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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm building an inner cover with the intent of feeding from above with mason jars. I was planning to put about 4 holes evenly spaced to accommodate 4 jars or 1 gallon of syrup at a time if necessary. I have a lot of medium equipment and virtually no extra deep boxes. So, a quart mason jar looks like it will fit in a med box if I drill the holes so the mason jars will drop into the cover(2 7/8" hole saw bit it appears). Is this how most are feeding with mason jars or do they simply straddle a smaller hole in the cover inside a deep box?
 

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I prefer the drilled hole between 2-3/4" and 2-7/8" for old style Mason lids. On some inners I have window screen on the frame side so when I remove an empty no bees come at me. Its also nice to smoke em through the screen also when doing inspections, and no SHB go through either.
But I have both but just prefer the screen tacked on the frame side.
 

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I have fed soe with this method and also like the screen on the hive side of the cover. as for holes, i poked about a dozen or so using nothing more than a small hammer and a brad nail. it seemd to work just fine. i don't think there is a set number/size of hole. One note of caution, temperature changed can cause some syrup to drip out of the jar, so use cautionin the fall as cold weatehr approaches. Cold bees seem to be just fine, but cold wet bees can be trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I have been using a frame feeder from Mann lake but the dead bees bother me. I tried a plastic pail but it won't fit in a med. So Mason jars it is for now.
 

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I use #8 screen and strongly suggest it. You will be happy you did one day. Also, if using screen you may have to invert the mason jar lid so it will be close to the mesh screen. Screw lid on tight and it won't leak. I ran a 1" spacer between the hive and feeder board and the jars will fit either with a screen or without.

I put the screen on after I went to fill the jars and they did not appreciate me taking them out. I use three jars inside a medium.
 

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I just started this a week ago, so I haven't added screen over the hole. A quart mason jar does fit perfectly in a medium box; the box is tall enough. My inner cover came with an oblong whole in the center of the board and I turned my mason jars upside down on that whole, added an empty medium box, and then my inner cover. I haven't had enough of a problem with bees when I refill the jar. I just work in the early morning around 5 before they are really up and moving. I take new jars full of syrup with me, pull off the old ones, swap the lids, and put the new ones on. I love it. And no robbing! Use thick syrup to prevent it from leaking all over bees.
 

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#8 is 1/8" squares or 8 squares per inch. Mine stay on it even at night. When the get on it heavy there are so many they can get possessive really quick. I didn't have a problem till my hives were 6 weeks old. Then I had to go to screen or wear a suit. Made the decision when two got me in seconds after lifting the jar.
 

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#8 is 1/8" squares or 8 squares per inch. Mine stay on it even at night. When the get on it heavy there are so many they can get possessive really quick. I didn't have a problem till my hives were 6 weeks old. Then I had to go to screen or wear a suit. Made the decision when two got me in seconds after lifting the jar.
I have no doubt I'll want to add some screen, too! For now, the ladies are pretty chill. But as they grow and have more to defend they will up the intensity!
 

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My setup:

One extra hole between the escape hole and the un-notched end of the inner cover.

#8 mesh hardware cloth (bjorn, #8 is 1/8 inch...you are correct) stapled down over (not frame side) the holes. I like the screen on top so I can be sure the lid is against the screen and there's no gap between lid and screen. I haven't ran into a new quart jar that won't fit between the top and bottom edge of a medium super but I have ran into a few *old* jars that are about 1/4" too tall.

Inverting the lid in the ring so that the protruding area of the lid faces the screen shoudl put the holes in the lid against the screen where the bees can reach the syrup. OJ Blount showed me this a few years ago. Honestly, though, I don't believe I've ever had a problem with the bees getting syrup out of mason lids that are put in the standard way. Folks have reported having problems with the reveresed lid causing a link (the seal is reversed). To solve any possible problems you could pick up some one piece lids.

Bees will seal up #8 mesh, window screen, or whatever you use. I tried some window screen on a hive last year figuring it would stop shb...it did, especailly after the bees quickly sealed it. What is interesting is that they will open it back up if they want to (the #8, I don't know about the window screening as I never tried it again). I have seen syrup jars where the holes in the lids have been sealed with propolis...through the #8 screen. They will also glue the lid/jar to the screen.

Lots of people don't worry with the screen and see to do well without it. I like the screen. It's whatever works for you.

For me, a hobbyist, the mason jars work best. A tip with using mason jars. I find myself sometimes needing a single quart of 1:1 ...for a small colony that needs a lift or a swarm or something. The easy mix is to put three cups of sugar in a mason jar and fill it about 3/4 full with hot faucet water...shake, shake, shake it until you barely see any crystals swirling around. Finish filling it with hot water and shake it the best you can some more. It will look cloudy but let it sit and cool off for an hour or so and it will turn crystal clear. Another tip is to remember to put a solid lid on before you shake. :D
 

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>So, a quart mason jar looks like it will fit in a med box if I drill the holes so the mason jars will drop into the cover(2 7/8" hole saw bit it appears).

Glass ones, in my experience did not fit. Plastic "mason" jars did.

> Is this how most are feeding with mason jars or do they simply straddle a smaller hole in the cover inside a deep box?

I make my inner covers (when I used them) to take jars and put #8 hardware cloth on the bottom so I can change and fill the jars without suiting up at all. Most inner covers have an oblong hole made to take a Porter bee escape. People often set the jar on this hole. There are several problems though. One is that there is still a gap the bees can get through and if they can get to a cavity they may start building comb there. Another is that much of the lid is not available to the bees and indeed may wick out setting on the wood. I think you are on the right track.
 

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I made two sets: One set of four jar feeders for full sized hives, and one set of two jar feeders for Nucs. The four jar feeder holes are staggered to keep them compact. I start with a 1/2" plywood riser plate to create a chamber for the bees to stand above the inner cover. Then I add a layer of screen to keep them contained. The top layer is 3/4" (or 1") wood with the jar holes bored through. I chamfered the top edges of the holes so the jar lids sit tight to the screen. I reuse pasta sauce jars for the syrup, so they need a deep box to keep them enclosed. I'd guess mayonnaise jars would be shorter. Not all jars need to be filled, but if I'm trying to keep heat in the hive (which is most of the time during feeding season) I will leave a lid or empty jar with lid in the holes.
 

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Have you tried a "rapid feeder"? They work great...no dead bees, no leakage, no bees flying at you.
 

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>So, a quart mason jar looks like it will fit in a med box if I drill the holes so the mason jars will drop into the cover(2 7/8" hole saw bit it appears).

Glass ones, in my experience did not fit. Plastic "mason" jars did.
That is interesting, Mike, as I mentioned I've only ran into one older jar style that didn't fit between my inner covers and top covers when using a medium box for cover...seems like it was an old Ball jar maybe...we're talking 50-75? year old jars here (dug from beside an old log cabin). Current production jars that I use are Golden Harvest and Ball. My inner covers have a 1/4"(?) raised rim on them (pretty standard)...with the height of the raised rim and the height of a medium super the jars fit. Do your inner covers have a raised rim? This may be the difference if you don't include a rim in the ones that you make. The height difference of the old jars that did not fit for me was very small so I would think that the absence of the inner cover rim could very well keep newer jars from fitting, too. (I overlooked the rim height in my previous post.)

> Is this how most are feeding with mason jars or do they simply straddle a smaller hole in the cover inside a deep box?

I make my inner covers (when I used them) to take jars and put #8 hardware cloth on the bottom so I can change and fill the jars without suiting up at all. Most inner covers have an oblong hole made to take a Porter bee escape. People often set the jar on this hole. There are several problems though. One is that there is still a gap the bees can get through and if they can get to a cavity they may start building comb there. Another is that much of the lid is not available to the bees and indeed may wick out setting on the wood. I think you are on the right track.
A fix for using the oblong hole is simply to punch the holes in an oblong pattern. When using the escape hole I will punch an oblong pattern of holes in the lid. I then take a sharpie marker and make four marks on the side of the ring or solid lid denoting where the pattern is located. I simply set the lid down on the escape hole with the marks lined up with the edges of the escape hole and I know the holes are lined up correctly. I screen the escape hole so no issues of bees getting past the openings at each end of the escape hole. I staple the screen on the topside being as all the newer mason jars fit for me.

Ed
 

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Here are some good pics of that feeder. I like the way that looks, too. Will it work inside a nuc top? I mean, is it too wide to fit in a nuc?


http://www.beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2011/10/using-rapid-feeder.html
The lid makes it a just a fraction too wide for a nuc so I put it in a box without a lid. The other option is just placing it over a hole in the cover of the nuc as it has a lid. I like them for my nucs and for feeding small amounts. They will be too small for putting on gallons of feed in the fall unless you like topping up all the time.

I haven't been able to find a source that offers free shipping even with larger orders. Please let me know if you find a supplier that does so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The glass jars don't fit inside the medium... at least not the jars I have. We've been canning for years, so the jars I have are the jars I'll use. The 1/4" rim around my homemade cover is on the lower side and the opening in the rim is used as an upper entrance. I just picked up the 2 7/8 hole saw... with that hole, the top of the jar drops into the cover and the medium box will cover it. I'll see how it goes before putting screen in. I'm a newbie, so I always have my suit on anyway.
 
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