How to feed this barrel hive?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    8

    Default How to feed this barrel hive?

    I built two top bar barrel hives this winter and the bees are arriving in mid-March. They won't be the first bees I've kept, but they are my first hives on my own property. I also have a Tanzanian ready to go as soon as I can catch a swarm to stuff inside it. The barrel hives were a really fun project and incredibly inexpensive, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they actually perform.

    My question is, how to feed the barrel hives?

    I really need to be able to monitor and replenish feed from outside the hive - realistically, I'm worried about keeping everybody fed and happy with my work schedule. I'll keep the bees better if I can avoid having to open the covers or fiddle with the bars just to top off sugar.

    But I need some help to come up with a feeder that will do the job. The telescoping lids won't allow me to install a regular entrance feeder.

    Any creative designs that might get the job done? I have basic woodworking skills and I'm not afraid to put holes in stuff.

    Also, if the answer is simply to open-feed and try to mitigate the robbing risk, I can also do that.

    Let me see if I can post a picture of these hives -

    0115181419.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,415

    Default Re: How to feed this barrel hive?

    You could make a custom 'entrance feeder' that would require cutting a slot in the end of the barrel. For example ...
    photo credit

    ... if you were to make one similar that but perhaps extend the tongue of the feeder so that it would clear any barrel rim or other obstacles. I made something similar to fit in my TBHs even though I used top entrances for the TBH. Just cut a slot in the end of the barrel to accommodate the lip of the feeder, and access the feeder from the outside of the hive. A canning style jar (with holes punched in the lid) goes upside-down in the recess. Since the barrel material is thinner than wood, you may need to provide external support for the feeder, but it seems to me that the frames/stand I see in your photo could be adapted to do that.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    1,009

    Default Re: How to feed this barrel hive?

    Any reason you can't just pour it on the floor of the hive?
    "management decisions based upon hard data.The easiest person in the world to fool is oneself"- Randy Oliver

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: How to feed this barrel hive?

    Look in the TBH forum
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: How to feed this barrel hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    Any reason you can't just pour it on the floor of the hive?
    That would be easier, right?!

    The hive has a few holes underneath and won't hold the syrup. I guess I could tape them shut, but I'd still have to feed by going into the hive (and I am definitely not opposed to frequent management, but just probably can't be out there multiple times a week going all the way in). Drainage holes are going to be important, as far as I've researched, because of the condensation issues I expect to have with these thin-walled hives.


    I like Rader's idea of using the hive stands to install a support for a feeder. I never would have thought of that...

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    369

    Default

    Can you drill a hole in the lid and use a pail feeder or some type of top feeder?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    denver colorado
    Posts
    1,009

    Default Re: How to feed this barrel hive?

    That would be easier, right?!
    its more common they you might think.. lots of people do it in there polyfoam nucs and it goes back about 150 years or so in langs http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm
    but I'd still have to feed by going into the hive
    its nothing to pop the follower board at the back and poor in just have the hive slightly tilted forward.
    "management decisions based upon hard data.The easiest person in the world to fool is oneself"- Randy Oliver

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