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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a brand new beekeeper. I installed 2 hives from packages less than 2 weeks ago. The colonies are not yet strong and I was using entrance reducers as recommended. But today it is in the upper 70's and everything is in bloom; dandelions all over the place; apple blossoms galore. I wanted my bees to make the most of the first great day of spring in this area and I was concerned about the hives getting too warm so I pulled the entrance reducers completely and figure I'll put them back in place this evening.

I still have hive top feeders on but I am guessing that with so much in bloom, robbing should not be a problem.

Am I on the right track?
 

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That's fine. Maybe if you turned the reducer to the next biggest slot would be OK.

The problem with hive top feeders are that the bees can get in from the top but can't get through the feeder screen and usually drown. I'll take some fiberglass mat (like a new porous furnace filter) and cut a piece out just smaller than the bottom of the feeder and place it inside the syrup mix. When it floats, then I'll remove the screens so they can get access from both ends and the hive can breathe, as well as eat without worry of casualties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm using the Brushy Mountain hive top feeders that have floats. There's no screen and they advise pulling the telescoping cover all the way back to cover the ventilation hole on the inner cover to block any entrance to the feeder from above. That's one of the reasons I wanted to pull the entrance reducer.

I'm also using a screened bottom board but I've had the insert in place because of the cold weather we had been having in upstate NY. I'm thinking of sliding that out and improving the ventilation in the hive this afternoon. The hives are right in the backyard so if the weather changes I can tighten things up quickly.

I'm thinking of grabbing a couple of feeders that are inserted in the front of the hive and pulling the hive top ones until I get more experience. The quantity of syrup they hold is nice but the bees have been building comb on the inner cover (and in the entrance slot between the two wells) and I don't like having to smoke the bees to check the syrup level.

Tonight, when I replace the entrance reducers I'll set them to the wider opening. Thanks for the feedback.

Brian
 

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Give us a link to this new hive top feeder, please. I'd like to see how far off it is from my design.

Screen bottoms are nice too. Check it every couple weeks for debris, mites, SHB's, and Wax moths.

And if they're not taking much syrup, it may be wise just to remove the feeders. Check the upper quarter of the brood frames for honey stores built in order to decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Seems fine. Before purchasing, I read reviews from other users and they had nothing but good things to say about it. As for me, experienced as I am:), I'd like to see a removable screen over the top so that the feeder could not be accessed via the ventilation hole in the inner cover and so the bees wouldn't be building comb on the inner cover and lastly so I didn't have to smoke the bees to check the level of the feeder.

I suppose I could just staple some over the top of the feeder.
 

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Might be because it's wood. Most wooden stuff becomes either combed or glued if left in place long enough. Mine do something silly like that now and then. I'll just use a putty knife and scrape it off. Might want to ask (in another post) why they do that and is it safe to put a honey super above the feeder...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You don't worry about the hive getting too warm in the summer? Are you using a screened bottom board?

We have plenty of voles in the meadow where the hives are located so I'm figuring I'll keep the entrance reducers in at the smallest opening during the fall and winter. I may keep them in on the large opening for the rest of the time with the bottom slot pulled from the screened bottom board.
 

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I haven't had any problems with over heating on the hives. They are in full sun. I don't use screened bottoms. I have one and I haven't ever had a hive survive in it. I have a friend that calls screened bottom boards "a great way to get rocks out of potting soil".

Kingfisher
 

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The good thing about those feeders is that they deter robbing. Sometimes the hive does not even know the sugar is there. I staple screen cloth on the top of all mine. Just lift the lid and add syrup if necessary. Saves you some stings. Not my idea -- I stole it from somebody on here a while back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There is a reason I do that. The flow here end so sharply that one week there can be nectar coming in and the next week hardly any. Last thing i want is robbing.

Kingfisher
I've never really considered the "flow." This is my first year -- my first month beekeeping.

It seems things stay in bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall where I am. It's open meadow and when there's not dandelions there's wildflowers of some kind. By fall we're heavy with goldenrod.

I suppose by next year I'll have a better idea of what's really happening in the meadow from one season to the next! Thanks for the feedback!

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I staple screen cloth on the top of all mine. Just lift the lid and add syrup if necessary. Saves you some stings. Not my idea -- I stole it from somebody on here a while back.
Are those the Brushy Mountain feeders you do that to? No problems cleaning them with the screens stapled in? If not, I think I'll make that modification. Thanks.
 
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