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One of the biggest things I learned this year is that if you are seeing large numbers of drowned bees in your in frame feeder suspect Nosema c.. In every instance this occurred this year, I sampled the hive and found a high Nosema c. load. If you want those hives to survive, you need to immediately stop using the frame feeders and instead use an alternative feeder to ensure bees do not drown and further spread the disease.
 

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One of the biggest things I learned this year is that if you are seeing large numbers of drowned bees in your in frame feeder suspect Nosema c.. In every instance this occurred this year, I sampled the hive and found a high Nosema c. load. If you want those hives to survive, you need to immediately stop using the frame feeders and instead use an alternative feeder to ensure bees do not drown and further spread the disease.
All you have to do - stuff that frame feeder with sticks/dry grass/whatever scaffolding (for the bees to climb on).
No need to "immediately stop using the frame feeders" (especially if you already have them).
:)
 

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Hello RL,

This always needs to be put in to consideration, more so in your warm region then in our colder area, but still many issues approach with domesticated, large scale livestock.

The general problem with bees drowning in feeders is the fact that the bees have nothing to hold on to and tumble into the syrup. Perhaps make lids for the feeders and insert a tube like the Pro Feeders from Mann Lake have. 2inch feeder-with-ladder.jpg I went further and drilled a 3/4" hole on the top to fill with a funnel and close with a electrician metal junction box plug. This way, only a few bees are in the sock and will float to the top where the other bees clean them off quickly.

What I learned: let the bees do and just help, don't hinder. I am a hobby beek, so ROI is not the most important, but I still like to get my honey, otherwise why do it. Will see what March/April brings for us and I hope for surviving hives to open late Feb., check, add patties and syrup and get the girls on their way.

JoergK.
 

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I lost a lot of dead bees this year using Mann Lakes top feeder. Seems bees were getting in under the top cover and feeder, but couldn't get out. Didn't have this problem 2 years ago.
 

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I donated my frame feeders to Metro's raffle years ago, let someone else modify. I had a netting system to let them get in and out, but I got deep feeders and getting INTO the bottom box to fill them was a royal pain. Now I feed on top, my custom feeder lids, or thin fondant I make, under the inner cover
 

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I lost a lot of dead bees this year using Mann Lakes top feeder. Seems bees were getting in under the top cover and feeder, but couldn't get out. Didn't have this problem 2 years ago.
The bottom of the screen sits in a very shallow trench in the plastic bottom. If you take clear silicone caulking and put a good fillet around the screen edges it helps prevent them escaping under the screen. When you load it up nearly full it puts a lot of weight on the plastic bottom and they can get distorted. Dont leave the out in the sun either. :rolleyes: I put a couple of pieces of wood down on top of the frames in the box they sit on, so the plastic bottom rests on them rather than hanging. Between the cauking and the supports, no more drowned bees.
 

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I find that drowned bees are mostly a result of poor feeder design and failure by the beek to take pre-emptive measures, see biermann and GregV's posts above. I am a believer in the Beemax feeder by Betterbee and the Ceracell feeders as their design keeps the bees out of the syrup. If any bees are drowning, then they are being removed by the bees because I just dont see dead bees in the feeders unless they got into to resevior while the lid was open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One of the biggest things I learned this year is that if you are seeing large numbers of drowned bees in your in frame feeder suspect Nosema c.. In every instance this occurred this year, I sampled the hive and found a high Nosema c. load. If you want those hives to survive, you need to immediately stop using the frame feeders and instead use an alternative feeder to ensure bees do not drown and further spread the disease.
Allow me to clarify as this was meant for a warning to beekeepers. As the dearth came on and I started feeding in frame feeders (have used beads, screens, and so forth) as I usually observe, I would see some hives with boat loads of drown bees and other hives with no drowning issues. Although I did not specifically count, I would guess 18 hives with drowning bees and 72 without any issue. On a hunch, I tested for Nosema c. and of the 18 hives with drowning issues all 18 had high levels of Nosema c. On a spot check of the other hives, I would say about 10% also had higher than acceptable Nosema c.

This was more meant for a warning to people that Nosema c. is out there and one obvious sign that you may have an issue is if you are observing drowning bees. Am I saying in every case you do... no.... but it may be a sign and a time to test and by changing away from the frame feeder on such a hive, you may help reduce its ongoing spread.. through infected syrup.
 

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Bees drown in frame feeders in weak colonies only, in my experience. I use all open feeders with wood wool as floaters, that's it. Never experience any drowning – except in weak hives. No further inventions needed for better frame feeders. Just keep'em bees strong.

Maybe the Nosema is just another symptom for a weak hive. As is the drowning. Coincidence I'd say.

But yes, you sure can spread diseases like Nosema, if the bees drown in the sirup. Weed out weak colonies, don't feed them.
 

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Bees drown in frame feeders in weak colonies only, in my experience. I use all open feeders with wood wool as floaters, that's it. Never experience any drowning – except in weak hives. No further inventions needed for better frame feeders. Just keep'em bees strong.

Maybe the Nosema is just another symptom for a weak hive. As is the drowning. Coincidence I'd say.

But yes, you sure can spread diseases like Nosema, if the bees drown in the sirup. Weed out weak colonies, don't feed them.
The nosema cerana makes the hive weak, not the other way around. N. cerana very different from n. apis which I’m sure you know.
 

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Allow me to clarify as this was meant for a warning to beekeepers. As the dearth came on and I started feeding in frame feeders (have used beads, screens, and so forth) as I usually observe, I would see some hives with boat loads of drown bees and other hives with no drowning issues. Although I did not specifically count, I would guess 18 hives with drowning bees and 72 without any issue. On a hunch, I tested for Nosema c. and of the 18 hives with drowning issues all 18 had high levels of Nosema c. On a spot check of the other hives, I would say about 10% also had higher than acceptable Nosema c.

This was more meant for a warning to people that Nosema c. is out there and one obvious sign that you may have an issue is if you are observing drowning bees. Am I saying in every case you do... no.... but it may be a sign and a time to test and by changing away from the frame feeder on such a hive, you may help reduce its ongoing spread.. through infected syrup.
ok but is the Nosema a symptom or the cause. seems to me floating and drowning bees may crap/release in the syrup, other bees eat it , repeat.
I would think fix the drowning bee issue and the other one goes away. However to be fair I normally do not feed, so I am not a good resource and only offer opinion. the straw is also a good idea, or try sugar blocks the bees cannot drown and should not starve.
GG
 

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I lost a lot of dead bees this year using Mann Lakes top feeder. Seems bees were getting in under the top cover and feeder, but couldn't get out. Didn't have this problem 2 years ago.
I use ML top feeders and have had this problem as well. I put a bead of silicone along the seam where the metal screen meets the plastic insert. The silicone barrier does not allow the bees to squeeze between the screen and the plastic. It is a shame that you have to modify a product you spend a lot of money purchasing out of the box, but this does work.

PS: Did not see Frank's post of similar information above before I posted. Sorry.
 

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ok but is the Nosema a symptom or the cause. seems to me floating and drowning bees may crap/release in the syrup, other bees eat it , repeat.
I would think fix the drowning bee issue and the other one goes away. However to be fair I normally do not feed, so I am not a good resource and only offer opinion. the straw is also a good idea, or try sugar blocks the bees cannot drown and should not starve.
GG
GG, are you confusing nosema cerana with nosema apis?
 

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Bees drown in frame feeders in weak colonies only, in my experience. I use all open feeders with wood wool as floaters, that's it. Never experience any drowning – except in weak hives. No further inventions needed for better frame feeders. Just keep'em bees strong.

Maybe the Nosema is just another symptom for a weak hive. As is the drowning. Coincidence I'd say.

But yes, you sure can spread diseases like Nosema, if the bees drown in the sirup. Weed out weak colonies, don't feed them.
You just mentioned one of the hardest things for most smaller beekeepers to do. "Weed out weak colonies" You are right! I have been guilty of it myself.Quit feeding those weak ones and trying to save them.Poor queens usually stay poor queens and are not worth raising new queen from.Hive tool test and new queen will put you a lot farther ahead in the game.
 
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