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:scratch:I use mason jars and jam jars with metal lids to feed syrup on my indoor Observation Hives and have yet to come up with an ideal hole size and pattern. So far the best model Ive tried is one ¼” hole. My ObHs are 4 & six deep frames.
Suggestions?
Mark
bonterra bees
 

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They prefer the pattern shaped like a flower:)(joke). The number of holes and size depends if you want them to take the syrup fast or if you want to trickle feed them. The more holes you have the more bees that can feed at one time. 1/8" holes are plenty big and I used smaller holes.
 

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Most all of the bee supply companys have jar lids that will fit any mason, canning jar or they also have plastic quart jars. I find my bees like the hole pattern that put in them. I get mine from kelleybees.com.
 

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If you are using the jar as a top hive feeder I would recommend no more than 3 or 4 holes. The reason for this is that the change in air pressure from the weather can make the jar feeder leak down onto the bees and will chill them. This time of year I would recommend a fondant candy and place it directly over the brood. we use the rule of thumb that if it is 40F and rising we feed them a 2 to 1 liquid, but if it is 40F and dropping, we will use the fondant candy. We use a frame nail to make the holes in the lid. Hope this helps.
 

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Mark, Here is another variation.

I use a clean one gallon paint can with a compression lid inverted over the hole in the inner cover and supported on three 3/8 inch wooden blocks as legs. I punch multiple (15-20) tiny holes through the lid from the inside to the outside of the lid. I use a frame nail as noted above, and hold it in a pair of plires with the lid on a block of wood and give the head a slight tap. The hole is made only by the nail point and is not as large as the shank of the nail. The resulting burr on the outside of the hole provides a handle for the bees to hold on to. Theoretically barometric pressure change will force the liquid out of the holes but this has never dround or frozen the bees for me. So far I have fed three gallons of 2:1 syrup by this method this Fall.

Just a different technique. Hope the idea is helpful.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey bee gang
Thanks for your input on hole patterns. These ObHs are in the den and living room see; http://s918.photobucket.com/albums/ad21/bonterrabees/?action=view&current=ObHpromo.flv
These are prototype for our production models. I’m just trying to zero in on the best hole pattern. Using a ¼” hole- once the jar with 2 : 1 syrup is turned over a vacuum develops and there’s no flow until bees start feeding- sucking the syrup out. This works pretty good (I’d not thought of the barometric pressure effects though, thanks). The jar sits on a screen so no girls escape when changing bottles. The screen also spreads the flow but if the girls are not very veracious, having plenty of stores, the syrup will solidify and stop the flow. I’m testing a tiny hole pattern as suggested, now. With a design change; in the production models the jar sits in a well on the top of the hive body that offers a big enough hole to feed pollen or cake- and to drop in a queen cage if needed.
I do think the smaller holes will do better.
Thanks
Mark
bonterra bees
PS; glad to see so many you trying to help the new beekeeper on "2 days worth of dead bees" beekeepers are the best :applause:
 

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If you are using the jar as a top hive feeder I would recommend no more than 3 or 4 holes. The reason for this is that the change in air pressure from the weather can make the jar feeder leak down onto the bees and will chill them. This time of year I would recommend a fondant candy and place it directly over the brood. we use the rule of thumb that if it is 40F and rising we feed them a 2 to 1 liquid, but if it is 40F and dropping, we will use the fondant candy. We use a frame nail to make the holes in the lid. Hope this helps.
Wish I read this sooner. I killed a hive top feeding thru winter with 10 holes in my lids. Never realized they were leaking until too late
 

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I do not know about changing temps and barometric pressure making feeders leak. It changes every day, all day in Florida. Leaking lids do not hold a vacuum but I guess that would be operator error and we have to blame it on something else.
 

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I seldom use a top feeder. When I do, I keep the holes to 10 or less, as to size, about that of a thumb tack, which is nice because one of those thumb tacks with a shaped head comes in handy for cleaning plugged holes.
Just my 2 cents.
 

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I use a mason jar. I use new lids to get a good seal. I punch 5 small holes in the lid with a nail. The holes only need to be large enough for the bee's tongue. It is important to put the lid on tight so the syrup doesn't just run out. There will be a vacuum in the bottle after a little syrup has been removed. This is what keeps it from just running out. You want the bees to remove the syrup, not have it just run out.
 

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If I make them (most of the time I buy em) I just take a SMALL 3/4in frame nail in a pair of pliers and poke 5 holes...that is in a quart jar or a paint pail...they can take the pail down in a day if they want it.
mike
 

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If I make them (most of the time I buy em) I just take a SMALL 3/4in frame nail in a pair of pliers and poke 5 holes...that is in a quart jar or a paint pail...they can take the pail down in a day if they want it.
mike
That's exactly how I punch 5 holes in a mason jar top.

Brent
 

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I also never put my mason jars directly over the hole - I put two 10 inch by 1/3 inch pieces of wood along side the hole, and put one jar on each side of the hole. The bees come up and take the syrup in the gap made by the pieces of wood.

One time last year I had a jar leak, and it just pooled on the top of the inner cover. If the jar were over the hole, it would have hurt some bees...

-- Steven
 
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