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Survivor stock & Buckfast in Langstroth 8F’s
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I build a lot of my equipment, that said I am wanting to build some Miller Style top feeders, and water proof them without a plastic molding. My plan is to seal the joints with 100% silicone, and then seal the inside box with bee wax. However I am a little worried as temperatures here in West Texas can get rather warm. That said the comb in the hive makes it through just fine. Any help or idea’s would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I don't see the point of those feeders.

If I want to feed a lot (like 6 gallons) as fast as possible, I would do this:
  1. Find containers. A tote bin would be best. I'd use kitchen containers. Collect recycling containers if you need a lot.
  2. Fill containers with syrup.
  3. Add floats (wood with pine needles or straw on top).
  4. Put container(s) on the frames.
  5. Add hive boxes and a cover.
For colder weather, and not having to clean as much, inverted feeders make sense.
 

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One advantage of a Miller style feeder over buckets+hive bodies is that the Miller feeder does not allow excess space that the bees could potentially build "wild comb" in. On the other hand, allowing bees access to empty supers with just a bucket or two offers plenty of opportunity for ... free range ... comb. :cry:

For those not sure what a Miller feeder looks like, there is an example photo here:
 

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Survivor stock & Buckfast in Langstroth 8F’s
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for the link, I found one with dipping instructions using wax and rosin between the two I think I will have a pretty good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Inverted feeders work nicely, but they are relatively slower to fill, and would really add more height than what I want on these hives for amount of syrup needed. I prefer the Miller in a shallow deep. It doesn’t really get cold here until December so that’s no issue. For me it’s just faster, And I don’t disturb my finisher hives, or splits which these are primarily used on in my case, and My deeps can be put to better use.
 

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Well, you don't say what material you intend making these feeders from, but here's my take on such a project ...

Firstly what I wouldn't use: I wouldn't use wood, nor silicone, nor beeswax.
Reason: it's virtually impossible to fully waterproof wood, and moisture will only make it swell. The presence of either silicone or beeswax would make future repairs difficult if not impossible.

What I would use: The best material by far (imo) is a rigid PVC sign-board material called Foamex(tm) - 10mm is ideal if it can be sourced - make the joints with plumber's PVC glue - this will result in a 100% reliable liquid-proof feeder. (Dunno why they call it 'Foamex' - 'cause 'foam' it ain't !)

But - Foamex is expensive (I once scored a large number of sheets of 'once-used' - it's truly brilliant stuff) - so as an alternative I'd make the basic feeder from plywood, which is dimensionally stable - exterior grade or better. I'd make close-fitting joints using a 100% waterproof glue (D4 in the UK, TiteBond III elsewhere, or even epoxy resin). I'd coat ALL exposed edges with the same glue, and then run a bead (aka fillet) along all internal joints as an additional sealer. I'd then paint all the internal surfaces with the same glue.

Then - in the (unlikely) event of a repair ever being required, all that would be necessary would be to empty the feeder, wash and dry it well, before applying a further sealant coat of glue over the imperfection - although my guess is that such a repair would never be necessary. :)
My two cent's worth ...
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, you don't say what material you intend making these feeders from, but here's my take on such a project ...

Firstly what I wouldn't use: I wouldn't use wood, nor silicone, nor beeswax.
Reason: it's virtually impossible to fully waterproof wood, and moisture will only make it swell. The presence of either silicone or beeswax would make future repairs difficult if not impossible.

What I would use: The best material by far (imo) is a rigid PVC sign-board material called Foamex(tm) - 10mm is ideal if it can be sourced - make the joints with plumber's PVC glue - this will result in a 100% reliable liquid-proof feeder. (Dunno why they call it 'Foamex' - 'cause 'foam' it ain't !)

But - Foamex is expensive (I once scored a large number of sheets of 'once-used' - it's truly brilliant stuff) - so as an alternative I'd make the basic feeder from plywood, which is dimensionally stable - exterior grade or better. I'd make close-fitting joints using a 100% waterproof glue (D4 in the UK, TiteBond III elsewhere, or even epoxy resin). I'd coat ALL exposed edges with the same glue, and then run a bead (aka fillet) along all internal joints as an additional sealer. I'd then paint all the internal surfaces with the same glue.

Then - in the (unlikely) event of a repair ever being required, all that would be necessary would be to empty the feeder, wash and dry it well, before applying a further sealant coat of glue over the imperfection - although my guess is that such a repair would never be necessary. :)
My two cent's worth ...
LJ
That’s a very interesting idea, I may very well experiment with it, as it would definitely be easier to cut angles for grade toward center using this. I found some on Amazon, and may just give it a shot. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
LJ, you say this is placed together with regular PVC glue correct? Is there a certain amount of time per say I need to wait after complete. Just wait until dry, and fumes cannot be detected, kind of like painting deeps etc. I can find pictures of this stuff but not what I am looking for. Do you think this could be molded using a heat gun? Thanks
Cody
 

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In the USA PVC sheets can be bought from places like Lowes:


And before I realized that flat sheets were available, I cut a section of PVC 4" sewer pipe, made a lengthwise slit and heated the pipe up in an electric oven and then flattened it out between some wood boards. :)

I have formed PVC sheet with a heat gun. I needed a protective cover for where a starter motor meshes with the engine flywheel on a riding mower. The result is clearly 'home made', but it is perfectly functional.
 

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LJ, you say this is placed together with regular PVC glue correct? Is there a certain amount of time per say I need to wait after complete. Just wait until dry, and fumes cannot be detected, kind of like painting deeps etc. I can find pictures of this stuff but not what I am looking for. Do you think this could be molded using a heat gun? Thanks
Cody
I've checked a tin of 'Plumber's Cement' I have here and 1 hr drying time is recommended for waste systems, 24 hrs for pressurised (< 200 p.s.i.) joints. So I'd say overnight would probably be ok - or a day or two if you're in no rush.

Idea: if you could source some shallow rectangular Tupperware containers, then a Miller feeder could be made from more-or-less anything if using those container as 'liners' to contain the syrup itself. The PVC sheet which Radar linked to is only 3mm, so probably not 100% suitable for feeder construction - but - would be ideal for making custom liners to hold the syrup.
Maybe the basis of a practical idea ... ?
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That is exactly what, I am thinking of doing. Using the PVC sheet as a liner as it would be more economical and the materials more readily available with out having to ship. I have plenty of scrap lumber in which to build the main feeder body.
 

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I made a wooden feeder similar to the Miller feeder for a Warre hive from a 2x4. with a plywood bottom Picture Here. It's sealed with generous amounts of polyurethane glue, a sprayed polyurethane finish on the interior, and I caulked where the floor joined the sides and the side joints. The sides are rabbet joints. The plywood bottom is glued in a stopped dado and backed up by glued on perimeter strips underneath just to back up the joint against leaks. It's going on five years old and it still doesn't leak, so I don't think there are any serious problems with using and sealing wood feeders. I think a deeper feeder might have wood expansion problems. This feeder has also only seen light use, a heavily used feeder might perform differently.

As far as Langstroth top feeders go some of the solutions mentioned here have materials costs that approach the cost of a Ceracel feeder. The Ceracel feeders are fantastic, so you might just want to save the hassle and get some. Just sayin…
 

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I have been chompin to use some White spray "Flex Seal" I got on sale.
Seems to work on screen door boat bottom, not sure if it is food safe.

GG
 

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Off topic, but they have to be cheating on that boat. Window screen is held in a screen door by that little rubber band pressed into a groove. For a boat to float the water pushes back with a force that is the same as the boat & passenger weight. No way that rubber band will stay in the groove against the weight of the boat, much less the force of planing through water. 😆
 

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Off topic, but they have to be cheating on that boat. Window screen is held in a screen door by that little rubber band pressed into a groove. For a boat to float the water pushes back with a force that is the same as the boat & passenger weight. No way that rubber band will stay in the groove against the weight of the boat, much less the force of planing through water. 😆
but can it stop syrup........
I'm not doing it to my boat to prove or dis prove. :)

looks like it may be able to seal a feeder.

GG
 

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Last one I built was of wood for a square Brother Adam hive. I made it so that it had entry tunnels (the Fat Bee Man modification) into the liquid feed so it kills very few if any bees. This makes it so you carefully place trays of liquid feed, tilting them slightly so they go under the ramped tunnels as you place them. I use rectangular glass cooking dishes - no need for sealant.
 
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