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Hey guys, I'm looking for a better Feeder setup. I got yellow screened plugs from "better bee", which came with no info on suggested use. A 2 inch hole saw leaves a hole just a bit too loose (plug stays in, but it takes all of an hour for all the contents to leak out of the 2 gallon bucket). A 1 7/8 hole saw is too small for the plug to fit into the resulting hole at all. I use duct tape to get a tighter fit, but the results aren't consistent. I'm better than I used to be, but still ruin 1 love d in 20 every time I feed (lid cracks when pushing the plug in). The buckets are 2 gallon plastic buckets from home Depot. They're ok, except they get brittle after a while.

Before going with the plugs I would just drill holes in the lid. Worked great once, but under the best of circumstances the lids are a pain to remove to refill, and I'd break about 1 in 3.

What are people using to make top feeders? Please be specific about where you get the buckets, plugs, etc. Or if you use these better bee screened plugs like I do, how do you get them to work properly? I was thinking about a 1 15/16 inch hole saw, but i'd have to order it on line, and it gets old ordering or buying hole saws to find they don't work.

Thanks
Matt
 

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Mutts.
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Do not know much about feeders, but have used hole saws in various materials for decades.

Unlikely they designed the screened plugs to fit an odd size so I'm guessing your holes are slightly over sized. First try using a block of scrap wood under the plastic lids while drilling. This keeps the pilot bit from 'sloping around' as much. If you already did this, then make sure your hole saw is not bent. Tiny bit out of round will make an over sized hole.

A drill press will help if you have access to one. Thin materials with a hand drill never has time to find its groove and run true before your all the way through.

Last, before I bought an expensive odd sized hole saw for plastic I would get a cheap new 2" hole saw and grind some of the outer 'set' off. Little bit at a time. Testing on a scrap lid until you get the fit you want. Never be able to saw thick stuff but you do not need a 'set' to saw thin soft plastic.
 

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6a 4th yr 9 colonies inc. 2 resource hives
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2nd year 6a and super fussy about top feeders. I landed on the rapid feeders (2 liter) that can be purchased on ebay. Biggest downside- escapees under the cup when they run dry. They also come in rectangular 1 gallon. Very little drowning or leaking and since its internal it keeps robbing pressure down. Pails irritate me because I can’t easily see how much they are taking and some leaked.

Someone here should be able to help you MacGyver your situation though if you want to continue with pails. I read that some use silicone caulking or purchase the mesh screen embedded in top from betterbee.
 

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Try a forester bit, much more precise than a hole saw. I know they’re for wood but what your using it on it’ll last a while. Get one from Home Depot or Lowe’s and take it back if you don’t like what it does.
 

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2nd year 6a and super fussy about top feeders. I landed on the rapid feeders (2 liter) that can be purchased on ebay. Biggest downside- escapees under the cup when they run dry. They also come in rectangular 1 gallon. Very little drowning or leaking and since its internal it keeps robbing pressure down. Pails irritate me because I can’t easily see how much they are taking and some leaked.
All good points. In my experience, feeders (of whatever kind) are one of those beekeeping items you just need to keep plugging away at testing until you find a type which suits you and your own way of working.

Over the years I must have tried just about every type there is - and I found re-filling to be the biggest headache. Those with restricted access always managed to drown bees, mainly due to 'crowd control' issues, when the crowd pressing forwards towards the arrival of fresh syrup would prevent those who were already feeding at the trough from becoming under-water (more correctly 'under-syrup'), and thus unable to reach air at the surface. Another problem I found was bees drawing comb within feeders who's design allowed this to happen.

The only type I've found to be completely 'drown-free' are overhead feeders,and even these have their wrinkles. I've found overhead inverted jar feeders to be about the best: they're cheap (as in 'free'), but unless you can score BIG jars, they can require multiple visits to supply enough syrup. So - I've settled for four jars over full-sized boxes (totalling around 1/2 gallon) and two over half-width boxes (usually nucs/small colonies). These have proved themselves 100% trouble-free, but do require frequent visits for re-filling.

Placing the jars over mesh is favoured by many, but I prefer to leave open holes as my girls display a tendency to propolise mesh placed within that area. However, open holes in the Crown Board (Inner Cover) then do require a careful method of re-filling the jars - sliding a thin but rigid sheet of plastic under the jar before removing it, then sliding it away after replacement - a technique far easier done than described. Open holes also allow small jars of fondant to replace the syrup, as and when required. Contents of the feeders - whether syrup, fondant or damp-set dry sugar - can very easily and quickly be visually checked through clear glass.

I find it's a pretty good system for around two or three dozen hives, but wouldn't expect it to be attractive for much larger numbers.
LJ
 

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I use 1/2 gallon mason jars on top with open hole also.Pull the jar off easy and dont have bees flying up in my face.Also holes close to the front.Syrup wont run out on top of the brood nest that way.Quarts for smaller hives and even pints for 2 frame nucs.If your containers are too big they can dribble more than your bees can take up when the day time temps heat up.Once you could buy the stainless round mesh screens and silicone them on the lid of your bucket but I dont know if they are available now days.Buckets seem to dribble a lots of syrup before the vacuum builds up to stop it.
 

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Call Dee Basco (BascoUSA). Order Paragon 2 Gallon pails WITH metal handles. Buy SS extruder screens(I can find contact). Set up a drill press/mill to drill hole with hole saw in middle of lid. Find a round chunk of Al the size of the screen, a heating element from an old coffee maker, some teflon tape,and a light dimmer. Weld the SS screen to the lid with the heated Al round.


Crazy Roland
 

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I use a 3 inch hole saw, feeder lids intended for Boardman feeders. I make migratory covers of plywood with 1x2 ends, drill a 3 inch hole, staple #8 hardware cloth on the inside, use an inner cover, put migratory on, set quart or pint feed jar on top, cover with a medium box and telescoping cover. No reason I couldn't drill 2 holes or 4 holes for the quart jars, except the hives are virtually in my back yard and I can monitor feed fairly easily.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Gypsi, my nuc feeders are very similar except that the 3" hole is cut into the inner cover. Pint can be covered with a medium box, quarts require a deep. The #8 hardware cloth provides a base for the jar to sit on and keeps the bees on the inside when all I am doing is feeding and not wearing any protection. I place the inner covers upside down which gives me an extra 3/8" space above the topbars to place a pollen patty. No additional feeding shim required unless I put on sugar bricks.
 

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Mason jars are a close 2nd. To get super picky I think you need 3 types for different conditions, 1) dearth- trickle feed to avoid starvation but avoid swarming, starvation and stagnation, 2) spring buildup but avoid backfill of the broodnest and 3) fall- pile on intentionally backfill the broodnest. I spend $$ here on Prosweet to fatten bees and to avoid crystalization.

If you know your goal you can pick your feeder. For selfish reasons I like to watch them eat. Built feeder shims within a quilt box. All 5 have spent time up there in emergency feed. However when they are getting cleansing flights and forage for water they go back down to liquify honey in their combs.
 
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