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I traced the 'bee hole' from the inner cover on the top of the paint can lid and then scattered about 20 holes in that tracing. Tiny holes. The bees didn't use all of them--some got propolized shut. You don't want big holes that capillary action won't keep the sugar water in the paint can. You also don't want the bees to have to wait to get what they want.

I've done no controlled experiments though...would 5 holes be worse than 10 holes, and would 20 holes be any better than 10?
 

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When I made mine I had way too much time on my hands and put a lot of small holes, 50-60. I then asked Michael Palmer the same question and my recollection is 5-6 holes were sufficient.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I then asked Michael Palmer the same question and my recollection is 5-6 holes were sufficient.

Tom
I heard Michael say in a video that he put "five holes" in the lid. It seemed far too few so I thought I'd misheard. Guess I heard right after all! Thanks.
 

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Do you just barely make a hole with that size nail or drive the point all the way in to the shaft. Sounds silly maybe, but it is a huge difference in the hole size. I made some with plastic bottles and the bigger holes dripped like crazy.
 

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Plastic bottles leak like crazy because they collapse under the weight of the water. At least the ones I have tried do. The more rigid the container the less they leak. Big temp fluctuations also cause lots of drippage.
 

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I just put 3 or 4 holes in the tops of quart jars - using a 4 or 6 p nail -I make the hole with just the point of the nail, not the whole diameter of the nail.
Charlie
 

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It will work fine with a wide range of hole sizes - from smaller than is practical (tiny drill bits break like glass) up to around a quarter of an inch. Unless you get really extreme your hole sizes will be fine. The hole size is not why they leak when they do.

They leak when the container doesn't hold vacuum either because it leaks or isn't rigid enough.

They leak when temp fluctuations cause the syrup to expand and contract - so cover them to keep the sun off. White bucket feeders are almost immune so you don't have to worry about it much.

They leak when the container isn't level and the pressure difference between holes causes air to go in the high ones and syrup to run out the low ones. Either keep them level or put all of your holes close together.

And last but not least they all leak some when you first apply them - the bigger the container the more they leak initially, but it is made worse if there is a lot of air in there - so fill them full to minimize it.
 

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Do you just barely make a hole with that size nail or drive the point all the way in to the shaft. Sounds silly maybe, but it is a huge difference in the hole size. I made some with plastic bottles and the bigger holes dripped like crazy.
Full size holes. Yes, plastic leaks because the sides are so flexible and the container can't hold a vacuum.
 

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I put 2-3 holes with an ice pick, probably a little larger than some of you, maybe a 16th. The bees can drain a gallon in a day when they want to. Larger holes don't leak more than smaller ones, within reason.
 
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