Top Bar Feeding
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Thread: Top Bar Feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Portland, OR
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    14

    Default Top Bar Feeding

    I know that there are times when you need to place your feeder on the opposite side of a follower board that has a hole for bee access. What is to prevent the queen from entering that space? Should you use #6 hardware cloth to cover the hole per suggestion from Michael Bush's website?

    Finally, what prevents the bees from drawing comb in that space?

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    I know that there are times when you need to place your feeder on the opposite side of a follower board that has a hole for bee access. What is to prevent the queen from entering that space? Should you use #6 hardware cloth to cover the hole per suggestion from Michael Bush's website?

    Finally, what prevents the bees from drawing comb in that space?

    Thanks in advance!
    So, fyi - the follower board is a thing that bees can go under and/or around.
    There are no holes in the board; not typically.

    The queen hardly ever will cross under/around the follower board into an empty space.
    If she would, she'd just return back (similar to a queen sometimes exiting a hive and walking around the hive wall; just to return back in).
    Now it is fall and queen will not go anywhere cold and empty.
    Not a practical worry.

    If you have any holes in that board, I would not worry either - see above.
    Nor would I bother with #6 whatever; if too concerned - plug that hole with a chunk of paper towel.

    Today being October 2nd, there is no practical worry of bees building anything behind the follower board.
    Now is not the time to build anything (unless you are in Hawaii or Florida, who knows your location; but then - why feed?)

    If you keep the board in that exact place into May/June 2020 AND they are strong and short on space - they most likely WILL build behind it.
    Not a catastrophic issue; they will just use that space as honey space, most likely.

    The less you worry, the better off you are.
    Bees do not self-distract for nothing; no typically.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    As long as there are bars on the other side of the follower, if the bees every move there it's not a problem. it's doubtful they will. One way to feed a top bar hive is to take one of those fed ex cardboard "envelopes" and fill it with crystallized honey and cut a couple of slits in it and put it up against the cluster. If it doesn't fit, fold the corners to fit.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    As long as there are bars on the other side of the follower, if the bees every move there it's not a problem. ....
    I had bees building free combs just handing on the front wall of the hives (they were TOO tight and it was a nuc inside an over-sized wintering box - that created a hollow double-wall situation).
    So if you push them enough, they will build all kinds of things everywhere inside and outside and without any bars OR just swarm away (more likely).

    Last winter lost a nuc as they stuck to the ceiling trying to get warm.
    I was just a week too late to give them dry sugar on the top - would have probably saved that nuc (a potentially good queen of my own production - more importantly).
    Should have had the dry sugar brick there just proactively; keep falling into the same trap over and over.
    A honey frame to the side was useless - was too cold to move sideways.
    The honey itself was too cold to consume by a small cluster, anyway.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    14

    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Generally speaking is it best to place the feed on tbe bee side of the follower board (if possible) or on the other side of the follower?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    Generally speaking is it best to place the feed on tbe bee side of the follower board (if possible) or on the other side of the follower?
    If the feed is placed "inside", they have less intensive to move the feed around, since it is already "inside".
    Outside the board is usually considered the "outside" and any feed found there will be moved "inside" and done so quickly (granted - it is still WARM enough).

    I default to place the feed "outside".
    So the bees are prompted to take it "inside" and process/place it where the feed properly belongs in the winter setting.
    Like the coffee bags I use to feed with syrup - placed "outside" and I refill them as needed.
    I just keep the bags there and re-add more syrup as needed from above.
    20180923_162136.jpg
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    I even place entire frames/combs in the "outside" position so to re-consolidate the winter stores.
    Those frames are poorly/only partially capped or poorly filled or not good fit for wintering for any reason.
    I'd disturb them (like in - uncap/scrape) and place "outside" - the bees happily dry such frames out and move the stores "inside" and place the honey/nectar into better winter position.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    >they will build all kinds of things everywhere inside and outside and without any bars

    Exactly. Which is why I would ALWAYS leave bars in any space they can get access to.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >they will build all kinds of things everywhere inside and outside and without any bars

    Exactly. Which is why I would ALWAYS leave bars in any space they can get access to.
    I can see that.
    A good idea; need to store empty bars/frames someplace anyway.
    Good storage for extra comb too during the moth season.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,774

    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinf View Post
    Generally speaking is it best to place the feed on tbe bee side of the follower board (if possible) or on the other side of the follower?
    I run lots of topbar hives and have fed them different ways. Behind the follower board, in the comb section, different feeders including TB division board feeder...In the fall it really doesn't seem to matter, do whatever works best for you although I prefer the bottle feeders with long ports for them to drink from as they don't ever drowned in these (they do with division board feeders and other bulk feeders with pine needles or corks in them). Spring feeding can bring different results, as they are actively drawing comb all over the place. I still usually feed with multiple bottle feeders in the section with comb, but about 4 empty topbars above the feeders. On rare occasion they drawn new comb on those bars, but I'm really in my too frequently for them to get away from me.

    bottlefeeder.jpg. I buy the feeder piece off ebay. My typical bottle is Le Bleu water bottle, although I do use the tiny club soda ones for medium nucs.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Orangeburg, SC, USA
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    56

    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    I build these on to a follower board with # 8 hardware wire so the bees do not get out when changing the jar
    IMG_0784.jpgIMG_0779.jpgIMG_0782.jpgIMG_0783.jpgIMG_0784.jpg
    If You Learn From A Mistake... It Is Not A Mistake...
    It Is A Learning Experience

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Wise County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    TBH6.jpgTBH3.jpg
    this are pics of a sugar candy / fondant feeder I made. The small opening faces the bees during winter. The top opening is closed off with a piece of wood. To fill or check I remove the top cover then just open the top opening on the feeder. That way I don't open the whole hive to the cold weather. I have also added to the end box containing a liquid feeder holding 1 gallon that gets sealed from the outside( no robbing) Will look for photos.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Wise County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Top Bar Feeding

    TBH5.jpgTBH1.jpg More pics of sugar candy feeder. 2nd shows it in place. My bars are color coded

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