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As things are winding down we are already looking forward to next season. We are planning on splitting the current hive and starting two more from packages, so we'll need all the woodenware, etc. for three more hives. The experience of one season has taught us a bit about equipment and there is a couple of things we'd do differently. One thing is to possibly go without deeps and just use all mediums (thanks for that tip, MB). The other equipment change we'd make is to use a different hivetop feeder. We have the one from Mann Lake and it seems to be of poor design and construction. The plastic tub is flimsy and has twice been repaired. The access to the opening is far too wide and is always loaded with burr comb (why isn't that opening made narrower, to the dimension of a "bee space"?) Finally, most frustrating of all, the screen is so loose that the bees are always getting into the syrup, especially when it's running low. It's irritating to remove the telescoping cover to fill or check the feeder and find a raft of drowned bees floating in the syrup and even more crawling around where they don't belong.

Who makes the best hivetop feeder? What about the plans found at this site - does it make a good feeder?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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Hive top feeders I've had:

Brushy Mt. This one has no screen and only floats. I still see a lot of bees drown in any hive top feeder, it seems like. But it's not a bad design. Usually I add a #8 hardware cloth screen to only give them access to the edge of the syrup and block them flying ou the top so I can fill it without facing the bees. Kind of expensive, but not bad.

Bee Commerce. www.bee-commerce.com has hive top feeders that already block the bees flying out and limit access to the edge of it. They are expensive but nice feeders.

I don't use hive top feeders much. They are a pain when they are full and I want to get into the hive. They are a pain if the bees find a way in the top (warped lid, notched inner cover etc.) because a lot of bees drown then. The limited access ones are hard to clean out, but seem to drown a lot less bee and be easier to fill. They often hold so much that the syrup goes bad before it gets used. If I fill them with honey or HBH syrup the extra surface area giving off smell seems to attract more robbers. I like to feed honey when I can and I have better luck with a Brushy Mt. wooden/masonite frame feeder when I'm feeding honey. Or a Rapid feeder if I'm putting one on top.
http://www.beeworks.com/uspage5.asp

The rapid feeder gives me all the advantages of the hive top feeder and avoids a lot of the disadvantages. It only holds a half a gallon of syrup, but has less exposed area, the bees are contained so you can refill without suiting up if you want and I get minimal drowning (if I fill it slowly when bees are still in it).
 
J

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I love the styrofoam hive-top feeders.
the hold something like 4 gallons, so
the bees don't run out every day like
they do with the 1-gallon or smaller
types.

The only problem is "no handholds", so
they are tricky to remove when full.
But why "inspect" your bees if you have
already decided to feed them? I honestly
can't think of a reason to "inspect" so
soon after an inspection that resulted in
a decision to feed.

The plastic bucket "contact" feeders are
not bad, but they are made from brittle
plastic that shatters too easily.
 

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Hive Top Feeder:

1) Pemove Top and Inner Covers.
2) Place empty shallow super on top of hive.
3) Inside super, place a shallow pan (wife's favorite cake pan
), fill w/ sugar-water.
4) Replace IC and TC

BE SURE to use some kind of float in pan (prevents bees from drowning)

If you cover "shallow super top feeder" w/ a screen before replacing IC an TC, you can refill (through screen) without bees flying in your face! (I fill mine early AM)


------------------
Dave W . . .

Hobbyist - 1 Hive
First Package - Apr 03
Broodnest - 3 Deeps
Screened Bottom Board
Apistan - Aug 18, 03
Grease Patties - All year
2003/04 Winter Loss - 0%
See Forum1/HTML/001304, for ongoing mite counts.
 

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I made several holes in my inner cover with a hole saw just smaller than a mason jar. I later put #8 screen over these. I took a nail and punched small holes in new mason jar lids. 5 holes gives me space for filling 5 quarts at a time. I use all mediums and the quart jars fit on top of the inner cover under the outer cover well. I have yet to have to feed a hive that takes more than that in 2 days. The other thing I have used is 4 pound plastic lard bucket. They hold about 3 quarts. I have been making lye soap with lard and will soon have alot of these. I an going to make a screen with a cross bar to use these for feeding.
I do not see buying feeders when these work so well. I many change my mind when I get to a hundred hive.
 

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Hi there. I use pail feeders on my hives that I make myself. I buy one or two gallon buckets and drill four 3/32" (I think that's the size) in the top of the lid. I invert these on top of the inner cover and then surrond them with a deep hive body. I have used another type of pail feeder that has the plastic insert put have found for them to leak too much.
 
H

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I use the poly top feeder like the ones that MB has provided links. This feeder works great! I have a few bees that get drowned but not many at all and I can monitor and feed without suiting-up.

But I'm also very new to all this...just my 2 cents worth!
 
R

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i sort of do like dave w but i put a 21/2 gal bucket in a hive body on top my hive , put pine straw in it. then pour suger water in pail, the bees will crawl on pine straw all the way down and hardly loose any of them
 

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I bought a empty paint bucket at the hardware store and punched a bunch of small holes in the lid and put it over the hole in the inner cover, the only problem I can find with it is that if when you flip the can upside it spills out a litte bit, just like mason jars, but other than that it works fine, the lid is inset a little bit which alows the bees to get in there better and they take about a gollon every two days. and no leaks.

Joseph


[This message has been edited by Got Honey? (edited October 13, 2004).]
 
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