This page is credited in full to Dave Cushman who created it. His voice is expressed in black colour text and any additions or comments in blue belong to myself. Credit: Dave Cushman’s website.
for supplying honey bees with supplementary food
Many types of feeder exist, but in the main they follow similar principles of providing a liquid in a protected enclosure so that marauding bees or wasps are not attracted.
As with many other items of beekeeping equipment the different types bear their originator’s or modifier’s name.
All of the types listed have been tried by myself, with the exception of the entrance feeders, and I can say that I found no problems with any, providing that they were large enough for the job in hand.
Drowning of bees is a problem in some feeders and gives rise to rapid propagation of Nosema. This can often be overcome by floating wood shavings on the surface of the liquid. Or by excluding bees from large areas of exposed feed by using mesh barriers that the liquid will flow through, but the bees cannot penetrate.
I use frame feeders for stimulative feeding and for bulk feeding I use the Bro. Adam type that I used to manufacture at Apex Enterprises. Simplicity is my main reason for these choices as simple designs are more readily kept from leaking.
I treat my feeders with linseed oil to help their liquid retention and I dip frame feeders in melted beeswax and then allow them to drain in a heated cabinet to remove any excess wax.
The Bro. Adam type is unusual as it has a plastic pudding basin as the outer cover for the feeding cone.
The bucket type, the so called ‘rapid feeders’ are very commonly used, but I have had less experiance of them than most, due to several accidents which I attributed to them, so I used other types ‘preferentially’ most of the time.
My thoughts on feeding, and I am talking about winter feeding. If you are going to feed, feed. Far too many faff about with a dribble here and a suppie there, and frankly it’s playing with the bees.
A good feed to my mind is in gallons, and a colony will shift 3 or more if they are hungry.
I use top feeders, that is feeders that sit on top of the brood box, and or, and yes I do use two types at times, frame feeders. Neither of these use holes in crownboards you will note.
My top tip? Feed like you mean it.