Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ring the Dinner Bell -- It's Feeding TIme

One of the challenges of a top bar hive is that all the feeders you see in catalogues are designed for Langstroth hives. For top bar beeks, this means adapting a design or coming up with your own.

The first week or so, I played around with a couple of designs for an in-hive feeder. They worked well enough for the bees, but they also seemed to attract a lot of ants. 

About 4 days ago, I decided to try a design I'd seen on YouTube.

Instead of a 5-gallon bucket, I used a one-gallon bucket that I happened to have on hand. Do you think the bees like it??? I put it out two days ago, and they've drained it dry.

I'm probably feeding a few other creatures as well, but not too many I think. My girls don't really leave a whole lot of space for any interlopers to slip in. I've even seen them out there partying in the middle of the night.

There are a couple of features I don't like. Because of the position of the holes, there is always some syrup that just sits on the lid and doesn't seep into the "reservoir" cups. Also, there is a little bit of waste when I first invert the bucket until the "vacuum action" starts.

On the plus side, it's super hard to drown any bees like this, and I don't see too many ants hanging about the hive any more either. Anyway, I can't complain too much about this feeder since it was completely free, made from recycled materials.

If you keep bees, is there a feeder design that you like? I'd love to hear about what you use.

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