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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
how much do you guys think that open drum feeding wears the bees and decreases their foraging life?

dropping a drum of feed in a yard sure beats filling half pails per hive.
 

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One of the best bee guys I know does openfeeding at a round up yard. Throws straw in the container for the bees to sit on. If we did that at our yards we would lose more sugar to the other bee guys sitting around us then we would feed our own. My dad thinks open feeding might have a potential to spread disease quicker too.
 

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Open feeding sure caused a lot of issues in Utah last year. Many ended up with red honey due to the open feeding of candy cane byproduct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the only time I will see bald black bees is when I'm open feeding. But I never really worried about it much because I considered those bees expendable.
 

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With Open Feeding - it seems that "Those that have - Get! And those that do not have do not get." But Open Feeding sure is easier.
 

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Open feeding sure caused a lot of issues in Utah last year. Many ended up with red honey due to the open feeding of candy cane byproduct.
One question I have always had, since I feed Fumidil and have other peoples apiaries all around me, what responsibility do I have to the other beeks to let them know that their honey supers are potentially contaminated. No one around here puts their name or phone # on the apiary or equipment and apiaries aren't registered?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I dont open feed yards with neighbours close by. I dont like feeding neighbours bees :)

I usually open feed in the spring when I have my yards grouped into my spring holding sites.
 

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With Open Feeding - it seems that "Those that have - Get! And those that do not have do not get." But Open Feeding sure is easier.
Another way to look at it is that the hives with a higher population are getting more feed than the ones with lower... Not necessarily a bad thing especially with singles but that being said I think the doubles can definitely end up with more than necessary sometimes. As long as the barrels go out early I would think all of the bald black bees should still be fall ones that were going to die anyways. There's also something to be said for being able to feed everything in a day instead of it taking a week with pails, sometimes you don't get that extra week of warm weather
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
One problem with hive top feeders in the spring is that the bees don't take the syrup fast enough and drippage becomes a problem
 

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We open barrel feed in the fall to try and get the bees to put the feed in the frames so I have less to spray in the winter. We do have so bee lost, but we're not looking to bring the bee though winter. Spring feeding is sprayed frames or ML DB feeder with wires in them. I would say we don't lose bees to feeding in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
here is a pic of us feeding in MS. We made a round float that has slats in it for the bees to drink from. it has a half in clearing to the edge of the drum and when they are empty there maybe a cup of bees at the most in the bottom.
Nice trick with the lids. I do the same thing but I use rubber maid tubs. I hing the top open slightly and clip it open with a paint stick and screws. Keeps the rain out and provides lots of access. I like the rubber maid tubs because of the ease of storage and transportation to the yards. I'm not going for the volume as your providing.
 

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I don't think open feeding reduces the bees lifespan. I don't see lower winter survival rates now that I open feed fall compared to when I used to use hive top feeders. If there is any change, I would say my winter survival rates are better.

I use rubber maid totes for feeding as well. I like the increase in surface area compared to barrels and the ease of transport. One tote for every 10 hives in fall gives lots of surface area.

The totes I use are the 114 L ones with the high top. There are seven 2.5 inch holes drill in each side of the lid for the bees to access the feed and I run a trap strap across the lid to secure it.
 

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We use open feeding in the late summer/fall. I like it. We can give a lot of feed in such a short amount of time. Just about anybody can drive up to a yard and fill totes or drums. Different story if you to place buckets on hives or have to open them to fill frame feeders.

It does wear out the bees a bit prematurely but it does not seems to be an issue in our winter survival rates. Those black bees die a bit earlier than they would normally. However they get a lot of feed into the hives assuring the colony overwintering success. I just think the positives outweigh the negatives.

Jean-Marc
 

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We use 5 gal pails with tiny holes drilled around the outside of the rim. It is much like using the pail feeders except the holes are not in the center of the lid. We invert the pails, set them on stands and let them have at her. Seems to work fine with very few losses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The totes I use are the 114 L ones with the high top. There are seven 2.5 inch holes drill in each side of the lid for the bees to access the feed and I run a trap strap across the lid to secure it.
ahh, yes, great idea. I use the same high top totes. Propping the tops up work fine but the wind will catch the lids. Going to set them up with holes. aswell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just about anybody can drive up to a yard and fill totes or drums.
Jean-Marc
I like the quickness of being able to provide feed to a yard especially in the fall as we are stripping off boxes late in the season. Sometimes we are needing to get back with pails within the day or two. I think I'm going to set some totes out this fall as we are stripping the boxes and have one of my guys make a couple rounds with syrup before we get a chance to make a round with pails.

I have always been afraid to open feed in the fall because I figured the bees would tear each other apart. But as Allen suggested, providing three or four totes per yard provides lots of access, thats probably the key.
 

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I have a drum of rock hard sugar warehouse floor sweeping's in my yard. The bees were working it yesterday though a very small opening, I opened the lid yesterday so they had more access. They are not fighting, it looks like a good idea to me! Our temperature is supposed to reach 74 today. The bee's are also working our maple trees.
 
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