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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just been given my first hive. It is a queenless split (2 frames each of egg, brood, and nectar/pollen/honey and a good complement of nurse bees) from a friend. It was suggested that I feed them for a while at least until they get established.

I'm feeding them with a feeder that is sitting on top of the deep the bees are in. I went out today (4 days after the split) and found a good number of bees drowning or dead in the feeder and a fist size cluster on the ridge in the feeder. I know that some drowning is normal with most types of feeding, but I'm concerned since there's no way for the hive to replace the lost foragers.

My question is this, what, if anything, should I do about the drowning bees?

Thanks all.


Here's the type of feeder I'm using.

g56.jpg
 

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First, what type of hive top feeder are you using. Some have screens, some do not, some have open tops with slats down in the syrup to keep bees from drowning. If it is an open feeder with no slats in the syrup, there lies the real problem. You can make slats yourself out of simple things such as paint sticks and popsicle stics weaving them together or simple hot glue. Either case there will be some bees die off even then, however you would have less bees die with the propper equipment. Also, since this is a split, you may want to consider a boardman feeder, slow cap only has a few holes and acts more like a nectar flow. If you feed them too much it will honey bound the nest and the queen will have no place to lay once she is created and mated up.
 

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I do not know what type of feeder you are using, But if you have bees drowning than you need to find another feeder. Something is wrong, I have several different types from hive top to chicken waterers and loose very few bees unless something is wrong. Screen out of place, or poor seal on lid something. I actually like an entrance feeder placed in an empty super above the inner cover. You have to fill it more often than other types, but it is effective and harmless.
 

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Here is a feeder I'm partial to. It's enclosed within the hive so robbing is not an issue. The bees use the screen as a ladder and the access to the syrup surface is minimal so if they do fall in the ladder is right there for them to climb back on. They dont have access to the extra space in the box so no burr comb is built. Three boards are used to form a chute from the brood box up to the ladder chute. You can see I've used screws to hold down the ladder chute if I need to clean or change out the container
 

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I have at least a dozen of these feeders and the only issue I have found is that it helps to caulk the edges of the screen so bees can't sneak into the area where the sugar solution is. I like these feeders because they hold a lot and I lose no bees to drowning. You can refill them without being exposed to the bees. If you are having drowning issues make sure that what is covering the feeder seals properly and caulk the screen. This will take care of any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Santa Caras,

I like this design a lot, it does seem to address every problem I'm having.

Question, do you basically make mesh in an inverted U and the bees climb up from the box on one leg over the short side at the top and down into the feeder along the other leg?


DPBsbees,

I liked this one too for all the reasons you mentioned and I also figured that the only way they could possibly get in was to get through the screen some how. I'll check about caulking when I get home. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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the only issue I have found is that it helps to caulk the edges of the screen so bees can't sneak into the area where the sugar solution is
We had the same experience. First time we used them, lots of drowning. I ran a bead of silicone around the edge of the screen everywhere, now there are no bees getting thru and drowning. It's a simple fix. I like these because if I need to put syrup on to get a colony up to winter weight, I can do it all in one go, it'll hold multiple gallons of 2:1.

The other issue I had, a couple of the hives built burr comb on the bottom of the plastic insert. I scraped it with a hive tool, didn't realize I had poked a hole in the plastic. Careful if you scrape the bottom, because it's not pretty when you pour a gallon of syrup in, only to realize there is a half inch hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Grozzie2,

You know I almost did that with this feeder (it was given to me with the split). I didn't realize the plastic was as pliable as it is and got ... enthusiastic.. while cleaning out comb. Fortunately I managed not to damage it.

Sounds like I need to seal the edges of the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I Went out this evening and closed up all extra entrances to the feeder, and any possible entrances. Hopefully that will resolve the problem.

Thanks all.
 

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I have been using a setup similar to yours Mr.Beeman..... Just set up with a Quart jar on my inner cover..... Still too cold where I am for them to make much of it so I still have a sugar block (Laurie's Recipe) for them.... They are still taking that pretty aggressively to supplement what they are foraging on warm days.....;- )
 

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Santa Caras,

I like this design a lot, it does seem to address every problem I'm having.

Question, do you basically make mesh in an inverted U and the bees climb up from the box on one leg over the short side at the top and down into the feeder along the other leg?
Take a box..could be for either 5 frame/8/10 with a bottom usng say 1/4 plywood. The bottom is 1/4 up FROM the very botttom edge so you dont accidentally crush bees (queen) if crawling across the top of the frames when you place it on. One end in the bottom has a 3/4" x5" hole slot cut into it. That gives the bees from the brood box access up. qty of 3- 3/4" boards that you cut out form the chute going up. The ladder chute goes like this: 2 "L" shaped legs using 3/4"x1/2" stock...one peice about 5" long..thats the top part and the actual leg is about 8" long but all that is not firm...whatever dimensions works for you. A milk jug is about 6" wide so thats why the whole frame work and the bottom hole slot are 5" approx. The 8" down leg has a 10degree cut on the end just to give it an angle other than 90 degrees so the ladder is at a slant for the bees to climb. Ya need 1/4 plywood...2 small pcs. The top is 5" wide and is placed 3/4" BEYOND the end that would go against the box wall and going all to the end where the down leg starts. UNDERNEATH that is a 2nd peice that is 3/4" FROM the end. This allows for mating the boards for the chute going up. I use beeswax from comb to fill up any cracks or holes where they may be able to get out and into the sugar area and prevents them from drowming. Once you build one it all comes togather and you can see how it works. Then I just use #6 mesh and winding it around the legs. stapling as I go along, and using the 2 small pcs of plywood for stabiltiy. There are youtube videos showing how. Just search FATBEEMAN how to build nodrip feeder for verbal instructions. I just adapted his design to hold a gal for larger quantities. Any questions...let me know. I'm a beginner....know next to nothing other than what I read and listen to others but will try to help where I can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just an update... it turns out the issue seemed to be with a slightly warped inner cover not the feeder itself. It looks like the inner cover was warped just enough for them to crawl through to the top of the feeder. I sealed the gap with duct tape haven't had any issues since.
 

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I have a similar feeder as you - top hive feeder with a center divide from the brood chamber. I am sick of it. I just installed the package about 1.5 weeks ago, and I have had to remove about 10 sq. inches of comb from it so far. Comb that was not going to use in the brood chamber where I need them to build.

1) There is no meshed screen, so the bees keep moving into the feeder and building comb there to store the syrup.
2) I have floats, but the bees still manage to get trapped in the syrup and drown.
3) The center divide that allows bees to come in from the hive is too wide that they think it should have burr comb inside that slot.

I am about to toss it and go a simple inverted jar/pail on the inner cover method for the short term.
 

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>Here's the type of feeder I'm using.

That type has screened access and the bees should not be able to get into the feeder at large. If they do, there is something wrong, either you have a notched inner cover that is letting them in the top, or the wire is not right and is letting them under the wire...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
>Here's the type of feeder I'm using.

you have a notched inner cover that is letting them in the top
That's exactly what happened. Sealed it tight and it's all good now. Going to have to make some more syrup soon they've gone through all I had on hand 1+ gal :)
 

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I've just been given my first hive. It is a queenless split (2 frames each of egg, brood, and nectar/pollen/honey and a good complement of nurse bees) from a friend. It was suggested that I feed them for a while at least until they get established.

I'm feeding them with a feeder that is sitting on top of the deep the bees are in. I went out today (4 days after the split) and found a good number of bees drowning or dead in the feeder and a fist size cluster on the ridge in the feeder. I know that some drowning is normal with most types of feeding, but I'm concerned since there's no way for the hive to replace the lost foragers.

My question is this, what, if anything, should I do about the drowning bees?

Thanks all.


Here's the type of feeder I'm using.

View attachment 10109
I have these feeders. If you put a bead of silicone along the edge then the drowned bee count drops to near zero. I think when lots crowd in they push the screen out and some get under. With the silicone bead this doesn't happen. Watch bees are not flying under your lid when check/top up your feeder...bees that are in can't get out. Also make certain your top is not warped...if so they will into the syrup portion of the feeder.
These feeders work well for me.
 

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I have these feeders. If you put a bead of silicone along the edge then the drowned bee count drops to near zero. I think when lots crowd in they push the screen out and some get under. With the silicone bead this doesn't happen. Watch bees are not flying under your lid when check/top up your feeder...bees that are in can't get out. Also make certain your top is not warped...if so they will into the syrup portion of the feeder.
These feeders work well for me.
I have the same feeder. Where exactly are you suggesting to run a bead of silicon? I think I may have a problem with bees getting in underneath the inner/telescoping cover as I see a herd of bees congregating there on one of my hives. I will do a full hive inspection tomorrow afternoon and see what's going on. Hoping not to find a half gallon of drowned or dead/trapped bees in there. I may have a 'notch' in my inner cover and not even have realized it - I wasn't aware there was such a thing...
 
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