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Discussion Starter #1
I have two hives with identical hive top feeders. In one hive the bees drank the feeder dry and there was only one dead bee in the feeder. In the other feeder there looked to be many dead bees (I just took a quick peek under the cover to check syrup level).

It's the second visit in a row that I've observed this situation. On my last hive check I was concerned so I emptied the old syrup, cleaned the feeder and refilled it with fresh syrup. The feeders have floats the bees stand on while feeding and I confirmed that the floats were indeed floating.

So why the dead bees? I haven't noticed any unusual activity around the hives but the possibilities seem very limited. The only thing I can figure is that I forgot to block the upper entrance and a robbing situation occurred. But twice in a row? It seems unlikely to me because that is what I wondered the first time I observed the dead bees. Any other ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
On Friday I did an inspection of the hive and found hundreds of dead bees in the feeder. I cleaned it out completely and replaced the syrup. I put screening over the top of the feeder so that the bees could only enter from the hive below (and so that I could check it without smoking the hive). I added a small amount of syrup, barely enough to raise the floats.

This morning I checked the feeder and found more dead bees -- maybe only 20 or 30 but that's 20 or 30 too many as far as I'm concerned. Again, I've seen no activity at the hive entrance to suggest a robbing situation.

So I pulled the hive top feeder and replaced it with an entrance feeder. I'll watch it for a few days and see how things go.
 

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i had dead bees in my top feeder, not sure if they caught the wave when filling or slipped down and drowned that way, hasnt happened since though,

did read post on here about roughing up the surface a bit so it is no so slippy
 

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I've tried a couple of different top feeders and haven't found one yet that keeps the bees from drowning. Now I'm using an upturned bucket (2 qts) and haven't had any problems. Best of all, I got them for free from our local grocery store deli.

Container is clear so I can see the syrup level, and because it's inside an extra deep, little to no light to encourage mold growth. Easy to reach in & grab the bucket to refill.
 

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throw that feeder out. I use gallon ziplock bags now and not one dead bee. put an extra super on top put the zip bag on top of the frames and cut a 2 to 4 inch slit in the bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
throw that feeder out. I use gallon ziplock bags now and not one dead bee. put an extra super on top put the zip bag on top of the frames and cut a 2 to 4 inch slit in the bag.
I'm thinking I may go to bags. I was looking for a 2 or 3 inch extender to use with the bags. I've got extra mediums. No problem giving the bees too much extra space?
 

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I like my hive top but if you are going to go to a bag, couldn't you just put it in your dry hive top feeder?
 

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No problem giving the bees too much extra space?[/QUOTE]

I use mediums also. I think its fine. I noticed sents I started feeding this way they are going through more sugar water even compared to a broadman feeder. I think they like it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, today, after seeing all the bees around and under the boardman feeder and down the side of the hive stand, I decided it must be leaking syrup or at least leaking the smell of honey-b-healthy so I pulled it. I put the hive top feeder back on with a half filled gallon baggie in one of the chambers. We'll see how that works.
 

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No problem using a med super. I have my hive bodies then my inner cover then I put a med super on the inner cover. I put the bag inside the super on the inner cover leaving room for them to enter through the hole in the center of the inner cover. Then I put my telescoping cover over the honey super and they still have the top of the hive but a protected feeder as well.

I have not lost a bee yet with this.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I put the bag inside the super on the inner cover leaving room for them to enter through the hole in the center of the inner cover. Then I put my telescoping cover over the honey super and they still have the top of the hive but a protected feeder as well.
Do you plug the vent hole in the inner cover to block an upper entrance to the feeder or do you leave it open?
 

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Do you plug the vent hole in the inner cover to block an upper entrance to the feeder or do you leave it open?
I only have a bottom entrance. The vent is the hole in the center of the inner cover. I leave that open so they can enter the honey super to get to the bag.
 

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I've run through the same problem with the hive top feeder with floats. Side by side hives withsimilar numbers of bees, one doing fine the other hive has LOTS of dead bees. Clean refill and its fine, suddenly there will be another mass drowning, and no explaination.

I've switched to 2 gallon pails in those two hives, bought them in the paint department at lowes, drilled 1/16 inch holes in a pattern around the center and flipped them over the center hole of the inner cover, add an empty deep and the top and ... no dead bees. I am swithing to that for the other 3 hives tomorrow.

Benifits of the buckets
Easy to fill
Easy to handle
I can mix right in the pail
Easy to transport
Covered top keeps the sun off the pail

Being a new bee keeper my learning curve is pretty much straight up, but this feeder situation has been frustrating! I want to build the colony size for the fall and overwinter, not dwindle over feed issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I tried the baggie in a chamber of the hive top feeder. Checked it today and lots of dead bees. Not a good plan. I have the hive tipped forward and apparently as the bees fed, the syrup began to run down toward the front of the feeder and pooled there. I'm beginning to feel like a bee drowner rather than a beekeeper.

I pulled the hive top feeders from both the hives. I am done with those feeders. They worked great for a month or so but now they seem like a deathtrap.

For the short term, I have taken 2 different approaches in the 2 hives. In one, I placed a baggie on the frames with a medium over it, then the inner cover and telescoping cover. In the other, I placed 2 Boardman entrance feeders on the frames and put a medium over it then the inner cover and telescoping cover.

I figure that having the feeders right on the frames and with screened bottom boards that there is no place for pooling (except in the case of the baggie which could become a pool in and of itself.) I will replace the baggie with a couple more entrance feeders and use them inside on the frames in both hives.

I'm thinking that using the entrance feeders exposes the entire lid of each jar to the bees to maximize access to the feed. We'll see how it goes.
 
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