Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went and made a bunch of barrel floats to help end bee drowning in my feeder barrels. Didn't work as planned. I am going to switch back to straw.

Before I do, any other suggestions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,488 Posts
Wood chips work well. We also used to use those packing peanuts till they started making them so they dissolve in liquids. :doh:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,683 Posts
We used just straw but found the straw sinks somewhat when it takes on the syrup. So we went to the bush that is around the bee yards and pulled out some dead sticks....to lazy to go home and get some scrap lumber and forget to pack some in the box before we leave...lol We break those to size and then place in the barrel before the straw so the straw floats.

When we use carpet for the water barrels, we had some scrap lumber that would go under the carpet. The carpet works well for a while, then gets alge'd abit and needs to dry out or get changed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
Plastic soda bottles(gatorade bottles would have a better surface) partially filled with water and capped tightly. Enough water in them so they will not sit above the syrup but not to much so they will sink. Styrofoam cut to the diameter of the drum might work with screened openings(attached to the bottom of the styrofoam), but I think that would get stuck to the side of the drum. Innertube inflated almost to the diameter of the drum with screen attached to the bottom(there could be issues with this also).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
617 Posts
Ian what did you make your floats out of?

I went away from barrels and now use only rubbermaid totes. The 117 L size (I think) with the higher lids. One of the reasons I went to the totes was to increase the feeding surface area. In each tote I have a "ladder" float made from rough lumber. I usually make four rungs on the ladder. The ladder is made out 1 by 2 and it is laid flat on the bottom of the tote. On top of the ladder I sprinkle a two to three inch layer of straw.

In fall I expect to find some dead bees in the totes after feeding but in spring I usually have zero dead bees. Right now my bees are in a holding yard at home. I have twelve totes out for about 600 hives. I've done 4 rounds of 400 L of 1:1 syrup (not bad for a week and half eh?) and no dead bees.

Another added benefit is that the lid give great rain protection. On each side of the lid there are 7 two inch holes. Then the lid gets tarp strapped down and wind and rain aren`t a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
The corugated plastic board that is used for political election yard signs works really well. It floats and won't ever get saturated. I'm sure you can score some free after the next election.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,261 Posts
we bulk feed in 5gal buckets, made floats out of plywood with 3/4inch holes drilled in them w/window screen around the edges as a skirt. 4 buckets to a pallet in each yard. Much let time consuming than filling 100 feeder buckets several times a week. If there is no flow on we use 2 of the plywood floats per bucket cause the bees really pile up on the float and sink the single.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,866 Posts
I tried the 5-gallon feeder with 2-gallon lids (which float). Yes, lots of bees sink these lids so I added a plywood ring under the 2-gallon lid.

My problem was possums. Some how they would pull the buckets over.

I wasn't thrilled with the robbing-like behavior. I've gone back to 2-gallon buckets in each hive, feeding over the inner cover.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
617 Posts
What kind of gain do you get with bulk feeding vs hive feeders? I have thought about doing it many times with totes to save trips to the yards. I would think spring buildup would work better then fall weight gain?
Spring is actually trickier than fall. Large hives can plug easily while the small ones don't get enough.

In fall hives can easily take in an average of gallon a day per hive using bulk feeding. Weight gain is no slower using totes. Once the bees know where the feed is, they will feed in temperatures as low as 6 or 7 C on a sunny day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
676 Posts
I turned to styrofoam packing peanuts this year. (Test a handful and make sure they aren't the corn starch ones, first.) The only problem is once the feeders are empty, a strong wind can take and blow them out across the field. Another problems is if you leave the peanuts in an empty feeder, the bees will sometimes chew up the styrofoam into "dust", which can make a mess. Especially when it covers a "negatively charged" honey bee!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,340 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
>>Ian what did you make your floats out of?

Styrofoam, cut with screen inside.
didnt work as planned. they glued it to the sides, and made their way under the float.

I cut the screen to fit the barrel better, but still had dead bees.


Straw worked way better.

Going to try straw again,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
A pallet with a 4' x 4' sheet of plywood nailed/screwed to the pallet. Put some weight on top of the plywood to hold it all down or strap it to the bottom of the barrel.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top