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Brought back 7 hives from a pumpkin field last sun. All were light on stores. Sooo, I decided to set up an open feeder (A plastic pail with a 1-1 sugar syrup mixed with an equal amount of hfc). Yesterday I noticed about a half cup of bees in a pile on the wooden grid in the pail. This evening there is probably 4 times that number. In the morning I plan on removing the feeder befor the bees are up & about. Does anyone have any idea what is going on? Pictures attached.
 

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dang the pictures.. full speed ahead.

we always called open feeding 'pot feeding' (ie you feed in some form of open pot which in our case was a metal barrel). almost always with pot feeding you are going to find a good number of drown bees in the bottom no matter what you do. the hungrier the bees the larger the dead pile and some health issues (nosema) may enhance the dead bodies in the pile. some folks reconfigure dog waters to somewhat limit this problem.
 

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Open feeders aren't the best way of giving food to the hives as your collections of dead bees prove. There are many different kinds of internal and external feeders available but the one that drowns the least bees is a frame of honeycomb filled with syrup.
If you've got built combs in the hives you brought home, try this:
prepare your syrup and put it in a bucket that will let you put a frame inside (one half at a time is also good). Shake the frame so that the syrup enters the cells. The cells won't fill but they'll pick up a fair amount of syrup. Let the excess drip off and place the frame inside the hive you want to feed. The bees will fix things up themselves.
You can also lay the frame on its side and SLOWLY pour the syrup over the frame, shaking it (a helper is best for this) so the syrup enters the cells.
One thing you could try, if you're the daring type (I never did this myself) is to leave these frames, after they've stopped dripping, hanging/standing outside, where the bees can come and "rob" the cells. It could get pretty wild and may teach your bees to rob, but you'll find a lot less dead bees when it's all done.
There could be a lot of objections to this suggestion--speak up and criticize if I'm off course. :dash1:
 

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Too much work. :D

I open feed with multiple boardman feeders on my back porch. It's easy, convenient, far away from the hives, and no dead bees.
 

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interesting set up BjornBee, very nice
 
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