Feeding is NOT Fun!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Crofter, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I am sure some commercial operations have a good system to get the syrup to the bees with less trouble than I have. This time of year any syrup is instantly discovered and any of your feeding gear gets covered in bees. The bees follow you into the house or workshop and drown themselves in hordes in a few seconds if you have a top off a feeder or the tiniest gap under a cover. A few spilled drops and you have every hive robbing!

    Making syrup on the kitchen stove is a nuisance too. Real easy to scorch or boil over. I can certainly see why people choose to leave honey to spare rather than the bother of feeding even if honey is 10 times as valuable per pound as sugar. I didnt intend to feed but with mostly splits and grungy weather most of my hives are lighter than I want to risk wintering.
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Sugar will dissolve at 2 to 1 with hot water out of the hot water tank you just need to stir it a little longer. what type of feeders are you using? Some keeps I know use flower watering can watering as they can remove the cover with one hand and poor and fill the feeder out of the spout with the other hand, resulting with less spills.
     

  3. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Apparently, my area does not have as many bees as does your locale. I don't have near the robbing issues as do you. But, I hate feeding. I am willing to leave more of my harvest to the bees to keep from feeding. Like you, I worry about spilling syrup and drawing robber bees. I have such few hives, that when I absolutely have to feed, I mix the feed in jars and take it to the hives. If feeding was a daily occurrence in beekeeping, I would sell my bees today.
     
  4. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Nah I can't blame it on feral bees; just my own 8 hives are enough to get the ball rolling. One overwintered hive not split gave me 4 mediums; it will be OK. Two other splits gave me one medium honey each and they would probably be OK. No honey taken from the rest but they have been robbed a bit of frames of brood. They are a bit light. First frost about 2 weeks away. Just a short season and a rather poor one at best.

    Next season should not see as many splits except cut downs to head off swarming. Also should have more drawn comb. Yes, sometimes bees seem to not be worth the honey!
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Next season should not see as many splits except cut downs to head off swarming. Also should have more drawn comb. Yes, sometimes bees seem to not be worth the honey!
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Frank are you sure that this shouldn't be; on 'the lighter side'?[​IMG] Best of luck!
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Well Ray there are times it is hard to tell whether or not I have gotten to the fun part or not! I have tried some different things, so many ways not a really organized system worked out like some of the old dyed in the wool keepers here can run on auto pilot. Hive top feeders are no fun if you want to go down into the boxes below. It is hard to make them bee proof and the resident bees and the opportunists mix it up immediately when you lift one off and before you can set it down and get it sealed. I think maybe the old gallon paint can or iced cream container with holes in the lid is a better and certainly cheaper alternative to hive top and frame feeders.
     
  7. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I have hive-top feeders on mine. I have added a ventilation screen on top of the feeders with the telescoping tops propped open for air flow. The screens keep the outsiders out. So all I have to do is slide the telescoping top over, pour the syrup through the vent screen, and move the telescoping top back into position. I use plastic Kroger tea gallon jugs to deliver the syrup (one/hive)

    2013-08-09_18-40-46_952.jpg feeder1.jpg screen1.jpg
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    frank,
    the best way i found to feed bees is a one gallon pail over the inner cover.....fall 2:1; spring 1:1.
    spring feeding one to one is right out of hot tap water, fall a little more work.
    fall feeding mixing sugar syrup......i line the one gallon pails up on the kitchen counter and pour half the sugar in all of them. i put two in the sink at a time (double sink) run hot water, and fill about half way. stir. already have a boiling pan of hot water going, doesn't have to boil, and add that hot water to the pails in the sink, all you have to achieve is no crystals in the pails, good to go. so you add a little hot water to the hot tap water, move them out, do another two, repeat the process for the number of pails you are preparing, and as they are setting while doing others, the crystals dissolve, stir, put the lid on. let them cool off enough to flop it over on top your inner covers to feed the bees. this shouldn't take long or top and stir with some cold water. when i take the pails out to the bees, i take an extra 5 gallon pail with me, i invert the one gallon pail over the 5 gallon pail to catch the initial syrup that flys out, and i know my pail is working properly with no leaks, set it on top the hive, done. no leaks, no syrup all over creation, no syrup spilled anywhere on the ground......

    i put an extra deep over these pails, i can visually check to see the contents of these pails without going into the hive.

    ps, it's my kitchen and i can really make a mess.......:lol:
    (actually i don't. this works quickly with minimal mess unless you are like mr river and you can't pour sugar from a bag into a one gallon pail and don't tell him i said that....:lol:)
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    perhaps you may find this an odd statement Frank but I kind of like feeding bees and I kind of enjoy discovering new ways to feed bees. I have to guess this interest came to me years ago when we were open feeding (we call it pot feeding at the time) in very large volumes and at the time thought there just had to be a better way. my preferred and easiest means of feeding is a hole cut in the lid just the size of a quart mason jar <I may play around this year with doing a variation of this with other sizes of containers. we can of course feed all winter long so one obvious advantage I have here is that feeding does not need to be done within such a restricted time frame.
     
  10. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I have fed over 200lbs. of sugar so far and getting a bit better at sliding the top just a bit. The flower watering can was a good suggestion and limits spilling and open area the bees can get into. I want to get a larger boiler I can use outside to get away from making the syrup on the kitchen stove. My son uses a propane turkey deep fryer. He is trying to feed up about 20 hives.

    Last spring I was complaining about too much honey being left. I was trying to get the hives to 160 lbs gross weight the previous winter and it appears that is more than my Carni style bees need here. Presently my 2 deep hives are close to a 120lb average gross weight. I would like to see them 10 lbs heavier. The moistened sugar top of the frames and under a top quilt of shavings let them access it on one light hive last year so I still have that method in the bank. We are getting close to first frost and I hope past any swarming.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    of course feeding 1 to 1 means I can often mix up water directly from the water heater and this seems to work just fine when I only need small volumes of syrup. for larger volumes (or if I was mixing thicker stuff) I use a propane burner and an old stainless steel beer keg with the top cut off and a valve tapped into the bottom of the keg. I use plastic 5 gallon 'gasoline cans' which I can fill directly from this valve without ever pouring the liquid itself. my wife was very much pleased when I moved the syrup making off the kitchen stove and out of the house.
     
  12. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    Speaking of wife wanting to move the mixing of sugar for the hives, my wife has ask me to do the same thing, why is this? I'm not making a mess or anything if I do I clean it up, maybe I should let her make it for me, nah I better find a way to do this. I have a camp stove, so I think I will try it to see how it goes.

    Ken
     
  13. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Tec, I have one of those beer kegs that I have been keeping for something.. Good idea. I think a propane flame makes a much more even heat on the pot bottom than the rings of an electric element. I am trying to fully invert the sugar and acidify it while keeping it as thick as I can to speed drying down and you have to be careful not to color the syrup. I got one new pot this year that is 20 qts and has a double bottom on it. It does not hiss or sing like the much cheaper thin stainless pots. (it is nicer too for blanching the kernel corn for freezing as it scorches easy too; that is how I justify the purchase, lol!) I dont like leaving the pots on the stove to cool as it takes forever, and I dont like carrying them hot (dont really trust the handles for the kind of weight you get with a pot full of saturated sugar syrup) Just like the time to trip over a pet too.

    It seems every time you open a bag of sugar some loose falls out of the folded flaps. Unless you really clean up it turns into sticky spots that can be irritating to the person not necessarily in love with the whole idea.
     
  14. cheezer32

    cheezer32 New Member

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    Dump a 25 lb bag of sugar into a 5 gal bucket, then full it with tap water hit as it gets. That's the ratio I always use and it works well. I just put out 2, 55 gallons drums of syrup today for one yard. Put some floats in them and open feed easy easy. No robbing because there all focused on the drums. At least that's how it's worked in my experience
     
  15. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    I've got to start feeding at the ranch apiary. I hate feeding. I would rather be whipped with a dead squirrel. I going to use gallon plastic buckets set on top of the inner cover with a blank hive box to cover them. Oh well, "in everyone's life a little rain must fall."