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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    76

    Default Winter hive top feeder storage

    I couldn't find this thread anywhere so forgive me if it has already been discussed but I am wondering if it is possible to leave my top feeders in all winter. I am thinking about trying to feed some until it is just I cold and then come spring as soon as it is warm enough all I would have to do is pop the top and throw in some syrup. Any problems from doing this? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,648

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    I've never left one on all winter. I pulled 2 a few days ago and have another still on. I have kelley plastic top feeders and the hive keeps the syrup nice and warm. You may run into condensation/mold issues. Also the syrup will most likely crystalize to some extent plugging the mesh.

    Is there is a reason you want to keep on thru winter otherwise feeding. Laziness, alot of hives, etc. Im interested to see what others say, I never had a need to leave on over winter till spring. I don't feed in spring, except maybe emergency if the hive is very light.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    In my location, central Missouri, the temps have been 40's at night and 60's daytime. I will be pulling all my top feeders this weekend.
    The syrup just gets too cold for them to take it. I also use a sugar cake about mid December on my hives. So I need them ready for that.
    When the temps get high enough in mid March I pour the syrup and pollen sub to them to help them build up quickly. I do this so I can make
    4 nucs from each colony then. If all is done in a timely manner I normally have 8 to 10 frames of brood by April 1, weather permitting of course.
    You can always yard feed them away from the hives if you think they need it on warm days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    I guess my thought was that if the feeders were in the hives over the winter, come early spring instead of opening the hive and chilling the brood I could put warm syrup without opening the hive. I should say I am a beginning beekeeper so just trying to figure out best practices. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    If you have everything ready, you should be able to add a top feeder to a hive in less then 10 seconds.
    I don,t think you will have to worry about chilling the brood in that short of time. Especially since you will be
    adding the feeders when the temps are up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lamar County, Texas
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    My first gut instinct was to say no way, too much empty space up there that would store cold air.

    But I do remember seeing someone recently showing pictures of an empty hive body at the top of the hive with some bunched up burlap or blanket or cotton cloth or something in there to try to absorb moisture. Maybe you could wad up some absorbent material and place it into the trays where the syrup normally would go, to act as a moisture absorber from which it would not be able to rain down again onto the cluster. (I do believe we sometimes overthink this stuff, when you consider how many millions of beekeepers just slap things together that have worked for 100 years and not worry about it)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    996

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    Another option that I have done is to empty the feeder, turn upside down and use it as a cover over dry sugar, i.e. Mt Camp method. In any case make sure the feeder allows for ventilation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Grand Haven, MI
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    I like that. I was planning on using drivert sugar and that might work. Keep the same covers above that. Thanks for all the info.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Lassen, California, USA
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Winter hive top feeder storage

    Where I live we get temps -5 sometimes, most of the time it's 0 to 20 at night, and 20 to 40 in the daytime during Dec, Jan and Feb, sometimes into March. So, I'm starting to think that I should feed syrup in late Sept, all through October, then put a some patties in the hive, and bundle them up for the winter, does that sound like a plan? The past few nights its gotten down to 30, and for the next few nights coming it's supposed to go down to mid 20's, day time temps in the 40's. I wont have bees till spring, but I want to tackle all my winter questions.

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