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I've been reading on this site for while and have learned a whole lot so far. I am buying my first set of supplies for two hives and have not decided on a feeder. Is there a good quality one you would recommend?
 

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I've tried everything.
Most are terrible, some less so.

I now use nothing but the "BeeMax" polystyrene
5-gallon hive top feeders. Love 'em.

Both Dadant and Betterbee carry them, and
several other catalogs may also carry them.

BeeMax feeders are so nice, I threw away
everything else I had, replacing them all.
 

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That's why they're there peggjam. The key is the ring of hardware cloth, pressed down into the trough. It gives the bees something to crawl on and haul themselves out on if they get into the syrup. I had very few drowned bees.
 

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Local feed stores should have them, as they are poultry waters. You can also goggle FarmTek, I think they have them on their website.
 

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The ONLY problem I've had with the chicken drinkers (like that name) is wanting to fill them when they're not quite empty. They're covered with bees and they don't want to get off.

I've found the easiest way to do it is to take the feeder out and set it on the ground in front of the hive. Within a few minues, most of the bees have gone back in the hive. The few remaining bees can be vanished with smoke.
 

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I use the poultry water dispensers as "nectar
stations" on driven metal fence posts when
demonstrating bee-lining at beekeeper meetings,
and the biggest single problem, one that may make
them a much less-than optimal choice for feeding
a hive, is that they need to be very "level", or
they will start to drain. Atop a hive, they
will drain onto the colony.

Sure you can pick them up for $4, but you
also need something to put over them, maybe a
pair of medium supers. If those supers are
less-than perfect, you get ants, wasps, and
everything else dropping in for a meal.

Even with the mesh, you still get more drowned
bees than you'd get with a decent hive-top feeder,
which are indifferent to non-level installations.

The poultry feeders also simply lack capacity.
Feeding bees one gallon at a time is a joke.

> Dulcius ex asperis
So "sweetness comes after difficulties"?
Maybe if you stopped being such a cheapskate,
and invested in some decent feeders, you wouldn't
have so many "difficulties"!


Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!
 

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<So "sweetness comes after difficulties"?
Maybe if you stopped being such a cheapskate,
and invested in some decent feeders, you wouldn't
have so many "difficulties"!>

Jim Fischer, that was rude: George, you have been relieved of the honor of being the most rude and intolerable person on Beesource; that distiction now belongs to Jim :D :D :D .

Personally, I have had really bad luck with hive top feeders. They are horrible, and without alot of modification are about unuseable. It would be easier for me to level a chicken drinker, than modifiy a hive top feeder. Besides, Jim, if you didn't rob all of your poor bees honey, you wouldn't need to feed them more than a gallon at a time :D :D :D .
 

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>Even with the mesh, you still get more drowned
bees

This has not been my experience.

>Feeding bees one gallon at a time is a joke.

So laugh! It worked for me. Why feed 5 gallons to a hive if they only need 20 pounds of feed? My whole goal is to NOT feed my bees and a few quarts of stimulative 1:1 can go a long ways. Also, I don't really mind the work. At least I didn't last fall. The bees took syrup at about the same rate I was comfortable mixing it up and hauling it to the apiary in 5 gallon pails. That said, I did manage to disappear 800 pounds of sugar..

Compared to the typical inverted-jar feeders, of which I've tried quite a few, these are superior. I've never had trouble with them leaking. I have on the other hand dumped a few gallons into a few hives using inverted containers.

But I suspect you're not talking about used pickle jars from the local deli..

>So "sweetness comes after difficulties"?
Maybe if you stopped being such a cheapskate,
and invested in some decent feeders, you wouldn't
have so many "difficulties"!

Dulcius ex asperis is the motto of the Fergusson Clan, of which I am a proud member. My highland ancestors would run you through for your disrespect! I however, do not take myself so seriously!

As for being cheap, I will not mention what I invested last year to gear-up from scratch and bring 26 hives on-line my first season, but if you know as much about beekeeping as you seem to know, you should have a pretty good idea at what that figure is. Hah! Cheap in deed!

As for decent feeders, my best one is a miller feeder I built. I built another one for a 5 frame nuc. The 3 hive top feeders I bought from Mann Lake are crap for a variety of reasons I won't go into. Needless to say, I won't be buying any more of them.

As for hive top feeders in general, I won't be building (or buying) many more. They're fine, if correctly designed, but impractical if you've got more than dozen or so hives, IMHO.

So what do you think I should spend the money I haven't got on for feeders?

>Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

I don't know latin, but anything said in latin sounds profound


[ January 24, 2006, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: George Fergusson ]
 

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I have hive top feeders (Rossman) and while I don't have anything to compare it to since I haven't used other styles, I can't imagine switching to something else.

It's worked very well with the bees, and I've had very few drownings.


LaRae

[ January 24, 2006, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: LaRae ]
 

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I've only used inverted jars/ pails and recently division board feeders. I lOve the division board feeders over the jars/ pails. More bees get in for feeding, so feed is taken quicker. The ones I got from Kelley with the wire inserts haven't caused any drowning that I can tell. With these, I can get the bees to take quarts where before they were taking ounces.

Waya
 

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Everytime I have to lift a full hive top feeder off of a hive, that hasn't touched it lately because of the cold, I end up spilling a lot of syrup and cussing the hive top feeders. Everytime I get a warped cover on one I get a lot of drowned robber bees in them. Like all feeders, there are things I like about them and things I hate about them.

The frame feeders work reasonably well, but I don't like having to open the hive to fill them, and I always have to make floates or ladders or both to get them to work well, or buy the Brushy Mt. masonite ones.

I hate the boardmans, because they seem to draw robbers worse than the others (and they all seem to do that from time to time).

A jar on the inner cover usualy works well but sometimes the temperature changes cause it to leak all over the bees.

The Rapid feeders are easy to move without spilling them, don't drown bees, and don't drip on the bees. But they are expensive and they only hold a half gallon of syrup. (And Jim thinks a gallon is too small).


Frames of honey never seem to cause robbing and never spill on the bees.
That's my favorite way to feed.
 

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>>The frame feeders work reasonably well, but I don't like having to open the hive to fill them

I also use them and found out, when you have the feeder at the very outside, then all you need to do is slightly move the inner cover over,[one corner] very little, to expose the feeder just enough so you can poor in the syrup. This way, the bees hardly notice a re - fill. ;)
Konrad
 

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I'm leaning towards just using dry sugar on newspaper placed on the topbars. I did this a couple weeks ago on all the outside hives and they are cleaning it up nicely. Advantage, no spills, no mixing, absorbs extra moisture from the hive.
 
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