get in.

    If you still get robbing after doing that, it means the colony is too weak to defend itself.

    And yes, by all means reduce the entrance. Makes it easier to defend.

    cchoganjr

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