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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been outside feeding lately (using dishes of syrup placed in shallow trashcan lids with a little water in them - to keep out ants). I know the cautions about outside feeding but still choose to do it for now.

Today, I noticed wads of dead bees in the shallow moat outside the bees' feeding dish. I see lots of bees fall from the dish after they load up with the syrup, but the water's not deep enough for them to drown in, so .... what's happening? Are they so weighed down they can't keep the proboscis above water? Seems to me most should be able to simply climb over the dead bodies of their sisters and leave the can lid.

Any ideas as to what I could concoct to keep this from happening? Other than inner-feeding, I mean. I can't come up with a sensible rationale for why this is happening in the 1st place. :s

Thx for thoughts on it ....
 

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If they get a little syrup on them then hit water they are done.

How to prevent? Suggest putting your dish of syrup on a tube of some kind with some grease on it to stop the ants.
 

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syrup in an open dish is the cause. bees get stuck up and exhaust themselves trying to clean off so they can fly. They are dead ducks when they hit the water moat. Cover the syrup surface with bits of wood and then a thin layer of shavings to form a mat. They will push down into the mat so they can suck up syrup with their probiscus. Bees cant hover like humming birds and they really have no good way of cleaning up.

Bees wet with honey within the colony will be cleaned up by their hive mates: totally different chemistry going on at an external feed source!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thx much, guys; I wasn't aware the stickiness issue would be a problem. Makes perfect sense to me, though. I just dumped a gallon of syrup into a dish (no water in the lid underneath, though --this time). The dish has lots of wine corks in it, but I see I need to do more!

Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If they get a little syrup on them then hit water they are done.

How to prevent? Suggest putting your dish of syrup on a tube of some kind with some grease on it to stop the ants.
Obliged!

BTW, my little manuka seems to be thriving. Nice little bright-red blooms on it. Winter's not far away so that'll be the real test ....

Mitch
 

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Thx much, guys; I wasn't aware the stickiness issue would be a problem. Makes perfect sense to me, though. I just dumped a gallon of syrup into a dish (no water in the lid underneath, though --this time). The dish has lots of wine corks in it, but I see I need to do more!

Mitch
Wine corks will not do; they roll and dump the bees. Bees crowd the front ones and trample the underdogs into the syrup. You need something like straw or coarse shavings that the bees can cling to. Do a google on University of Guelph open feeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wine corks will not do; they roll and dump the bees. Bees crowd the front ones and trample the underdogs into the syrup. You need something like straw or coarse shavings that the bees can cling to. Do a google on University of Guelph open feeding.
OK -- it's appreciated. I have cedar shavings I could use. Would clean pinestraw be an option?
 

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OK -- it's appreciated. I have cedar shavings I could use. Would clean pinestraw be an option?
I would not overthink and use any dry plant residue as scaffolding for the bees; it does not really matter.
I use dry sticks laying under the hedge (left there after pruning).
Speaking of "clean" - bees get into places getting their water - you don't want to know about.

I would use pine straw if available just fine. But make it a thick layer.
Prefer thicker material so that individual pieces can support bees (individual pine straws can not reliably support bees - too heavy).
 

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Try pine needles to see if they float high enough and have enough body that a few layers of bees can walk on without sinking. Hay does not work well as it gets too soft and waterlogged. Grain straw stays stiff and floats. The bees prefer to keep their feet dry and just wet their whistles;)
 

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Dry wood brush/sticks, broken up to pieces (up to pencil thick) are about the best, IMO.
No negatives.
 

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I've been outside feeding lately (using dishes of syrup placed in shallow trashcan lids with a little water in them - to keep out ants). I know the cautions about outside feeding but still choose to do it for now.

Today, I noticed wads of dead bees in the shallow moat outside the bees' feeding dish. I see lots of bees fall from the dish after they load up with the syrup, but the water's not deep enough for them to drown in,

so .... what's happening? Are they so weighed down they can't keep the proboscis above water?

Seems to me most should be able to simply climb over the dead bodies of their sisters and leave the can lid.

Any ideas as to what I could concoct to keep this from happening? Other than inner-feeding, I mean. I can't come up with a sensible rationale for why this is happening in the 1st place. :s

Thx for thoughts on it ....

Bees breathe through a complex structure of network of tracheas and air sacs, they do not breathe through noses, mouths, or the probiscus.

Oxygen is vacuumed into the body through openings on each segment of their body (spiracles) by the expansion and contraction of air sacs, then the spiracles are closed and air sacs are compressed to force the air into smaller tracheas, which become smaller and smaller until individual tubules reach individual cells.
 

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I have come through experience, whenever I have large amounts of drowned bees in a feeder, the hive is almost always suffering from Nosema c. when I went back performed spore counts. Worse the drowned bees then become a source for spreading the infection through the syrup, so I have moved away from frame feeders.
 
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