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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to bees since March 2020. Still learning as I go. I only have one colony (yes, I need more) and am not aware of other colonies nearby.

I am inside the city limits of Redding, CA which is in the extreme northern tip of California's central valley. Our summers here are extremely hot and dry and in a natural setting there would be a definite summer dearth. However, I am in an area with landscaped yards, flowerbeds, blooming shrubs, etc. Probably similar to every other small to medium city in California's hot interior valleys and much of the western U.S.

I would like to hear from beeks in similar situations (CA or otherwise) on the need for summer supplementary feeding. Do you summer feed pollen patties, sugar syrup or do the bees find plenty of resources in the neighborhoods? I know there will be a lot of variables and that I need to watch the colony's food stores but mainly I want to know if I need to plan on feeding or just be prepared. Thanks.
 

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The nectar flow in my area stops in Mid July and doesn't start back up again until the next spring, so I have to feed August to November and it is quite the pain. Luckily, the pollen flow never stops in my area so supplemental pollen feeding is rarely required. Flowering plants and shrubs generally contribute little to a wild flower nectar flow, it is mostly about the flowering trees that provide the bulk of the material. The best thing to do is to check your stores and even weight your hives if you can. If you notice their stores decreasing, then it is time to feed!
 

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The best thing to do is to keep an eye on their food supply. I am a suburban beekeeper in a city with strong agricultural roots, so there are plenty of gardens and flowerbeds. Here, when the flow stops they rate of honey making slows down, but they continue to bring in what they need. It could be different in Redding, and it could even be different on the other side of Redding.

Let's address something else about feeding. If you are a new beekeeper then you might have one of those piece of junk boardman entrance feeders. Whatever you do, do not use that for feeding during the summer dearth, you may as well put up a giant billboard that advertises to every bee within three miles "Please please please oh please come rob my hive, please I beg you, come robbing!" Feed from inside the hive. Be careful to never spill syrup outside the hive, clean it up if you do, and consider putting on robber screens when feeding during a dearth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Akademee, thanks for the reply and information. Interesting to hear about pollen continuing when the nectar stops.

JConnolly, Thanks for the reply. Good to hear that the bees are able to bring in what they need in the summer in your area. I suspect it will be the same here but I'll sure keep my eye on it. As for the Boardman feeder... you're right, I do have one and I used it this past spring with my new colony. I have since read that they can cause the robbing and you just confirmed that. Thanks. I have been reading and YouTubing about the various in-hive feeders and will need to get one or make one soon. Any recommendations? I may start with the old-school upside-down jars.
 

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If you have ever seen a honeybee in your garden before you got your bees then there are certainly other colonies nearby. There are other beeks in the Redding area on this forum.

An upside down jar inside an empty box is a common and effective way to feed. Go for it if you have the empty box available.

I prefer to use a shim made of 1x3 lumber to contain a ziplock baggie of syrup. Just fill the baggie 2/3 full and cut a few small slits on top of the baggie. I place the baggy in a foil tray to catch any spills, the disposable kind used for holiday dinners. Refilling is quick and easy, just open the top, put in a fresh syrup baggie, cut a few slits and close the lid. Taking just a few seconds, it's usually done before they realize their roof is open.
 

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If you have ever seen a honeybee in your garden before you got your bees then there are certainly other colonies nearby. There are other beeks in the Redding area on this forum.

An upside down jar inside an empty box is a common and effective way to feed. Go for it if you have the empty box available.

I prefer to use a shim made of 1x3 lumber to contain a ziplock baggie of syrup. Just fill the baggie 2/3 full and cut a few small slits on top of the baggie. I place the baggy in a foil tray to catch any spills, the disposable kind used for holiday dinners. Refilling is quick and easy, just open the top, put in a fresh syrup baggie, cut a few slits and close the lid. Taking just a few seconds, it's usually done before they realize their roof is open.
Hey...I'm gonna try this..just can't get a visual on your 1x3 "shim." Can you be more specific for a little old lady beek?
 

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or make one soon. Any recommendations?
Currently I am feeding nucleuses with this type of feeder:
Synthetic rubber Circle Electric blue Personal protective equipment Plastic

It is sort of new although it is ordinary vacuum feeder similar to boardman feeder. The difference is it is horizontal and not vertical and because of that it is taking less space in vertical direction and can be placed in ordinary top feeder (box).
 

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It is sort of new although it is ordinary vacuum feeder similar to boardman feeder. The difference is it is horizontal and not vertical ...
Eh ?
A vacuum feeder works by the presence of a meniscus hanging directly beneath the feeder jar hole which prevents air from entering the jar, thus holding the meniscus in place. When the bees slurp the syrup away this removes the meniscus, thus allowing air to enter the jar, allowing syrup to exit, until such time as the meniscus is re-established, which then stops the flow - a sequence which is repeated over and over again. That's how they work.

Where is your meniscus situated ? Without a meniscus there cannot be a vacuum ...
LJ
 

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Where is your meniscus situated ? Without a meniscus there cannot be a vacuum ...
LJ
There are two holes of 3 mm in width at the bottom side. Plus there is a "pocket" in front of holes which holds some syrup in it and that prevents air to enter the jar.

IMO you should just make that type of feeder and write review about it. The feeder has potential to be practical and useful, it is inexpensive also.
 

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There are two holes of 3 mm in width at the bottom side. Plus there is a "pocket" in front of holes which holds some syrup in it and that prevents air to enter the jar.
Thanks for clarifying that mystery :) It wasn't obvious from the photograph.
IMO you should just make that type of feeder and write review about it. The feeder has potential to be practical and useful, it is inexpensive also.
The secret for it's success appears to be in that particular type of screw lid - what did those jars originally hold ? I've not seen jars quite like those before.
'best,
LJ

PS - I've just realised that there's a rounded triangular recess in the lid - that''s where the hole is situated (?) - it's beginning to make sense now. Unusual jars.
 

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Unusual jars.
The jars are more of less standard, yet I pick jars which have diameter close to diameter of lid. In that way bees can take almost all syrup from jars.

I also have one plastic jar; works equally good. Tight connection between lid and jar is important and I wash lid and edge of jar because sugar crystals formed there can prevent tight sealing.
 

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These "unusual jars" are easily made from regular plastic water bottles (with all the same benefits). :)
Vacuum feeding really does not require a classic jar with a lid with holes in it.
Can be most any container of most any shape from most any material - as long as it can be sealed tight.
 

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Hi Greg - if that photo is enlarged a little, the structure of the cap becomes obvious: it's essentially two caps welded together (the plastic weld being very clear).



Exactly what purpose is served by the outer cap's triangular cut-out is completely beyond me - but it's presence effectively creates a small 'trough' outside of the inner cap when the jar is lying flat, so that all that's then required is the drilling of a small hole through the inner cap - the height of which will determine the level of the syrup within the trough. Same principle as the drinkers usually found in budgerigar cages. A very neat piece of re-purposing. :)

Pity we never see that style of cap over here - and I think they'd be far too much hassle to fabricate from two separate plastic caps. A pity.

Not sure how your 'drinks feeder' works ... does it use a similar principle ?
'best
LJ
 

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Hi Greg - ..........

Not sure how your 'drinks feeder' works ... does it use a similar principle ?
'best
LJ
Hey LJ,

Right, I got the idea of the "special" caps...
Clever thing but yet another piece of future trash to buy again - unnecessarily.

To clarify, I simply propose that it is not necessary to buy anything special (be it caps or whatever) to make a vacuum feeder to fit into most any space.

In "my" bottle feeder/waterer the caps are not used at all (however, the vacuum principle is used just the same; the cap must be tight).
These are more fit for stimulative feeding/watering vs. the large volume pre-winter feeding (which fits with the "summer feeding" context of the topic).

"My" - because this is not my design, but just another life-hack from repurposed trash I spied on the Youtube.
Cost of the device - nil.
Construction time - seconds.
One can select the feeder/waterer bottle diameters/types per their own circumstances.
The "equipment" is widely available and can be reused.
Heck, plastic peanut butter jars should work just well too (placed horizontally on the side if needs be).
Ziplock bags are another variant of the same.

Let me just drop a link to a sample video.
You can even turn off the unnecessary audio and just watch.

What I personally do different from the video (link below) - I puncture a hole and tape it over while the bottle is still empty.
Fill the bottle(s) at home and just take them along ready to deploy.
Take the tape off during the deployment (cleaner that way).
 

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Exactly what purpose is served by the outer cap's triangular cut-out is completely beyond me
It is just opening. I made tool similar to cookie cutters. The principle is vacuum feeder (what Greg described) "+" that pocket (or trough if that is better term). The purpose of pocket is to collect syrup until vacuum is established. It also prevents dripping; if nucleus doesn't take syrup there will be no dripping. Wide opening on jars means they are easy to wash and no problem with refilling also. These are some differences to plastic bottles, (I have used bottles as vacuum feeders).
 

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Greg - thanks a lot for posting that video. Seems I've been suffering from tunnel vision without realising it, by assuming that feeders can only ever supply syrup via their caps. That's why I couldn't immediately see how a drinks bottle feeder could possibly work. But - viewing those few seconds when the guy punched a hole in the side of the plastic bottle was education enough ! Such a simple idea - I'd never have thought of doing that - not in a million years ...
'best :)
LJ
 
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