Saturday, February 9, 2008

Feeder Inspection

This is my Beemax top feeder; it was part of my initial beekeepers starter kit. The advantages of having a top feeder:

  • Ease of inspection – I’ve learned how much my bees will tolerate my presence. It’s also a good idea to learn the signs of when the bees have had enough of it. It’s especially important if, like in the video, you are not wearing any beekeeping defenses.
  • Quick refill – Lift and pour in the syrup, it doesn’t get any easier than that.
  • Provide large amount of syrup. – It’s hard to see that there is anything in the feeder. The best sign is when I dip the leaf in it. Believe it or not, there is over ¾ of a gallon in the feeder.
  • Sloped feeding chamber - Which I noticed for the 1st time while making the video, it’s sloped towards the bee’s feeding area by at least ½ inch. The syrup is always going to flow the proper way.
    The bee at the end of the video is one I rescued from one of the water moats. She was flying from behind me coming around my right towards the entrance of the hive. I lifted the top and she flew right into it and then bounced right into one of the back moats. A rescue was the only right thing to do. I ended up placing her and her pollen load (what was left of it) on top of the hive, where she began to dry herself.

Quick review of why I’m feeding.

  1. Create an artificial honey flow to trick the hive into building up before the real natural flow. ( about 4 to 6 weeks away)
  2. My purchased queen should be here the second week of March. At that time the hive should be strong and more than ready for a split. The current hive should have ample time to recover from the split, and be ready for the real honey flow.
  3. The split I’m creating I will try to introduce to my TBH

Advantages can also create disadvantages. Nothing is perfect.

  • It makes it too easy to inspect which is just an invitation to go intrude, set a camera and video tape.
  • Notice all the bees at the syrup level. Pour more syrup too fast and all those bees are going to go for a swim.
  • Large amount of feed is an invitation for everyone like the Small hive Beetle in the video.
  • I’ve never seen a bee drown in the feeder, but after video taping the one bee struggling to get out, I can see how it could be very possible.

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