I use a miller type feeder. The first day in use I suspected the hive was being robbed. I have only the single hive, but am also not foolish enough to believe I'm the only one in the area who keeps bees. I had the outer cover propped up for ventilation and there seemed to be an enormous amout of bees entering unchecked through the ventilation crack. I spent about an hour in a lawn chair next to the hive looking for signs of robbing (i.e. fighting), but could see none. Still concerned, I posted a question on this board and was told to staple screen I used window screen) over the hole in the inner cover to stop entrance from the top. I also blocked part of the bottom entrance as a precaution for 24 hours. The bees learned quickly they couldn't get in the top anymore (which is good because about 20 of them drowned that first day with nothing but smooth wooden walls to grasp), and my problem was solved. Bees enter the feeder from the bottom and I can keep the outer cover propped up for ventilation.
It seems to me that a miller feeder does encourage robbing. I'm begining to think it's the surface area of the feed that the bees smell. I also have a lot of problems with the boardman feeders. I have put round holes in inner covers the size of a quart jar lid, screened that hole and the middle one and used boardmans on the inner cover with a super on top of that to make space for the jar. The division board feeders from Brushy Mt. are stiff and have only a small opening in the middle and a ladder for the bees. I have real good luck with them. Sometimes in a dearth it's very difficult to keep them from robbing a small hive. Due to encouragment from here I have tried open feeding again. By putting it a ways away from the hives it is an equal opportunity feeder. I'm just using a miller on a bottom board. It seems to be working ok and not causing robbing. Of course the strong hives put away more of it. But you can alway steal some stores from one of them for the smaller ones to get through the winter.
My hive-top feeder has a screen (8-wire) top, bee can enter only from the bottom. Sometimes, I place 3/4 spacers between feeder and top-cover to provide extra ventilation. No top entrance & NO ROBBING.
I am using 2 hive top feeders I made from plans on this site. One, on a strong colony is being sucked dry every 4-5 days, the other, on a bit weaker hive didn't seem to be going down past half. Took it off and discovered thet it was appearently plugged from dead bees on the inside! I have the 8 mesh hardware cloth in both as a ramp for the bees. I am also seeing 40-50 yellow jackets in the open pools when I take off the covers to refuel - They are appearently getting in thru the gap under the top cover. I am going to screen over the open pools to stop this. Any suggestions why one hive is experiencing so many dead bees in the bee entrance to the feeder?
My problem wit feeding is I can't seem to keep feed in there. I'm using 1 gallon bags, 1/2 gallon per hive and they completely drain the bag in 24 hours. I've peaked at the bottom board thinking it had to have run out, but it hasn't. Amazes me everytime I pull an empty bag. Which btw, is always completely glued to the top frames. I'm going to feed one more time then see how they do on the goldenrod.
>Any suggestions why one hive is experiencing so many dead bees in the bee entrance to the feeder?
Weaker older bees have a harder time getting out if they fall in. Is there anything weakening the weaker hive? Mites? Disease?
Is it queen right? Maybe all the workers are old.
It is usually difficult to get these dead bees out too. If you empty out all of the syrup into some container and use a hose with a sprayer adjusted to get some pressure you can usually blow them out with the hose. You have to put it upside down and get them go fall to the top of the screen wire and then tip it around while hosing it so the dead ones will make it over the "*** " and into the gap back to the bottom. You have to do it several times to get them all out.
Yeah, I got it cleaned out - the sugar was fermenting so I just washed it into the ground by the spout. This is a funny hive- I requeened it w/ a buckfast a couple weeks ago after I found all kinds of queen cells- I did a split and I think there was a lot of drift to the other hive which was next door. Interestingly, this buckfast-queened hive is making a couple supercedure cells even though she is laying - tho not very well. I could find a few eggs and quite a vfew very young larvae. Be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks. The OTHR hive made their own queen, but I think she got lost while mating - I couldn't find her and they were pretty antsy when I checked them so I just recombined the two back to 1 w/ a sheet of newspaper...
Until they start laying those virgins are hard to find. Maybe she got lost, maybe you just couldn't find her.
The Buckfasts on the next generation have been turning mean for me. I'd watch the successor to your Buckfast queen. If they start turning mean kill the queen immeadiately and get a new one from somewhere.
Thanks for the advice Michael- Do you mean the generation she is raining now or the next ones - I had heard that about Buckfasts and was planning to requeen next fall-
Re the raised queen, It's funny because I found her no problem shortly after she emerged - It was a week later that I lost her - went thru carefully twice and couldn't find her to save my soul. What happens if there is a low supply of local drones for mating? I am in a farily remote area and haven't seen many hives since the mobiles left after the berries. Does the queen ever leave and not mate? will she return if she is unable to mate?
I have just started feeding with inverted yogurt containers (1 qt) with tiny holes poked into the lid (with a thumb tack). I place the containers inside an empty super supported on small pieces of wood about 3/8" thick. This way the bees can crawl under and suck from the tiny holes even if the container is not sitting over the inner cover's hole. In fact, I made additional holes on the inner cover to place the containers over them, but I just realized that the bees get to the syrup even if no hole is under. Actaully, what I have been seing in the last couple of weeks is that the bees propolize the tiny holes and seal them Why???? (This is a small split that is still building up comb !!??). It seems that they propolize less if the container is not sitting over a hole.
>Thanks for the advice Michael- Do you mean the generation she is raining now or the next ones - I had heard that about Buckfasts and was planning to requeen next fall-
You said there were supercedure cells in the buckfast queened hive. These are the next generation and they seem to be the ones that turn mean.
>Re the raised queen, It's funny because I found her no problem shortly after she emerged - It was a week later that I lost her - went thru carefully twice and couldn't find her to save my soul.
How long ago was that now? It's typical for it to take 12 days or so after she emerges before she starts to lay. She gets smaller after she emerges so she can fly better and doesn't bulk back up until she's mated and getting ready to lay. She's very hard to find when she's small like that and shy like that.
>What happens if there is a low supply of local drones for mating? I am in a farily remote area and haven't seen many hives since the mobiles left after the berries.
She could fly quite a ways.
>Does the queen ever leave and not mate? will she return if she is unable to mate?
Yes if she can't find drones she will come back and she will start to lay nothing but drones.
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