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It is amazing how easily bees will drown themselves in syrup. My first design was pretty deadly, so had another go.

This is the box with a space on either side for reservoirs -- the bees enter in the center section from beneath. It's about 3" deep and you could use almost anything for reservoirs -- these blue trays are from the local dollar store. The two of them will hold almost 1.5 US gals. Aluminum trays would work fine, too. Earlier in the spring, I had a piece of pollen patty in the center section, until they quit taking it.



Next are the enclosed ramps and top screen. It is all one piece and just pops into place with no fasteners. It's easy and quick to remove for cleaning. It's all made out of 3/8" lathe, 1/8" hardware cloth, and staples. All the wood was eventually painted inside and out, to resist moisture.



Here's a closeup of the end of one of the ramps. The bees are enclosed and can't get into the reservoir. I've been using this for a month, and haven't found a single bee drowned in the enclosed ramps.



Here's the box with the screen installed. The inner cover holds it in place.



I've probably got two or three hours in it. But it works, and should last for years.
 

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Van - Now I am mad. Just finished making a modified miller two days ago and then I see this idea.

Really neat idea, very innovative, and think it will work really well. I may copy this.
 

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Another way is to use plastic canvas cut to fit perfectly inside the feeder so bees can't get under it into the syrup. Cheap, floats, and easy to work with...
Will it start sinking if too many bee get on it. I made a float that did the same.
 

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Hard to beat a miller feeder! Easy to build if you have old deep boxes to cut into three of them. www. dave-cushman.net/bee/newhome.html has great drawings. You will have to figure out demensions as the measurements provided are for british national boxes and in cubits or something.

One of my friends just bought six feeders from a major supplier and used them just as directed and they dumped syrup and mostly drowned six colonies. Please be careful.
 

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Beautiful work there, VanIslander. Can you post some photos of it in action?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I took some video of this feeder on a hive. It's about 25 seconds long, here.

It was 70 degrees when this was taken, so a lot of the bees are out of the hive -- there are not so many in the entry section in the middle. When I take the top off in cool weather, there are hundreds of bees in there, working the syrup.

It had been in place for about ten days -- not a single dead bee (a few dead ants, though...).
 

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VanIslander,
I have a few questions on your design.
Do the "wings" reach all of the way to the bottom of the containers? What kind of containers are they? Also, how does the bottom of the screen meet the bees entrance?
I tried a similar design but where the screen component met the bees entrance, bees were still able to enter the top of the feeder.
I hope the questions make some sense. Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
VanIslander,
I have a few questions on your design.
Do the "wings" reach all of the way to the bottom of the containers? What kind of containers are they? Also, how does the bottom of the screen meet the bees entrance?
I tried a similar design but where the screen component met the bees entrance, bees were still able to enter the top of the feeder.
I hope the questions make some sense. Thanks for the info.
Eric, Here's a cross-section of the feeder. The red line is where the hardware cloth goes.



The wings do touch the bottom of the reservoirs on either side. I removed the feeder about a week ago, and the girls had drained the 1:1 syrup right to the bottom -- there wasn't a tablespoon left in either side. The reservoirs are just some cheap plastic things that I bought at a dollar store -- anything would work -- aluminum baking-ware, etc.

I wanted the screened piece to simply sit in place with no fasteners, so it can be quickly lifted out for cleaning the reservoirs. I find it's getting pretty thick and gummy in them, after a couple of refills. When I do that, I have a piece of plywood the same size as the center section, and simply set it there after the screen is removed. This keeps the girls out of my face if I'm not wearing a veil. After cleaning and refilling, the screen section is set back in position. The inner cover holds it snugly in place.

The photos in the OP above show the strips of 3/8" wood to which the hardware cloth is stapled. It takes a few minutes of careful bending and adjusting of the hardware cloth in the shop, to ensure there are no gaps that they can get through, at the entrance to the wings.

I hope this helps. Let me know if it doesn't make sense....
 

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Awesome! Thanks so much!
One other question. In the bee entrance, there is a piece of wood with 5 large holes through which the bees enter. Why is that plate necessary? Is that to keep them from building comb in the feeder?
Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Awesome! Thanks so much!
One other question. In the bee entrance, there is a piece of wood with 5 large holes through which the bees enter. Why is that plate necessary? Is that to keep them from building comb in the feeder?
Thanks again!
I built the initial box, to the footprint dimensions of the supers, and insalled a 3/8" plywood bottom. Then drilled the bees' access holes at the drill press with a forstner bit. Didn't even think about comb in the entry -- there hasn't been any so far. If I had to make more of these feeders, I would probably make the entry way in the middle a lot narrower, so I could use larger reservoirs on either side. My initial thinking with the larger entry was that I could put sugar blocks and patties in there. But back in March, had more luck with laying flat sugar cakes (Lauri's recipe...) right on top of the frames, so the larger cavity isn't necessary...

But by gawd, they are sure bee friendly. The only bees I've had drown are ones that flew into the reservoirs when I had the covers off.
 

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a bit of shade cloth fixed one end to the top and long enough to reach the far end bottom of the feeder . bees don't drown even if you drop them in the solution they will buzz aroung until they touch the shade cloth. bees can climb up it wet or dry .
 

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Nice saw. Nice design too. That's about all I can say other than I built several myself when I started. Now they are in a pile because I hate using top feeders, buckets, boardman feeders or you name it. It is all such a huge hassle. Spills occur, ants find it as do yellow jackets and the bees don't take it during a decent flow IMO. I'm surprised you need any type of feeder this time of year unless you have new colonies. In IL there should be buckets of honey being stored right now no?
Anyway when I feed mine I use a frame filler I made and 2:1 thick syrup goes into the hives. I also open feed a lot in the fall which is another can not to be opened.
I'm not urinating in your breakfast cereal-just my two pennies. Fly that new beekeeper flag as long as you can but be careful because they will break your spirit and make you wonder why you went to all the trouble for them.
Good luck.
 

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Yep brand new hives I was told to feed them for at least a week or 2 bees are getting picked up on Saturday and goin in.
Absolutely feed packages. On new equipment you will likely be giving them syrup throughout the summer if they take it. Watch for mold and fermentation if there is a flow on and/or the bees stop taking the syrup.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Made 2 of your feeders yesterday took about 3 hours Son is new into beekeeping. Also made a hive stand
Hey Ragtop, Those look great. Have you 'christened' them yet? I put mine back on a week ago, with just water in the reservoirs. There isn't a natural water supply around here, and this seemed a good way to give them a convenient source without a lot of other critters/bugs in it. They're using about an inch a week of water (less evaporation, of course...).
 
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