Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Iowa, USA
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    Default Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    I'm not sure whether or not to keep feeding this hive or not. This is a first year hive, and they seem to be taking the feed faster than I can make it. When they eat all of it, they crawl underneath of the plastic cover and into the reservoir that holds the feed. I don't like this, because if I add new feed, it will drown most of the ones crawling in the reservoir (I'm also a bit scared to take it out and just shake the bees out, but I would if that's the recommended course of action). I would like to take the feeder out and stop feeding, but I also don't want to stop feeding too early. This hive has about 9 total frames drawn out, 6 in the first box, 3 in the second. They are all 10-frame medium boxes. I got this package in late April. I read one website that said you could stop feeding at 8 frames, and that their hives did better off the feed than on it. I would like to get a second opinion on this, though. Also, there isn't a bunch of bees crawling in the feeder, maybe around 30, but still enough that I don't want to scoop out the bodies from the feed every time I feed them. Any replies would be appreciated.

    This is what the feeder looks like, it sits over top of the inner cover:

    hive top feeder.jpg
    A bee that won't stop eating will eventually become a little chub-bee

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,607

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Opinions will vary, but I would feed a first year hive until it stops taking feed. There is no harm to the bees in feeding and great harm if they do not have enough food to raise brood, live and store enough for winter. Just shake the feeder over the hive in short shakes. Fill the feeder and try not to let it run out. If you let it go dry, they may not resume making comb when you refill it. Remember, they need to have that comb drawn to store food in. The only drawback is the possibility of them getting "nectar bound" and swarming, but you need drawn comb to counter that. J

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    5,197

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Dittos, Keep feeding until all the frames are drawn. If you let the feeder run dry, shake out the bees and fill it back up. Might not hurt to put on some pollen patty too. You should get 3 medium boxes drawn to use as the brood nest. Once you do, you can stop feeding. But, I would continue until the first super, the fourth medium box, is drawn out and filled. BTW, that is known as a Rapid Feeder. They are good feeders, but you have to keep syrup in them or the bees can get under the center cone, as you have discovered. In the winter you can remove the cone and fill the tray with granulated sugar to feed the bees.

    Please edit your profile to include your location. So much of beekeeping advice is localized. What I might tell you, me living in Virginia, would not be right for this time of year if you lived in say, Wisconsin.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Something about this doesn't make any sense - and so I've just dug out a Rapid Feeder I once tried.



    I had plans to buy 50 of these, but luckily bought just this one for testing - and I'm pleased I did - because although I'm sure they're good for their intended purpose: which is supplying large amounts of syrup in a short time, such as during Autumn/Fall feeding, I found this design seriously lacking for continuous use. As you may be able to see from the above graphic, the girls laid-down a lot of propolis in the upper chamber, and even drew wax inside the access tube. They had decided to live up there in the feeder !

    However - the main reason for digging this feeder out and replying here now was that I can't understand how bees can possibly gain access into the reservoir. Mine never did.

    On close examination, I see that the inverted cup actually snaps into place if pushed down firmly. When this is done, the gap at the bottom is only around 1.0mm, and there's no way a bee can crawl through such a small gap. So - on the assumption that your feeder has been made by the same manufacturer as mine (no doubt they are all ex China), then do ensure that the cup is pushed firmly down into place.
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
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    484

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    I just lay something heavy on the clear cap to weigh it down. A few washers seem to do the trick.

    Make sure these bees aren't getting in under your outer cover. Or thru the notch on your inner cover.
    "The honeybee is doubtless a creature of the sun, but one that does not need pampering." - Brother Adam

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Iowa, USA
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    9

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Please edit your profile to include your location. So much of beekeeping advice is localized. What I might tell you, me living in Virginia, would not be right for this time of year if you lived in say, Wisconsin.
    My bad, I am in Iowa.
    A bee that won't stop eating will eventually become a little chub-bee

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Mooresville, NC
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    319

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Something about this doesn't make any sense - and so I've just dug out a Rapid Feeder I once tried.



    I had plans to buy 50 of these, but luckily bought just this one for testing - and I'm pleased I did - because although I'm sure they're good for their intended purpose: which is supplying large amounts of syrup in a short time, such as during Autumn/Fall feeding, I found this design seriously lacking for continuous use. As you may be able to see from the above graphic, the girls laid-down a lot of propolis in the upper chamber, and even drew wax inside the access tube. They had decided to live up there in the feeder !

    However - the main reason for digging this feeder out and replying here now was that I can't understand how bees can possibly gain access into the reservoir. Mine never did.

    On close examination, I see that the inverted cup actually snaps into place if pushed down firmly. When this is done, the gap at the bottom is only around 1.0mm, and there's no way a bee can crawl through such a small gap. So - on the assumption that your feeder has been made by the same manufacturer as mine (no doubt they are all ex China), then do ensure that the cup is pushed firmly down into place.
    'best
    LJ
    When they show a demonstration video of this, they also show using it without the cup for dry sugar feeding. They just put that big cap over the top of the whole thing, and it looks like they come up and do as they please. But from the design, I can't see how a bee can get past the cup if it is clicked in place.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    I use the same ones and love them. If you let it go dry the bees will go back under the plastic cup to get back to their colony. If you are in a hurry to get bees out (to put more sugar water in) you can pour a little water in to avoid killing bees and keep others out. I tease the escapees out with a feather to encourage them to fly off.

    Feed first year colonies until they have drawn out their brood boxes. Highly recommend the video Comb Building from Univ. of Guelph. It may be as much as 3-4 gallons. Yes gallons. Enough so they have drawn out the comb but not so much that it back-fills the brood nest and doesn't leave room for the queen to lay. It's a finesse thing.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  10. #9
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    Sep 2019
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    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    77

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Must be two different versions of these, none of mine snap. Will try the weight idea Spur9 suggested.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by William Bagwell View Post
    Must be two different versions of these, none of mine snap. Will try the weight idea Spur9 suggested.
    You're absolutely right. Been digging around ... This is from the website where I bought mine:



    At that price - around five dollars - why buy from China ?

    How to tell the difference ? If you were to look at the graphic I posted with a magnifying glass (no, I'm not being serious) - you'd see the letters 'CN' embossed on the lid:





    What do they stand for ? Dunno - but they also feature on the Nicotplastics website, so they appear to mean something to them:





    So - 'CN' on the lid - genuine Nicot - cup will snap in place.

    No 'CN' indicates a Chinese knock-off - so you'll need to weigh the inverted cup down with something. I've noticed the Chinese often miss-out useful details when copying things. Their Nicot roller cages are a prime example of this.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
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    Sep 2019
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    Jasper, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Thanks! Guessing the "CN" stands for Christian Nicot. Other differences are the hight or depth, 82 MM according to their website verses 65 MM for the knock off. You estimate the gap at 1 MM, I measure .108" which is just under 3MM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    I only guessed at 1.0mm of course. 0.1" is 2.54 mm., but out of curiosity I've just measured mine - a 2.0 mm popsicle stick is an interference fit - so it looks like there's some manufacturing tolerance involved. It only needs to be a small gap - even 1.0mm would do - hence my guess.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  14. #13
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    Jun 2019
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    Southwest Michigan
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Does anyone know where they are available here in the states? I'd like to try them.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Sisters, Oregon
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by jigsaw View Post
    Does anyone know where they are available here in the states? I'd like to try them.
    The ones I bought were from Ebay. You can narrow your search to only US.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Quote Originally Posted by jigsaw View Post
    Does anyone know where they are available here in the states? I'd like to try them.
    I'm sure there are many other sellers, but this UK guy (who I've dealt with - WAS 100% ok) will ship to the States free, if you buy 6 for $36 - Ebay XXXXXXXX NOTGenuine Nicot.
    LJ

    Whoops - CORRECTION - he sells both types.
    Genuine Nicot at:
    XXXXXXXX

    Knock-offs at:
    XXXXXXXX

    Price difference is trivial.

    Further correction - I asked the seller to delay dispatching the order until after contacting jigsaw in view of the mistake I'd made - but I have since received an email from them saying they wouldn't even try. So - no more recommendations from Yours Truly.

    Reputations can take a long time to build-up - yet be destroyed in an instant.
    Last edited by little_john; 06-05-2020 at 07:50 AM. Reason: Important correction
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Jun 2019
    Location
    Southwest Michigan
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    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    Thanks John, I ordered a pack.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Iowa, USA
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    9

    Default Re: Bees crawling inside of hive top feeder

    UPDATE: I read everything everyone said, and I did find the problem. It was that the plastic dome wasn't snapped into place, like little john suggested. I tried to snap it in place, but for some reason it always pops back up. My other feeder stays locked in, so I'm not sure why this one won't stay in place. Thanks to everyone that commented, it was a great help. (BTW, the hive with the defective feeder is gulping down over 32 oz. of sugar water per day, a lot more than my other hive. I just thought I'd add this because I found this amazing)
    Last edited by BroodKing; 06-04-2020 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Info left out
    A bee that won't stop eating will eventually become a little chub-bee

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