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This is my first year at beekeeping. I spent a significant amount of time researching the subject and one thing was clear, newly installed packages should be fed to promote drawing out plastic foundation. Michael, I know you disagree. Most advocates agreed that internal feeding was preferable to the entrance feeders so I decided to purchase two wooden top feeders from Dadant. After only two weeks using the feeders I have given them up. The first issue could have been prevented if I had simply filled the feeder with water before using them to determine if they leaked because one did, both sides. The second reason and most important is that the bees filled the feeder ladder with comb and also the inner cover, more bees stayed in the feeders than were down below drawing out the foundation. I noticed the comb building early on and removed it but they continued to fill the feeders so I removed them. Two weeks with new packages and one package not really being fed because the syrup leaked out and all that wasted comb in both hives. I have since modified my entrance reducer and am using Boardman feeders. I am not having any robbing issues and the hives are doing real well. I think I will turn the feeders into quilt boxes, screen off the bottom and fill them with moisture absorbers for winter.
 

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Good idea to reuse them in a different way...try a mason jar feeder or a plastic pail feeder (that is made specifically for feeding ) place it on top of your inner cover over the hole. I put one Popsicle stick on either side of the hole to keep the ventilation going in the hive. The mason jar/bucket will be lifted up and not smack down on the inner cover. Place an empty hive body over the feeder and your outer cover over this. You can feed the warm syrup, they love it and encourages them to build comb.
 

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I feel your pain. Like you I researched and researched, and heard a hundred different opinions. Finally bought two frame feeders and absolutely HATE them.

Not only do they drown bees like crazy even with a float, the fact of having to do an opening of the hive every time to check/remove etc really is annoying, I don't like to get in there with a new package constantly.

Since we have a nice flow going, I am using a Boardman feeder right now with my newest package, but I have it set up a few inches from the entrance --- giving the new colony plenty of food but not inciting robbing within the hive itself. Not ideal but not using the frame feeders again --- so -- hoping for the best. Plus have entrance guards on right now too, makes it hard to get the Boardman in the entrance at all.
 

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The fatbeeman feeder works great . There the feeder I made and use .
These work great but are a pain to make the ladder.
The top feeders from Mann lake work well. They are screened and plastic..no leaks no comb.
 

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I still like putting jars above the brood with afew holes in the lid.Cover with any empty brood box.Time tested.LOL
another I like is a chicken water, place some small stones around where they feed to keep from drowning,cover also with an empty.Mark,,,,,,
 

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I'm with Annabee, I started with frame feeders with cap and ladders. A huge pain to refill them, and plenty of bees drowned while I did refill them. I took them out and have gone to boardman feeders also. Less disruption of the hive, easier on me and the bees, and I have not had a problem with robbing either.
 

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the mann lake and similar ladder top feeders are the best for fall feeding when unwanted extra comb is not being built much, they have the biggest capacity, the mann lake ones really can be burr comb messes compared to the more leaky wooden ones in spring and summer.. for spring/summer the mason jar or bucket type are better. the frame type is real good but much more of a pain to refill and they take up box space. also you must open the hive to fill/check on the frame feeders. I firmly believe you should disturb the hive as little as possible.. avoid the boardman and other entrance feeders they sooner or later will get you in trouble with robbing.
 

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Beetle Jail makes a feeder that can hold 2 mason quart jars. it has 3/8 bee space and a screen that keeps the bees off the lid. it is easy to refill, the bees do not seem to even notice me at all. it is my favorite hive- top feeder, not very expensive either. They have a video demonstration on their website if you are interested, it shows it better than I can explain it.
 

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I use boardman feeders in both of my hives. I use a 1/2 gallon mason jar (with standard size thread neck) these can be difficult to find since they are older jars. Nowadays they typically sell 1/2 gallon jars now with the wide mouth.

I sit the boardman feeder on top of the brood frames in an empty deep above.

If you can keep the feed INSIDE the hive ontop of the frames, this will make robbing a non-issue.
 

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I just use a migratory cover with a 1-qt mason jar. 2-7/8" hole saw with carbide blades and it fits perfectly. Tried adding plastic screen, but I think it is too thick to allow them to drink well on one. May try metal screen on it.
 

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These work great but are a pain to make the ladder.
The top feeders from Mann lake work well. They are screened and plastic..no leaks no comb.
Not really pretty easy we used a table saw and a miter saw to build it all . Could all be done on a table saw . I thought they where pretty easy to build the whole thing . But there's nothing I can't build .

And mine hold a gallon
 

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A gallon paint can with two or three small holes punched in the lid is cheap, easy, and foolproof. Invert over a migratory top or inner cover with a hole in it. I don't bother to cover mine with a super and have never had one knocked off. Total cost is about $2 and total time is about 30 seconds. Paint cans can't break and have a nice handle to carry them by.
 

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If you're looking for a guaranteed leak-free, drip-free, and after 3 months of field trials I feel confident enough to say 'guaranteed drown-proof' syrup feeder - the solution is very simple.

It's basically an extension of the FatBeeMan's idea of using (what I call) a 'stairwell' leading down into a plastic container.
The difference between what I'm making and his idea, is that I use 2 x sheets of thin aluminium mesh (in practice, it's one sheet folded back on itself) separated by 8mm battens. This 'stairwell' can be in the form of a ramp or made vertical, and it's easy to install such a modification into frame feeders to eliminate drowning 100%. In addition, because 8mm is near-enough a bee-space, no comb is ever built inside the mesh.

If you want photos, just ask - assuming of course that I'm allowed to post 'em as a newcomer to this forum.

All credit to the FatBeeMan for the basic idea.

LJ
 

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Of course we need pictures! Some of us are word-challenged but can read pictures like no one's business! ;)

If you're looking for a guaranteed leak-free, drip-free, and after 3 months of field trials I feel confident enough to say 'guaranteed drown-proof' syrup feeder - the solution is very simple.

It's basically an extension of the FatBeeMan's idea of using (what I call) a 'stairwell' leading down into a plastic container.
The difference between what I'm making and his idea, is that I use 2 x sheets of thin aluminium mesh (in practice, it's one sheet folded back on itself) separated by 8mm battens. This 'stairwell' can be in the form of a ramp or made vertical, and it's easy to install such a modification into frame feeders to eliminate drowning 100%. In addition, because 8mm is near-enough a bee-space, no comb is ever built inside the mesh.

If you want photos, just ask - assuming of course that I'm allowed to post 'em as a newcomer to this forum.

All credit to the FatBeeMan for the basic idea.

LJ
 

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Of course we need pictures! Some of us are word-challenged but can read pictures like no one's business! ;)
Ok - you asked for it... :)

A bit of a preamble (bear with me ...) :

Some time ago I settled on the use of six-and-a-half-frame nuc's - that's not as barmy as might first sound, for that number relates to the width: the 'half-frame' being a divider which sits in the box permanently, and is located centrally when the box is in 2 x 3-frame 'mating nuc' mode, and to one side when in '6-frame nuc' mode.
These nuc's have appropriately divided crown (top) boards, which have had 2 x 2" dia. holes cut in them to take overhead inverted jar feeders. I find that such feeders work well when over full-sized hives, as any drips due to changes in atmospheric pressure get quickly mopped-up, but can pool with smaller colonies with potentially disasterous consequences.

So - for some time now I've been looking for a *really good* solution to the syrup feeder problem to fit my existing set-up: for as many of you have found, they either leak, drip, or drown bees - and sometimes the bees even decide to build comb in them !

I then discovered the FatBeeMan design who, as you know, has been working on feeder design over many years. So by using his concept as a starting point, I was then able to develop the feeders which I now use. They may not look very elegant, but they don't have any faults - and after several months of field testing over both full-sized hives and nucs, I can report that there's not been a single leak, drip, outbreak of robbing, and not one single bee has drowned. Although I've been focussing on small feeder units (my design brief has been: <3.5" high, <3.5" wide, 1 pint capacity), the same principle can very easily be applied to full-size overhead feeders with a gallon or more capacity, or even Top Bar frame feeders. The only limiting factor is sourcing suitably shaped plastic containers.

Ok - enough chat - this is the 'Mark I' being trialed - loosely based on the FatBeeMan design - the problem here is that the container can't be tilted to endure complete emptying.





This is the 'Mark II' - now with a vertical 'stair-well' - again being trialed over a full-sized hive. It works perfectly and several are now currently in use over nucs.





This is the 'business end', showing the essential principle of the design: two sheets of aluminium mesh, separated by 8mm battens. There is absolutely nowhere for the bees to go - if one should enter the syrup, then one or other of the mesh walls can be used to haul itself out.





Finally, this is the brief I've been working to: each feeder must fit within the height of a single pallet plank (for ease of 'super/eke' construction), and within the width of a half crown-board, as shown.




Hope this has been of interest ...

LJ
 
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