Being engaged in beekeeping, it is important to carefully monitor the condition of bees and provide them with proper care. Among the mandatory procedures is feeding the bees with sweet syrup to stimulate the brood. To simplify the process, it is enough to have a bee feeder in your beekeeping equipment room. So every beginner beekeeper should know about types of bee feeders and the proper ways to use them.
Table of Contents
- Do I need a bee feeder?
- bee feeder requirements
- Types of material used for bee feeders structures
- 4 Types of Bee feeders
- Making bee feeder with your own hands
- What type of bee feeder is best?
Do I need a bee feeder?
The key purpose of any feeder is the regular feeding of bees.
There are different variations of such products, which differ in the device and features of operation. For their assembly, wood or aluminum sheets are used, which are not afraid of corrosion and are safe for the bees themselves. The design can be made rectangular by defining 2 compartments in it.
The wall inside is fixed in such a way that the top face is in contact with the lid, and there is a gap of 2-5 mm below for the free passage of sugar syrup. Top frame feeders are covered with glass or plywood. For convenient loading of the sweet mixture, a hole is made in the lid.
In addition, one more slot should be provided through which the inhabitants of the hive will get to the syrup. To attract bees, you need to drop a few drops of feeding composition at the entrance to the hive and on the foundation.
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bee feeder requirements
Regardless of the external features and internal structure, the feeder must meet the following requirements:
- Hold up to 4 kg of feed mixture.
- Perform their practical functions, supplying the bees with syrup.
- Protect bees from contact with sticky food leading to their death.
- Allow the beekeeper to quickly and easily check the amount of feed for timely replenishment of stocks.
- Block access to the syrup for bees from other hives.
If the Types Of Bee Feeders is not made according to the rules, it can be dangerous for the bees.
Types of material used for bee feeders structures
Bee feeders are made from different materials:
4 Types of Bee feeders
Let’s discuss Types Of Bee Feeders with pros cons and uses.
Ceiling bee feeder
This option is designed for multi-hull bee houses, because. it can be fixed under the ceiling. The feeder is made in the form of a rectangle, inside which there are 2 vertical partitions.
If the device is made from improvised means, you need to pay attention to several features:
- To assemble the internal partitions, use twigs and torches. But before assembly, you need to get a minimum experience in the processing of materials.
- Prepare an additional raft based on 4-layer plywood with dimensions 4 mm smaller than the feeder itself on all sides. The design is convenient because the bees do not get stuck in sticky syrup.
- Inside the box, make a canvas with a small gap. It will prevent the penetration of bees inside. To insulate the structure, glass or a pillow is used. To replenish the syrup, it is worth slightly moving the partition.
- Use special funnels to pour the feed composition into the feeder. The process will become as simple as possible if you first make a hole in the compartment.
Ceiling models are used in the summer when it is necessary to stimulate the brood of bees. For the first dressings, strained zabrus is suitable, from which bees will take honey and equip new cells.
In December, you can feed your family with loose honey, filling half of the feeder with it. After 2-3 weeks, it is worth checking the containers and replenishing stocks. This is repeated until the bees begin to make cleansing flights.
frame feeder for bees
The frame feeder is made in the form of a compact wooden container with an open top. In length and height, the model repeats the classic frame with honeycombs, but in width, it is larger.
The design can be installed in 2 ways:
- placing on a special bedding in the hive;
- hung on the wall at the nest on hooks or ledges.
The syrup is introduced into the feeder through a special funnel. To prevent the death of bees during feeding, it is necessary to fix a raft or a lattice inside.
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Top bee feeder
This box type is installed in the hive above the frames. The product covers the nest, preventing the bees from flying away. It has 2-3 compartments: one (8-10 mm in diameter) is intended for passage, and the rest are used as cells for storing contents.
To make the box, corrosion-resistant materials such as plastic, aluminum, or wood should be used. The feeder should be rectangular in shape and contain from 0.5 to 2 liters.
The wall in the box is fixed so that its upper face is in contact with the lid, and in the lower part there is a gap of 2-5 mm for feeding. The structure can be covered with plywood, glass, or other transparent material for easy monitoring of the amount of honey or syrup inside. The lid has holes for feeding.
The product can be fixed on the canvas in front of the frames, making sure that the slot for the syrup runs across the frames.
The syrup is poured into the box in a small stream, using an external hole for this. To attract bees before entering the hive, a little food is dripped onto the frames. Then the product is closed with a lid and a pillow for insulation.
outdoor bee feeder
Outdoor feeders are small boxes with a lid that opens and closes with hinges.
During the assembly process, you must adhere to a number of rules:
- Make a hole in the back wall through which the bees will suck out the feed mixture.
- In the box itself, install a bowl where the food will be stored. It should contain a raft that ensures the safety of the bees in the process of feeding.
The finished product is hung on the back wall or installed at a short distance from it.
The disadvantage of the external type is the rapid cooling of the contents, due to which it ceases to attract bees. It also becomes difficult for the beekeeper to keep track of the syrup level.
Other types of bee feeders
Some craftsmen make high-quality feeders from a simple bottle in a few minutes, with which it is convenient to control the flow of syrup. If necessary, the beekeeper can seal unnecessary slots with tape.
In the role of a primitive feeder, you can consider a homemade product based on a simple package. In this case, it is enough to pour the composition into a clean package and tie it tightly. After that, a series of holes should be made in the bag and lowered into the hive.
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Making bee feeder with your own hands
Before making a homemade feeder, you need to familiarize yourself with the principle of its operation, find and study the drawings. Next, it is worth preparing improvised means and materials that will not cause inconvenience to either bees or the beekeeper.
Materials and tools needed
To make a simple intra-hive feeder from a plastic bottle, you need to prepare the following materials:
- Foam blank.
- Knife with the sharpest cutting surface.
- bottle neck.
- Thick fabric material.
Step-by-step instruction build bee feeder
Bottle feeders are made according to the following instructions:
- Prepare a disk from a foam sheet, taking into account the size of the neck.
- Several holes with a diameter of 0.5 cm are cut on top of the disk. An identical distance is maintained between the furrows.
- A hole of 7 mm is formed in the middle of the disk, and grooves of 5 mm are melted on both sides.
- To increase the strength of the product, a spacer is made that will unite the bottom of the neck and the disk.
- Fabric is used as a filter element. Based on it, it is worth making a large circle and fixing the chintz with an elastic band. This will prevent accidental leakage of content.
What type of bee feeder is best?
When looking for different Types Of Bee Feeders options, it is important to consider the amount and time of syrup supply, the design of the hive, and the regularity of the beekeeper’s appearance in the apiary.
Experienced beekeepers say that a quality feeding nest meets a number of characteristics:
- Provides free access to syrup under different weather conditions. Bees should receive as much top dressing as they need.
- Without any difficulties, it is cleaned and treated with disinfectants. During operation, the feeders become dirty and require periodic cleaning.
- Prevents bees from getting wet. This can happen during feeding, when the wings and legs of the bees get caught in the sticky and sweet nectar.
- Minimizes direct contact of the beekeeper with bees when loading sweet food.
Given the above features, the beekeeper himself chooses the best option for a beekeeping feeder.