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Jordy 

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I bought one of those moulded plastic feeders (miller?) that sits on an eke covering the whole top of the hive just above the BB frames. The reason for this (expensive) purchase was that I was not going to be able to top up my usual rapid-feeder for a couple of weeks so needed to know that the bees were still able to take supplies onboard. I fitted it with the device with tiny holes both sides that only allows bee tongues to poke through, filled it with syrup in the wide section only, then off I went. Now, a couple of weeks later I have lifted the roof off to find the syrup hardly touched & having pulled off the device (with the tiny holes in) found it full of drowned bees! WTF??
 

oliver90owner 

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It may have been too cold for them to use sugar syrup at this time of the year in your location.

It may not be a good feeder - even if relatively expensive.

It may need less slippery sides so the bes can grip to exit the feeder without drowning.

I suspect the first, but may be wrong.

You do not give us much information as to the strength of the colony, or details of the actual frames to be drawn or filled, or even the number of boxes - others with the same feeder may be able offer more pertinent advice. I am only guessing.

RAB
 

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Rab what do you think a minimum temp would be for syrup to be taken,about 10c ?
 

Vergilius 

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Jordy,

Not an expert but I agree with RAB, it may be too cold where you are for syrup. Also, sometimes the bees need to know that there is syrup there to feed from and I'm not sure that those big feeders allow them to. If worried about lack of feed taken down either try candy or use a contact feeder for a few days.



Ben P
 
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Poly Hive 

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When I used large top feeders, Ashworths I think they were called though obviously home made, I dribbled some syrup down the access slot to let the bees know there were sweeties on the go up top.

Much below 10C and they will ignore it. Even frame feeders are pretty much left alone at that kind of temp.

If I am asked which is the best feeder I would not hesitate to say frame feeders, and I have rapid fed colonies with as many as four at a time, reducing to one as they topped up.

PH
 

MuswellMetro 

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i think i have the same feeder but no longer use it, i assume it is the one that is £6.17 plus VAT bee-smillie,

if it is then i found bees trapped unable to climb the shiney surface the first time i used it,but a bit of rubbing with course sand paper over the ridge, underside andinner part of the hole filled cover solved it, but cold or thymol vapour can also cause a problem, so i also insulated above it

i also found that the bees escaped under the cover, so i evenually screwed the feed over down, it is now confined to the pile of equipment in the shed, as i prefer 2lt rapid feeders because being part retired i can easliy inspect my hives every few days , and dont need to leave them with gallons of feed

dont find the other cover works either and if with fondant on tray and the large side holes and syrup in the other with small holes becuase the bees just get in the syrup
 
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Rosti 

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Jordy, sorry to hear you've had a bad experience. You may be able to improve the performnce with a bit of epoxy resin liberally dosed with sand lightly spread on the inner vertical surfaces. On the second point; Millers have a central feed point and double the feeding area compared to an Asforth which has the same feeding principle but with access at one end of the feeder. As various have said, probably too cold for syrup now but depends on local conditions. Certainly my last feeder came off this w/e since too cold for them to utilise. Its insulation and strap down till Xmas oxalic here in N Yorks.
 

drex 

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If the type mentioned by MM, I have 3.

2 worked fine, both for syrup and cleaning up cappings. One resulted in drowned bees. It was due to distortion of the bit ( with the holes) that goes over the top - it was not sitting down fully and leaving a gap for the bees to escape from at the ends. Found that fixing it down like MM described worked a treat. They are cheap and mass produced so prepared to tolerate it, now that I know it can be a problem and how to cure it.
 

Jordy 

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Thanks for the quick replies folks. However, my problem is not that the bees don't know it's there or the temperature. We having quite mild dry days up here so far & most days the bees are out working still. The problem is...why so many drowned bees? There are built in ridges in the 'Drop-in Feeder' (£16.50) for them to climb up & down on so grip wasn't the cause. They came they saw, they drank, they croaked!!!
 

Hombre 

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Miller, twice the feeding area as Ashforth, but with the Ashforth ensure that the weir is placed at the lowest end, assuming hives aren't exactly level.

As the temperature falls, lots of bees in the weir, but not a lot of feeding. Remove the cover and fill the reservoir with straw or grass. This allows the bees to get at it quicker and stay out of trouble.
 

jezd 

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Rab what do you think a minimum temp would be for syrup to be taken,about 10c ?
due to warm up in 2-3 days so it will get better for finishing syrup off
 

Vergilius 

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due to warm up in 2-3 days so it will get better for finishing syrup off
Yes, but it is not advisable to feed syrup for too much longer anyway as the bees may not have time to evaporate the excess liquid meaning that the syrup will go un-capped and ferment possibly causing the bees digestive problems whilst they are clustering. I would switch to fondant soon if very short on food.


Ben P
 

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Yes, but it is not advisable to feed syrup for too much longer anyway as the bees may not have time to evaporate the excess liquid meaning that the syrup will go un-capped and ferment possibly causing the bees digestive problems whilst they are clustering. I would switch to fondant soon if very short on food.


Ben P
Add thymol,tends to stop that problem of fermentation,but not sure how your going to stop the bee's collecting nectar from the ivy,or gorse even.
 
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thada1 

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I have one of the plastic tray feeders, which I hadn't used for a couple of seasons. Got it out, as my strong colony seemed very short on stores. After 24hrs, I had a peek to see how they were getting on - I also had a couple of dozen drowned bees. I had forgotten to put some rafts into help them get out. I could see them struggling to climb up the smooth surfaces. I used bits of wood, but I can see that lots of straw would be much better.
BTW, the edges of the moulding do eventually split, as I discovered this season. It was a somewhat messy experience for me and the bees, but a large roll of gaffer tape has sorted it out for the moment.
 

Jordy 

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Hombre may have hit the nail on the head as confirmed by Thada1.
Will try again with it next year but just going to finish off with a final fill
of rapid feeder. Getting fondant ready just in case of mid-winter emergencies.
Thanks guys. :grouphug:
 

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