Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been a keeper for 2 years, this time. I failed miserably a few years ago because of lack of time and ignorance. Now I'm retired and time is not a problem, ignorance still is. I've been reading, listening, asking, and evaluating. I spent 42 years as a maintenance man so I evaluate everything, usually before acting. From what I can find out the mountain camp method is good for emergency feeding, but should be left for emrgency feeding. I still have a problem with the newspaper on top of the frames. I doubt that eating thru the newspaper is good, mainly because it would cause sugar collapsing on the bees. Wouldn't it be better to use an all wood inner cover and drill holes, say 1/2"-3/4" diameter liberally around the edges so the bees can easily get to the sugar piled around the center hole? You still should be able to get 5-10# of sugar on the cover without any fear of them eating paper, which doesn't sound kosher, and/or being collapsed on. It would also help keep heat in the hive. PLEASE, I NEED OTHER OPINIONS!!!
Now, SPRING FEEDING. I now think that the quart entrance feeder is a mistake, promotes robbing, ants, yellow jackets, bumbelbees, etc. So what is the best? Division board feeders, (they take up 2 frames in your hive until you remove them and then your feeding ends with 2 empty frames) Quart jars and frame on top of the inner cover, (you have to have extra hive bodys to go around them, and I can see a problem with moisture warping your inner cover) or Kelleys has a plastic tank that is designed to let them feed without drowning. Has anyone had any experience with any of these, good or bad?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,649 Posts
I still have a problem with the newspaper on top of the frames.

Believe me, the M.C.M. works!
We like to keep things simple and cost effective.
Try a search of photos and you can see the Mountain Camp method in action.
Some old timers just open up the hive and pour granulated sugar or C & H Drivert sugar over the end bars at the back of a single brood chamber.
Ernie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
905 Posts
Vallyman,

A different feeding technique: See the second paragraph of my post to "Hive insulation...? " dated yesterday. Yes it does require a spare hive body super, but I just knock them together out of one by scrap wood.

Bear Creek Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,487 Posts
The dry sugar method is usually used in very cold weather. I don't know any reason you couldn't put it on the inner cover, beek's put candy boards there all the time. If you needed more space, you could put a 3/4" spacer there instead of a full super.

For syrup feeding a lot of guy's like the plastic zip lock bag freezer bag method, I haven't tried it. Again an extra super would be needed. I'm using the mann lake top feeder. I've heard the kelly is better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
by the time the bees chew through the paper, the sugar is clumped. It does not fall through. The bees carry the paper out of the hive. I did not notice any paper left in the combs. there was some stuck to the top of the bars that easily scraped off in the spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I have one of the Kelley top tank feeder that I plan to try next spring. It comes with a 2 1/2" spacer or super that is vented. I'm going to staple covers over the vents to use it for dry sugar feeding. I am also going to use the vented super on top of my inner cover on all my hives to help with airflow. I'm also going to try the 4 quart top feeder next spring. I don't know if I will try the division board feeder or not. Seems to me you would have to disturb them when removing it. I believe in disturbing them as little as possible, especially in cold weather. I'm still a greenhorn and need input. The cost on the inner cover is small, less than $7.00 for me, so I may try what I was talking about and see how it works. I have a couple that is not in good shape anyway, and I'm only 40 miles from Kelleys thats why I'm familar with their products. I'm there 5-6 times a year. Thanks for any input
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,430 Posts
Used 1 gallon inverted paint cans last winter to help my bees. Heated up water and added as much sugar as possible......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,833 Posts
>I evaluate everything, usually before acting . . .
That's very wise.

>From what I can find out the mountain camp method is good for emergency feeding, but should be left for emrgency feeding.
IMO, that's true.


Here’s my "thoughts" :)

Early literature talks about putting dry sugar AROUND the oblong hole in inner cover as a FOOD source in temperatures that won’t allow the use of a liquid. The problem w/ this "style" is the bees must leave the warmth of the cluster, pass through the hole to access the cold sugar.

With the desire to move the sugar CLOSER to the bees, the "newspaper" method evolved. I think newspaper W/ A HOLE in the middle might be best.

The MountainCamp method was explained several years back as being a good method to CONTROL MOISTURE while providing SOME food reserves. Not a "feeding method".

Lots of DRY sugar will absorb lots of water.


>Now, SPRING FEEDING . . .
Remember "feeding" is not required IF proper/adaquate fall prep is made.

What ever happened to "feeding makes welfare bees"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
From what I have been told your answer makes a lot of sense. The closer to the cluster is the only reason in my evaluation to use paper on top of the frames instead of on the inner cover. Common sense would tell you that to gather moisture out of the hive you need openings ie edges and center. Since our nectar flow was washed off with a lot of rain this year I have one weak hive which I am going to use the MCM on, with a small hole in the center, also, on the next warm day.

When I think about spring feeding I am thinking of new hives which I think need help until the nectar flow is strong. Then I agree 100% that you could create a lazy welfare hive.

I also think it is acceptable to feed weak hives in August-Sept.- Oct. only to get them to survive the winter without having to use the MCM.

Now another question. Wouldn't it be good to use some kind of moisture absorbing material, maybe just on top of the inner cover through the winter? I am going to use the ventilated supers, about 2 1/2" tall from Kelleys', in the summer. So would it be too much venting to leave these open in the winter? I really don't think so. I'm talking about hives withou the MCM. I would staple covers over the vents then because the bees would be in the top eating. Sorry I'm so long winded, but the best procedures are the ones that are bounced off of other beek's. Thanks for any input!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
Valleyman, regarding your last post...I use what we call here in minnesota "buffalo board" for isulation and a moisture gatherer in my hives. Generally it comes in 1/2" thickness and I cut 2 pieces to fit on top of inner cover. You MUST aid in ventilation, so I put a couple shims under buffalo board which generally stick out the back, then back of outter cover fits on that. You end up with about a 3/16" gap out the back for moisture to escape. Good Luck! PP
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,108 Posts
>I still have a problem with the newspaper on top of the frames. I doubt that eating thru the newspaper is good, mainly because it would cause sugar collapsing on the bees.

If you spray a bit of water on the first layer of sugar you put down to clump it it it won't be a problem. Usually the humidity from the bees will cause this anyway, but I do that for insurance.

> Wouldn't it be better to use an all wood inner cover and drill holes, say 1/2"-3/4" diameter liberally around the edges so the bees can easily get to the sugar piled around the center hole?

No. Because they have to leave the cluster to get to it. The important thing is that the cluster can eat the sugar, rather than bees having to leave the cluster to eat the sugar.

> You still should be able to get 5-10# of sugar on the cover without any fear of them eating paper

They do not eat the paper. They just chew through it.

> which doesn't sound kosher, and/or being collapsed on.

And it will not collapse because it will clump from the humidity if you don't clump it first.

>Now, SPRING FEEDING. I now think that the quart entrance feeder is a mistake, promotes robbing, ants, yellow jackets, bumbelbees, etc.

Agreed.

> So what is the best? Division board feeders, (they take up 2 frames in your hive until you remove them and then your feeding ends with 2 empty frames) Quart jars and frame on top of the inner cover, (you have to have extra hive bodys to go around them, and I can see a problem with moisture warping your inner cover) or Kelleys has a plastic tank that is designed to let them feed without drowning. Has anyone had any experience with any of these, good or bad?

I can't say I like any of them, but here's some detail:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
575 Posts
Good question.

Every fall I get worried about stores and often feed heavily going into winter. I'm too worried that emergency feeding will work like seat belts. Most don’t need them, some are thankful and others will never know. I haven't lost a hive yet, but that may be from spending more on sugar than I should.

I use gabees.com "(G56) Hive Top Feeder for 10 Frame Hive." Other suppliers have the same but I didn't find a better price. Yes, they are pricey. It's a black plastic tray that looks like a double sink and sits in a shallow super. The center divider is open and has a No. 8 hardware cloth cover that provides the bees with a ladder and lets you lift the cover to fill without dealing with them. I like that no syrup will drip into the comb and an insulating air space is added to the top of the hive. You also do not need an inner cover. Since the girls often find a gap along the edge of the hardware cloth, I "seal" the edge with a bead of silicone. One of my covers doesn’t sit right and let in yellow jackets that drowned by the hundreds. One beek didn’t like them because his pan cracked and now I handle with much greater care.

Better Bee’s Bee Max has a top feeder with a similar concept and another red plastic hive top is available. I’ve also seen a top feeder with floats and a plywood bottom.

This past spring I had some mold in the hives and my one weak hive really got loaded. The girls cleaned it up in short order as spring chased out old man winter. This year I added shims under the cover after the bees took the syrup to create a vent. I hope they don’t loose too much heat.

After watching the girls climb the ladder, I did some experimenting with stuff in the recycling bin along with my present journey to top bar hives. I wrapped some No. 8 hardware cloth around a 1x1 with a saw kerf. Then secured a nylon mesh “sock” from a strainer with a plastic twist tie from a bread loaf bag to the end and jammed the cylinder into a plastic milk jug (w/o the 1x1). I trimmed the top so the lid screwed down tight and the cylinder expanded to fill the neck. The girls in the top bar hive emptied the jug without drowning. I’m actually surprised I didn’t see this anywhere. One didn’t work because (I suspect) the edge that was in the kerf stuck into the bees path. I used nylon window screen in a previous effort and found a pile of bee legs.

In my top bar, I put them behind a follower board with a 1-1/2” hole and filled the empty spaces with blocks and packing so the girls won’t have room to build comb. I suppose several jugs may fit above a hive in a deep. I’d reinforce an inner cover or butt up some planks sized to fit the hive with some holes because the jugs are heavy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,833 Posts
Valleyman . . .

I'm not sure of your location (I know where KY is ) but I have never used any kind of moisture absorbing material. I use ICs w/ a center oblong hole and entrance slot about 3/8 x 1-1/2 lg. I turn the IC rim down. The center hole is then blocked by the top cover. HOWEVER, I add spacers (screws in each corner of TC - heads of large sheet metal screws (#14??)) to raise up the TC about 1/8" letting air excape through oblong hole. Entrance slot remains open IF I dont forget to push TC forward. I close off SBB and restrict bottom entance to about 3" wide.

So far (knock on wood) moisture has never been a problem for me.

In the NE US "moisture" must be different, they often use someting to soak it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I may be the exception but I only take out one frame for a division board feeder. Also I plan to use candy boards this winter. My question is I have one hive with three deeps, if when I install it and the bees are below the third deep should I put the candy board below the third deep?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
First let me see if I understand you. You are using 3 deep hive bodys on one hive, if so why? But I don't see any reason why you can't put the candy boards between the second and third hive body. But, you aren't going to accomplish much with what you can get in there. Thats why the mcm is used because you can get several pounds of sugar on top of the frames.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I may be the exception but I only take out one frame for a division board feeder. Also I plan to use candy boards this winter. My question is I have one hive with three deeps, if when I install it and the bees are below the third deep should I put the candy board below the third deep?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I have seen some division board feeders that only take up one frame space.
But they only hold three quarts. The one that is about 1 1/2 frame spaces hold 5-6 quarts. I'm not going to use either. When I have to feed I will use the 4 quart jars on the inner cover. I think this will be the least invasive method of feeding when you have to inspect your hive. I know the tank is cumbersome to remove, and easy to spill if full or nearly full. The frame with the 4 quart jars is an easy remove as you can take the jars off first. the division board feeder has to be taken out of the hive and another frame(s) inserted which means they have one or two less frames full of honey when you stop feeding. Not good after a dearth, which should be the reason why you were feeding in the first place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
First let me see if I understand you. You are using 3 deep hive bodys on one hive, if so why? But I don't see any reason why you can't put the candy boards between the second and third hive body. But, you aren't going to accomplish much with what you can get in there. Thats why the mcm is used because you can get several pounds of sugar on top of the frames.
The only reason this hive has three deeps is I didn't remove the third I was using as a super. It was about 60% full of honey so I left it for the bees. The candy boards I use have about 8 lbs. of candy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,242 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I like your attitude, bee feed first collectable honey second. Common sense would tell you that any food is better than none, as far as the candy boards go. But from what I have learned is that it takes at least 50# to feed the bees thru the winter, and in colder climates or bad winters if could take as much as 100#. Everyone must judge their own needs and how to meet them. Remember it is all about common sense and sharing knowledge. I'm trying to pick as many brains as I can and use common sense in adapting it to my bees needs here in central Ky. Thanks to everyone and please continue to share!!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top