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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    1,429

    Default Hive top feeder...does this work?

    I saw a video on another thread.
    The hive top feeder was very basic and I wondered if others had used this method and what your experience was.
    The box with frames was 3/4 covered with a piece of clear plastic. An empty box was put on top of it. I rubber maid type tub was placed in the empty box. It was filled with seemed to be very thick syrup. Then fresh grass...looked like it had just been picked...was thickly layered on top of the syrup. Then more syrup was layered on the grass,the inner cover was set and the cover put on.
    I understand that the grass is to keep the bees from drowning in the tub of syrup.
    Does the grass not decompose into a compost like mess? Does the syrup become mouldy and mixed with goo from decomposing grass?
    If it does work it it is inexpensive and simple.
    Comments appreciated.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Hive top feeder...does this work?

    Fresh grass will quickly get waterlogged and sink, as to compost into a mess, yes that too although using a thick mix plus adding vinegar to it can considerably slow this process.

    What I use is barley straw, works well. It should not just be floated on the syrup enough should be put in to go from top to bottom of the container.

    Here's a pic, just 1/2 the feeder is enough for this hive, with barley straw used in this manner bees drowning is a non issue.

    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    staffordshire UK
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Hive top feeder...does this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by WBVC View Post
    I saw a video on another thread.
    The hive top feeder was very basic and I wondered if others had used this method and what your experience was.
    The box with frames was 3/4 covered with a piece of clear plastic. An empty box was put on top of it. I rubber maid type tub was placed in the empty box. It was filled with seemed to be very thick syrup. Then fresh grass...looked like it had just been picked...was thickly layered on top of the syrup. Then more syrup was layered on the grass,the inner cover was set and the cover put on.
    I understand that the grass is to keep the bees from drowning in the tub of syrup.
    Does the grass not decompose into a compost like mess? Does the syrup become mouldy and mixed with goo from decomposing grass?
    If it does work it it is inexpensive and simple.
    Comments appreciated.
    I,ve been top feeding for thirty years here in UK seems like a complex way of feeding in video
    easy method simply fill a poly bag with syrup either zip loc or use zip tie slit bag with utility knife approx 1"at top bees feed from slit no drowning bees no messing around on a cold day just lift hive lid and place by feed hole

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,429

    Default Re: Hive top feeder...does this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Fresh grass will quickly get waterlogged and sink, as to compost into a mess, yes that too although using a thick mix plus adding vinegar to it can considerably slow this process.

    What I use is barley straw, works well. It should not just be floated on the syrup enough should be put in to go from top to bottom of the container.

    Here's a pic, just 1/2 the feeder is enough for this hive, with barley straw used in this manner bees drowning is a non issue.

    Would oat straw work...we have that handy?
    Also I take it the bees crawl amounts the straw so wouldn't pack in too tightly.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Hive top feeder...does this work?

    Yes to both, oat straw is fine, big coarse stalky stuff is better than fine bits and pieces type straw that will just sink & clog the bottom of the feeder. And you have perceived correctly, when putting in the straw it pays to "fluff" it a bit so bees can get right to the bottom. I normally put the straw in first get that about right, then pour in the syrup.

    Occasionally I'll mess up and when I take the feeders off later there will be one with a bit of syrup on the bottom the bees couldn't get to cos the straw was too tightly packed, but I see that as less of an evil than losing bees to drowning.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,146

    Default Re: Hive top feeder...does this work?

    EDIT - I should have added the feeder in the pic is two separate containers only one of them being used. The empty one on the other side I would not put any syrup in there unless there was straw in it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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