Which feeder do you like to use?

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Haughton Honey

Drone Bee
Apr 15, 2009
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South Cheshire
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Lots of Commercial hives.......
Well, we're at that point in the year when preparations for winter are in everyone's minds.

I was just wondering what type of feeding 'device' people on here use - frame, contact, rapid, Ashforth, Miller etc etc - and what they thought their merits were?

I've tried a few, but have to say that I didn't get on with the contact/inverted plastic tub feeder as I always fretted about leakage (particularly with the recent wasp issue that I've been having of late!), so have opted to standardise with frame feeders in the (double) brood boxes throughout.

I use frame feeders and if feeing heavily use two, one each side.

I have used other top feeders but not the contact type as I have had issues with them in the past and trust them not at all.

I use one of these


don't know what it's called, but it works well and the bees seem to like it as they emptied it twice in a week :)

I was thinking of getting some frame feeders as the one above needs an empty super for it to go in...............comments please?

Yours Roy
I'm with Gingernut. 4ltr (or greater capacity) plastic rapid feeder, central entrance. I like it because I use it above the feeding hole in the crown board and can simply lift the roof of an evening and check how much has gone without togging up. You can also top up in-situ without disturbing the hive - do it slowly and the bees will just move back up the central cone. Drip a bit of syrup through the hole when you first install to let the ladies know there is a feed on the way. No big issue in my book of using an empty super as an Eke though Gingernut (which is what I do as well). The whole point of feeding is to either increase brood, increase stores or stimulate other activity, why take away space and opportunity by replacing available frame space with a feeder?
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Ashforth type. Homemade, as usual. An extra upright in front of bees access with a wood float so very few bees get drowned. So it is like a very shallow frame feeder parked on top of the hive, but relatively huge capacity beyond it, if you can picture it!!

Regards, RAB
If using a top feeder four liters is not enough.

When I took the bees back from the heather, and I am not going to debate this one, I stripped the brood boxes of stores combs. so left in a Langstroth would be two frames of pollen usually, a fresh foundation, and 7 mt combs.

Then the top feeder went on with two gallons of syrup and the next morning it was usually empty.

I then fed until they stopped taking it. If you are going to feed, feed as if you mean it.

Another thought, if the feeder relies on a hole in the CB it's too damn small it's a toy. Proper top feeders sit on the to of the brood box.


Rapid Feeder
Unbreakable platic. Holds approx. 4 pints of syrup. Centre cover prevents bees escaping. Can be refilled with ease without removing it from the hive.
Cost: about £5

(Thats what it says in the catalogue)
If you are going to feed, feed as if you mean it.

P.H. I am in complete agreement! and have found that with the rapid feeder it can empty over night - I then refill without disturbing the bees, fine for me because of location but where you have an unavoidable period between visits longer than it takes to empty the feeder then the capacity would be too small, horses for courses an' all that
sorry but i am with poly hive frame feeders are best for my girls in the bee shed but when i worked with bees as a proffesional we used to have home made top feeders with two feeding channels to get more bees feeding at once, each one held 3 gallons and we used to fill up using a 12 volt water pump and a car battery and a 50 gallon barrel in a wheel barrow frame
As a beginner I recently started with a contact bucket feeder and after it leaking syrup constantly and attracted robbing wasps, I then replaced it with a plastic rapid feeder as shown above. No more leaks, easy to fill and maintain, etc.

I tried to buy a Miller feeder, but no-one seems to have any for sale right now.

I'll never use a contact feeder again...
I am only familiar with the contact feeder.

Please can someone explain how the frame and rapid feeders work??

And what benefits do they have over the contact feeder in beekeepers' opinions?

A frame feeder is IMHO best as it is in the brood box. It replaces a frame, holds roughly three pints and I (if feeding heavily) use two.

The top feeders (set on the top of the colony NOT to be confused with the toys on the hole in the CB) hold roughly 2 to 4 gallons depending on size.

I detest holes in CBs as they let out heat and are to be despised.

Unless of course you only feed fondant,in which case you need no feeders,and a hole in the crown board is handy,as it allows the bee's to get to the fondant.But of course thats not deciding the merits of certain types of feeder.
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Ok, so the rapid feeder you can just place on the top of the colony and then presumably put a super over and a roof on that to keep it all in....? Am I right?

And with the frame feeder does it matter how much feed is in there?
What is to stop the bees from drowning?

I've been trying to research it on line but with no luck.
Frame feeder has a float in it so the bees can stand on it and feed.
I am in the process of pricing fondant from a local bakery so may give that a try later in the season. (I say later as we have balsom around here until well into october)
Are bees known to drown in it at all???

I know it's 20 questions, I just want to ascertain the pros and cons of each method.
I'm with Rosti on this one, rapid feeder it is, roof off, pour in the syrup, roof on, job done, no need for suiting up or having bees attack you because you took away their contact feeder to top it up.
Some bees will drown in frame and rapid feeders yes.

If a contact feeder packs in the colony goes.


Seem to be the odd one out again but have used contact feeders without any problems over the last 4 seasons on all my colonies. They are usually taken down over a couple of nights and then can be topped up again as required. Placed over the holes in the cover boards. All my covers have holes, without any problems.

Everyone to their own!

Indeed but your boxes will do better over winter with out holes. Better still with insulation over them.
Heat goes up and out.

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