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I've been outside-feeding The Girls for weeks now (always a big hit with 'em), but cold weather's beginning here as of today. SO .... in 2:1 feeding them within the 3 hives I have, should I use a standard frame feeder, or would a baggie -- with slits in one side -- be a better way to go?

My hives, despite traps, Swiffer pads, etc, always have beetles, and I don't wanna make the situation any easier for the little monsters. When I use frame feeders, SHBs often make hotels out of them. Bees can't, then, get to the beetles to disrupt them. Disaster ensues. :eek:

Maybe I should buy the dish-like feeders that go atop frames? Keeping costs low-to-nonexistent is important to me, though. Also: can SHBs make use of that kind of feeder too?

Much obliged for any feedback on this .....

Mitch
 

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There are two ways to feed syrup in-hive that are effective. One is with jars or cans with small holes punched in the lid. Invert a jar/can over the frames onto two small sticks of wood and put an empty super with cover on top. The disadvantage of feeding this way is that temperature changes can cause the syrup to flood the bees.

The other way is with a container, usually a tray or pan that the bees can take up the feed from. These work best if floats or other means are used to keep the bees from drowning.

I've used the bag feeders that go over a frame and found them to be a waste of time. I've used the frame feeders which replace a frame and found that they don't really contain enough syrup to do much good. It is usually best to feed about a gallon of syrup at a time.

The other effective way to feed in winter is with dry sugar on a sheet of newspaper above the cluster. If the bees run out of honey they will feed on the sugar to keep themselves alive.
 

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i have several different types of feeders, none of which i am that impressed with. the easiest i have settled on are one gallon paint cans. go to your local hardware store or big box store and buy new empty paint cans with lids. use a small nail and poke about 15-20 small holes in a circle in the center of the lid. fill with syrup, put a couple 3/8 inch wood strips over your inner cover and set the can on the strips. put an empty deep on and then the telescoping cover. i have extra cans with un punched lids that i transport the syrup and just switch lids when i get to the hive.
 

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I’ve used baggie feeders with good luck. I currently use hive top feeders that also work.
You are pretty late in your winter prep, I’m thinking.
 

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In a 10 frame deep box I've been switching over to the 1 1/2 gallon cap and ladder feeders and really like them. The downside is you are limited to the feeder plus 8 frames. You can also get a 2 gallon size that still allows 8 frames but they are so tight its hard to gracefully pull that first frame out when doing an inspection.
BTW if you've been feeding outside "for weeks now" are you sure they need more feed?
 

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I also find frame feeders to be the most effective. No syrup leakage like inverted jars, no rain leakage like jars. No drowning robbers like top feeders. Easy to fill, and seem to stimulate the bees more effectively. If a hole with plug is above them, they can be filled and checked with the hive closed. A great nuc box is a two gallon feeder with six frames in an eight frame box. A three frame divide grows rapidly in that setup.
 

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Another vote for the paint cans. Cheap, effective and no beetle issues. Also good for storing left over syrup. I just put a piece of painters or duct tape over the holes and it stays fresh until next time (2:1 with vinegar does anyway) Make sure you get the ones with the liner, or plastic ones. They rust quickly in the hive environment. J
 

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Instead of giving up the frames to fit a frame feeder I'll put three double wide frame feeders in a super and put it on. They'll empty all three is as many days. I got two Ceracel hive top feeders, liked them so much I'm going to get me more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In a 10 frame deep box I've been switching over to the 1 1/2 gallon cap and ladder feeders and really like them. The downside is you are limited to the feeder plus 8 frames. You can also get a 2 gallon size that still allows 8 frames but they are so tight its hard to gracefully pull that first frame out when doing an inspection.
BTW if you've been feeding outside "for weeks now" are you sure they need more feed?
I have to guess they're still hungry (and/or needing supplies); whenever I put out a gallon+ of syrup, it's Katie-bar-the-door with the bees. The syrup's gone within a couple of hours. I'm assuming this means they still have a need for it?
 

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There are two ways to feed syrup in-hive that are effective. One is with jars or cans with small holes punched in the lid. Invert a jar/can over the frames onto two small sticks of wood and put an empty super with cover on top.
I've tried using the Boardman feeders in the past; the lousy SHBs can hide between the lid and jar, and it becomes an issue (I think). I'm thinking the unused paint cans would be a better way to go. At least, 'til I see if the beetles can hide in lid grooves, etc.
 

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I got two Ceracel hive top feeders, liked them so much I'm going to get me more.
I really like the Beemax hivetop feeder from Betterbee. Too bad they do not make one for nucs. Just bought 3 Ceracell nuc feeders that I will be trying out. Very nice.
 

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Bottom line, feeding any ratio of sugar water should only be done when necessary.
Ideally, your bees will bring in ample nectar and pollen so as to put your feeding services out of business. But the ideal does not always happen quite that well.

2:1 is generally a fall feed. Many are willing to argue that point. I'm not. Sugar tends to be provided thicker (1:1 tends to be more akin to nectar) so bees do not need to dry it down as much, ie. their efforts can be accomplished before the cold of winter shuts down their activity of removing the excess moisture content. (That is, in climates that do have cold winters, or also cold other parts of the year as well.)

Please understand: In cold outside air climates, ie. that get freezing and below, bees form tight clusters to share warmth. They are not at all like the lone yellow jacket queen that winters by itself. And once the cluster is formed and temps remain sub freezing, the only source of fuel they can reach is that directly above them. May be why they are so bent on storing that honey crown directly above the cluster prior to winter, hmmm. They can have gobs of capped honey right beside them and within only 1/2" of the edge of the cluster but they really can't go/reach safely beyond that mere 1/2" of where they are, when they are in tight clusters due to extreme (freezing) outside cold.

Sooo, since it is so critical in cold climates that sugar fuel be stored above the cluster, and the lack of additional liquid in a hive be kept out, it is advisable in cold weather climates to switch to a dry sugar form (like 12:1) that is placed directly over the top of where the cluster "will be" should they munch all the way up through their crown, reaching frame tops with no more above.
 

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Michael Palmer did a video on this a couple of months ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRkbSDqafG4
I tried this method with 4 cans 2:1 syrup and they took it down in 2 days. Added a lot of weight quickly. There was
no leakage either.
Mason jars work well like this also.Stop at the convenience stores and get the gallon pickle jars for free.Pickle jars out last the cans as they dont rust up as quick as the cans do.
 

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Mason jars work well like this also.Stop at the convenience stores and get the gallon pickle jars for free.Pickle jars out last the cans as they dont rust up as quick as the cans do.
Several of the one gallon pickle jars (at least in New England) are too tall and won't fit inside empty deep boxes.
 

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I love the baggies. I fed 3 of the 6 colonies last month. But this late and this cold, I have taken them out and put sugar blocks on all of them. Advantage of the baggies (gallon zip locs laid flat on the tops of the frames) is that they do not leak with fluctuating temperatures.
 
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