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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    54

    Default What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    I am still a greenhorn here... only my second year as a beek. Last year I was advised to use a frame feeder with the pros touted as less chance of robbing, easy access for the bees, even helping maintain brood temp in winter(not sure of that one). Anyway, I lost my one colony overwinter. This spring I installed a new package and pail feeder. It seems to work very well. I don't seem to have the dead bees I got with the frame feeder. It's very easy to get to without interrupting the hive. Last week I started a nuc and put the frame feeder in it.... 7 days later it already has many dead bees in it. Long story short, is there a disadvantage to using the pail feeder vs. the frame feeder? What am I missing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Murcia, Spain
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    I always use a large glass jar standing on 2 parallel slivers of wood, the plastic tubs seem to let out a flood if the atmospheric pressure changes quickly, you get a constant with the glass jar and you can see what is left in the feeder without removing it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnie1uk View Post
    I always use a large glass jar standing on 2 parallel slivers of wood, the plastic tubs seem to let out a flood if the atmospheric pressure changes quickly, you get a constant with the glass jar and you can see what is left in the feeder without removing it.
    Is yours not resting on top of the inner cover?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    I use pail feeders exclusively on all hives except nucs where I use a mason jar. Tried glass jars only and tried baggie feeders and found them to be too much work for more than a couple hives.

    The only cons I can think of are not very monumental:

    - I need extra hive bodies to cover them, (which I always have since honey supers are off when feeding.)
    - I have in the past had a screened insert come out while inverting the pail. (I learned to be more careful.)
    - A bit always leaks out until a vacuum is formed. (I invert them over a pan I bring to catch the leaking syrup.)
    - I have had a little syrup go bad in the pail when the weather turned warm. (I'll live with that since I can't do anything about the weather.)
    - I can't see the syrup level (but can simply lift the inner cover an inch to gauge the contents.)

    I use mostly 2 gallon pails with the yellow screen inserts and occasionally 1 gallon pails. I make the syrup in 5 gallon buckets in a bath tub, using hot water straight from the tap with no unnecessary heating. I mix it with a long shank paint mixer in an electric drill. It takes only a couple minutes to make 5 gallons this way. (But that's a positive and off-thread.)

    Wayne

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,496

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    bjorn, you dont have adequate floats in your frame feeder, I will feed internally with zero bee deaths (besides filling the feeders)
    I prefer the pail feeders as they are quick, dont require any disturbance to the hive and allow large amounts to be feed to the hives at a time. I use the frame feeders on my packages, where as I am feeding small amounts over a period of time.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    I use pail feeders (mostly 2 gallon, but up to 4) and jars for light snacks - which the bees access through a hole in the cover. In other words they sit on top of the hives - no extra supers needed, no opening the hive to check or fill. A little bit leaks out when you first install them which the bees quickly clean up. So no downsides to this kind of feeder as far as i am concerned.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    tacoma, wa. usa
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    the major downfall that I've seen in their use is when you fill them and then invert them to re-install, it's important to make sure that you have some means to catch the bit that spills before the can's vacuum or (more likely) the surface tension of the feeder has established. I don't think it is as much of an issue now with flows on, but later in the summer, a dearth or fall, you can set yourself up for a robbing situation to get started...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,141

    Default Re: What are the cons to a pail feeder?

    If you are putting them on the top bars or inner cover and covering with an empty super that isn't going to matter much - any spillage will get cleaned right up unless the hive is quite weak.

    The bigger they are the more they leak initially.

    Also they leak much more if they aren't completely full, because the larger volume of air acts like a softer spring which the weight of the liquid has to fully extend before it can stop leaking. So fill them as full as possible to minimize this issue.

    Michael Palmer uses gallon paint cans, which also turns out to be a great way to measure feed in the fall. All of the cans are filled and prepped, and then as hives are weighed they can get one, two or zero cans depending on their need.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

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