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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    151

    Default Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    So i was sitting here thinking (very dangerous )... In my decade of beekeeping I've used all kinds of different feeders. Most of us know the advantages/disadvantages of them all but in my days my two favorite types are the inverted jar right over the cluster or a miller style on top that the bees crawl up and in.

    For inverted jars ive used gallon pickle jars (tops too hard to remove with propolis), unused paint cans (takes a tool to open lids and rust after a while), and 2.5 gallon plastic buckets (thin walled and sometimes dripped too fast with changing day/night temps). Though i have never used them, I've heard good things about the collins feeder and i like the concept of the large mesh area so lots of bees can feed at once. I would also rather not have to expose the hive when i'm feeding so i can feed in cooler temps and i dont have to get suited up and light the smoker.

    For miller style i've just used the mann lake version and the brushy mountain version (preferred choice). I like the feeding area for the mann lake version because it is in the middle of the hive but it makes for two separate feed chambers which can be a bit of a pain to fill equally. I like the single feed chamber of the brushy mountain and how it has two feeding areas but they are at the front and back edges of the hive. One other downside is the gap around the feeder when you put a super over it for a better seal. Personally, i cut down a couple deeps into mediums and used the leftover to make a rim for the feeder. Made a good fit but still had the gap around the feed chamber. It never fails that i spill a little syrup in that gap that spoils and attracts hive beetlees like crazy so i filled that in with expanding foam. Works pretty well but could be much better.

    As with any open hive top feeder, if you have to inspect and there is still syrup in it it is a real pain in the buns to remove without making a huge mess. Plus feeding when its cold is basically useless because they wont move up into the feeder.

    So here is my thought.... A fully enclosed plastic feeder that takes up the entire length/width of the hive that is attached to a wood rim. No gaps anywhere. The top has about a 6" opening (could be bigger/smaller) with a lid to keep critter out. The top is also sloped toward the opening to divert any spills into the feeder if pouring from a 5 gal bucket etc. The bottom has 4 ports with screens similar to the collins feeder that are removable for cleaning/replacement. The whole thing is thick tough plastic that wont flex and cause leaking.

    To me the advantages would be less mess, fewer beetles, easy filling without disturbing bees, feed is closer to cluster, larger feeding area so more bees can eat at once, and ability to feed in cooler temps.

    I was even thinking maybe some kind of filling port that goes to the outside for the folks that feed from a bulk tank with a pump for even quicker feeding.

    What do you guys/gals think??
    Jason Young

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    Here is just a quick and dirty sketchup to give you kind of a visual.

    hivetop feeder1.jpghivetop feeder2.jpg
    Jason Young

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,191

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    quite an interesting idea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    Got any ideas of disadvantages? There's a custom molding factory not far from my house and i just might see if they will make me one. I want to make sure it is as best designed as it can be though before i spend the money on it.
    Jason Young

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
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    2,191

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    it does not look like it will stack. this will increase distribution costs. i like the mann-lake ones but on some of them i add a lot of silicone calk to reduce drowning. on some they are tight enough around the screens that sealing is not needed. i like the black plastic it helps warm the feeder more than white would in cooler conditions. in the summer the shape of the mann-lake ones adds to burr comb activity so during hot weather i use mason jars.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    what do you mean by it doesn't look like it would stack? If you're talking about bee space, I would definitely make sure it was right. Like i said, the drawing was just super quick to kind of give an idea. Before i had it made I would make sure to do a detailed sketchup with correct bee spacing for the super underneath it.
    Jason Young

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,374

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    Re; Mann Lake feeder.

    I found the weight of the syrup pushes the bottom down tending to pull a gap at the bottom of the screen ladder. I found that putting a few strips of wood about 3/8" square across the tops of the frames below supports the bottom from sagging and I get virtually no drowning. The exact dimension of the supporting strips will depend on your top bee space and the height of the box you use to hold the feeder assembly. I think they fit a standard shallow hive body.

    The same hive bodies minus the plastic feeder also get used for my shavings quilt box. If a person also wanted to do a few shallow frame honey supers, the boxes could do triple duty.
    Frank

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    mathesonequip you make a good point about the burr comb. I remember getting quite a bit up inside the feeder if I left it on too long. That would be another advantage to the new design

    Crofter, I love the idea of getting multiple uses out of things. Maybe instead of having the plastic in the wood frame permanently like i was planning, have a way that it will slide out of the wood frame yet is still fully supported when full of syrup. a couple square sticks could be put in to do the job. Probably wouldn't make for a good shallow super but would be good for a quilt box. Not as good as 3 uses but twice as good as 1
    Jason Young

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,191

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayoung21 View Post
    what do you mean by it doesn't look like it would stack?
    the mann-lake feeders without the wood supers stack in a compact way. this lowers shipping costs within the distribution system... i have left a mann-lake feeder on over the winter by mistake, it did seem to be better than nothing as a quilt box.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    ACT, Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Idea for hivetop feeder. Incorporates multiple designs

    Of the ones I've used the honeypaw polystyrene top feeder is the one I like most if I need to feed in cooler weather or large quantities.
    http://www.mesi.fi/en/products/polys...ve-top-feeder/

    Massive capacity; I can check and refill without disturbing them (which sometimes be in the evenings or after dark due to other stuff), 40mm polystyrene insulation so that massive capacity doesn't turn into a big ice-block and fits any 10-frame hive body (I also use some paradise-honey top feeders but am transitioning away from their gear as the slightly odd sizing and top/bottom profiles are inconvenient). I just need to convince honeypaw to make 8-frame gear and I'll be sorted.

    In warm conditions I use frame feeders for 5 or 6 frame nucs simply because they're cheaper.

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