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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just looking for some advice as to what "most" folks do:

- Do you use an Inner Cover on top of your Hive Top Feeder? And if so, do you Screen the hole of the Inner Cover to keep out Flies, Ants, etc.

- Do you use Pollen Patties for New Package bees?

Thanks
 

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Good question. I've read that top feeders are to be used without a top cover. I have two hives side by side. In one no bees get into the syrup, but in the other they find their way under the telescoping top and drown themselves. Last time I put syrup in I put weatherstripping around the edges between the box and the top to discourage such incursion.
 

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I think your top will fit tighter without the inner cover thus helping to prevent bees from going under the cover and drowning in the feed. As to your second question, it would depend when you hived them, but usually making sure they have plenty of 1:1 is what is most important as there is plenty of pollen this time of year. The 1:1 does three things for them. Provides them with a close ready source of "nectar", stimulates the queen to lay and gives them plenty of feed to produce wax which they need to draw out comb.
 

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I have read that generally you do not use the inner cover when using a hive top feeder but I use a hive top feeder from Brushy Mountain and they instruct you to use the inner cover with it and to bring the telescoping cover tight against the ventilation hole to close the upper entrance to the feeder to prevent robbing.
 

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I've used the inner cover under the hive-top feeder, or no inner cover at all and I don't think it makes any difference. I personally wouldn't put an inner cover on top of the feeder so you don't have the drowning/robbing problems folks have already mentioned.

The only time I use an inner cover under the feeder is to create a small upper entrance for ventilation. But I normally want to keep new packages warmer in the Spring to lessen chilled brood when our evening temps can still drop into the 30s until late May, so I go without. If I feed in the Fall, I want the extra ventilation so I'll use them under the feeders.

I always use pollen patties with new package in Spring because we get days and days of cool, rainy weather that keeps the girls close to home. On nice days they are chewing on the patties and bringing in the pollen. A one pound patty lasts about a month and that's all I'll use.
 

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I like pail feeders inverted over an inner cover to feed new packages. The feed is taken slow and steady for a longer period of time and no bees drown. I also like to give half a pollen pattie to each package. I see a lot of people saying their packages abscounded or moved, you want to make their new home as attractive as possible. Spraying packages with sugar syrup before installing, using drawn comb, pollen patties and definately feeding all help.
 

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I feed with pails and jars too. Never had any drownings in my apiary! My feeder covers are a piece of plywood 20 by 16 1/4 with an inch diameter hole. Not very original in Florida, the University of Florida and most of the migratory beekeepers do it that way here. Jars are free and the pail is just a couple bucks.
 

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When I use a top feeder, I use the wooden one from Brushy Mountain and staple window screen over the top. I can pour SW through the screen without having the bees fly up to greet me. On top of the screened top feeder I put a shallow into which I have drilled four one inch holes that I also screen. These four holes allow a great deal of ventilation and the screen keeps out unwanted robbers. I only use an inner cover during the winter and I put the holed shallow over that too. Together with my open SBB, I have no build up of moisture over the winter. That is really a big problem in my area.
 

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Sorry, forgot about question #2; as for pollen patties, the bees have so much pollen available to them right now I'm not sure that they would take the patty. If it's a new package like you say, I might offer them half a patty and keep the other half in the freezer.
 

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When I use a top feeder, I use the wooden one from Brushy Mountain and staple window screen over the top. I can pour SW through the screen without having the bees fly up to greet me. On top of the screened top feeder I put a shallow into which I have drilled four one inch holes that I also screen. These four holes allow a great deal of ventilation and the screen keeps out unwanted robbers. I only use an inner cover during the winter and I put the holed shallow over that too. Together with my open SBB, I have no build up of moisture over the winter. That is really a big problem in my area.
This sounds ideal for me. I have the same feeders and also use screened bottom boards. I'm new to this and I didn't like that I had to smoke the bees to check the feeders. Do you pull the screens for cleaning when you remove the feeders or can you adequately clean them with the screens in place?
 

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When I remove the top feeders I remove the screen to clean them. If you're careful in pulling the staples, you can use the same piece of window screen several times. If not, window screening (and I use the cheep nylon stuff), is pretty inexpensive. Since the holed shallow sits on top of it, you don't need a whole lot of staples, 8-10 of the 1/4" size usually do the trick.
 
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