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Drowning in Syrup Feed!!!

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FenBee 

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My bees swarmed last week and I collected them off a small tree in my allotment. Quickly put together a new hive I had ready, only had to build some extra new frames. Above the crown board I placed a feeder bucket with four pints of sugar syrup, this was in the ratio of 1lb of sugar to 1 pint of water, as recommended for a spring feed. I did this to help the bees to pull out the new foundation.

So, why have some bees drowned in the syrup feed? I re-checked my books and my buck was shallower than a fast feeder. What is the point of a liquid feeder if the bees just down in the syrup feed :svengo:
 

VEG 

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You dont say exactly what sort of feeder it is. Is it a bucket with a lid with gauze in? Or just a bucket with no lid?
 

FenBee 

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The previous beekeeper gave me this shallow bucket with a central handle and no gauze and stated it was a feeder.

Feeders are shown in the adverts on websites, but not in any great detail. I guess I need to do a hands on survey of feeders, as this one is obviously not a proper feeder for bees!
 

admin 

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Can you take a picture Fenbee ?
 

FenBee 

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OK here are a couple of snaps of the feeder, I have included the milk bottle for scale. I removed the feeder today as it's has been about five days now, since they swarmed and comb is being drawn.
 
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Jenxy 

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I reckon he was pulling your leg when he said it was a feeder.... I agree with Mr Trueman... it looks like a tool caddy..
 

FenBee 

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Mr Trueman, Jenxy, thanks for your reply. This is what I thought when I first saw the feeder. But I was given two, one for a friends hive - so I shall warn him not to use it. The former beekeeper was very sincere and seemed to me, to be quite knowledgeable too.

The reason why I did use it and thought it was OK to do so, is because of a picture I saw in a book, "The Complete Guide to Beekeeping" by Jeremy Evans. This picture shows a fast feeder, which is almost the size of a super and it is just filled to the brim with syrup, in this case from a watering can.

Should all feeder have a gauze to protect the bees from drowning? If so, how does this work with a changing level, as the bees consume the feed?
 

Poly Hive 

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Ok a couple of lessons here.

Plastic when wet is unclimable for bees.

Feeders need floats. To stop bees drowning. A float can be twigs or something fancier.

Best feeder is the frame feeder.

Buckets with no gauze can be made into feeders by making a series of small, note well... SMALL holes in the lid. When up turned there WILL be a small loss of syrup but it should stop. If not remove promptly.

PH
 

Jenxy 

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The gauze on a feeder is in the lid, you fill the feeder then turn it upside down... the bees feed from the upside down gauze. :)
 

FenBee 

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PH, Jenxy, thanks for the feedback. I shall buy a new feeder. I did initially try some dry twigs, from last years fennel, but the bees still drowned.

A proper feeder with gauze is the way forward, thanks!
 

MrTrueman 

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I use one of these rapid feeders, the Bees walk up the centre and then walk down the outside of the cone. The cup sits over the cone and stops then drowning. I didn’t like the contact feeders with the gauze. I also have an Ashforth for the winter.
 
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Nellie 

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WE had to take the contact feeders off the hives as they were leaking all over the place and starting to attract Wasps, small children and no-doubt every bee from miles around. Lovely idea in principle, not impressed in practice.

I've been using an Ashforth feeder and found that the bees still drowned in the damn thing. We cut down two pieces of dowl to go in the feed access slits to act as a float. Happy to report no dead bees at this week's inspection.
 

i.b.nuttz 

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WE had to take the contact feeders off the hives as they were leaking all over the place and starting to attract Wasps, small children and no-doubt every bee from miles around. Lovely idea in principle, not impressed in practice.
You have to press on the bottom with the heel of your hand to expell the air as you turn it over causing an air lock then they don`t leak
 

FROGDOGDIVER 

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I use one of these rapid feeders, the Bees walk up the centre and then walk down the outside of the cone. The cup sits over the cone and stops then drowning. I didn’t like the contact feeders with the gauze.
I also use the rapid feeders and have had no problems. You can top up your syrup without having contact with the bees. I topped my feeders up after work in the autumn with no veil on and gently lifted the hive lid then the feeder cover. The bees are all still contained under this. Mind you if you pour in the replacement syrup too quickly you wont give the bees there time to climb to safety and could drown a few so go at a steady pace and let them climb to safety.

If you make your syrup up in a 2 litre empty plastic milk carton its free, convenient and ready to go. The feeder takes the 2 litres to fill.

I tried the gauze contact feeders when I first got my bees and had problems with the syrup going everywhere which you dont want in the apiary as it will attract other insects and robber bees or wasps.
 

Nellie 

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You have to press on the bottom with the heel of your hand to expell the air as you turn it over causing an air lock then they don`t leak
*sigh* could be worse, could have fed them baked beans I suppose.

On the plus side the other two guys didn't know that either :(

I take back everything I said and blame the user instead which, as usual, is the cause of the problem.
 

Widdershins 

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I didnt know about the hand thing either!!! Why dont these things come with instructions, eh???
 

i.b.nuttz 

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Don`t panic its just part of the learning curve I didn`t know either until I was shown but that was a lot of years ago. lol
 

Hebeegeebee 

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I use popcorn tubs as bucker feeders. First of all, eat the popcorn or give it to the kids. Then drill a bunch of 1 mm holes in the midle of the lid. (I've still got the same drill bit after doing a few so it's easy!). Fill with syrup. Put on lid. Squeeze as you invert to expell air and stop squeezing once inverted. The bucket will suck in a bit of air through the holes and you're ready to put on the hive. Will also work with an ice-cream container, but I'm no so keen. You can check for leaks with water first.

Works for me. Costs a quid. Keeps the children happy too.
 

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