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Airstone bee feeder


#1

Thought I would show off the bee feeder I made. It’s cheap, quick, and easy to do. The best part is that it can be placed directly into the beehive.


#2

Your invention is pure genious! Bees can’t drown with your feeder idea. Does the bottom of the airstone leak? If you were to use it in the hive would it need to have a pan or something under it?


#3

It does flow a bit from the bottom but the bees lap it up around the sides of the feeder. There are airstones with plastic bottoms to avoid this if you want or you can just use a tiny bit of beeswax and smush it onto the bottom.

As long as you don’t have the bottle hanging more than an inch or two above the airstone the bees eat the syrup much faster than it flows out. Overall a good feeder especially when it cost like $5 to make including the $2.50 for the soda.


#4

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#5

I think this is a great idea, I do respect the consurns that “dextersshed” stated. Being new to all this I am taking it all in so keep it all up for all this is great


#6

I agree 100% with Dexter
Don’t do it.


#7

I would not use it to feed, but how good is it to supply water? Bees would not drown by the looks of this.


#8

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#9

@titankore, I was wondering if you had continued to use the air stone bee feeder that you demo’d in that video? Has it continued to work well for you? Any issues that you’ve noticed?

I think I’m going to use your idea to make a bee feeder for my hive, which is the Flow style. I can’t find a feeder that will fit under the arched roof. So the space is just empty, and the bees need to be excluded from there anyway. I’m thinking if I take a large plastic lid (like to the Costco sized jug of almonds or something) I can use that to create a small bee space above the hole in the center of the roof board, then just feed the air stone tube through the edge of the lid leaving enough room to feed the bees without encouraging burr comb.


#11

Here’s a pic of an inbuilt feeder I have on my latest bottom board prototypes.


The end of the hive body runs along the top of that 8mm slot. An inverted maple syrup bottle goes into that circular hole. You can see the wooden stop in the base of the hole. This locates the bottle so that 5mm of syrup runs into the feeder.

I’ll post some more pics showing the feeder in action if anyone is interested.

If it stops raining…


#12

I think I’ve worked out how to do a feeder under the roof, using an air stone and other household items. [ETA: this design isn’t perfect. I was trying to approximate the way a honey gate installs w/ the bottle top and freezer bag. It didn’t leak initially, but after a little while it has started to leak. I think I can find a way to fix the leak, but it will need a bit of troubleshooting]

Supplies:
13/64" drill bit (which is a little smaller than the tubing I have)
1 air stone
Some length of aquarium air tubing
1 gallon (or larger) ziplock freezer bag
1 large beverage bottle
1-2 lids (of various sizes) - A big one as the feeder roof, and a small one to sit under the air stone so syrup doesn’t drip
Some cedar shims
Nail file
2 screws or little screw-in hooks
rubber band or string

Steps:

  1. Drill a hole in the side of the largest lid (this will be the “roof” over the porter escape hole in the lid)
  2. Charge your drill battery, b/c you forgot to do this and then repeat step 1.
  3. Feed the air tubing through the lid
  4. Take that large bottle, and cut the top off. Leave more excess than I did (see pic) because it will probably be easier to handle that way. I cut the bottle top really close to the threaded lid.
  5. Run the nail file over the cut plastic edge, to smooth it a bit so it won’t be likely to cut into your ziplock bag.
  6. Drill a hole in the top of the bottle lid, feed the other end of the air tube through the lid. (I haven’t done this yet in the pic)
  7. Unscrew the bottle lid from the bottle top, drop the top portion into your freezer bag, place it where you want it, then snip a little hole in the bag over the center of the bottle top.
  8. Screw the bottle top on (nice and tight) from the outside of the bag
  9. trim the thick end of your cedar shims so they will slide in across the roof, creating beams to support the feed bag. (I haven’t done this yet either)
  10. Lay the bag into the top of your roof, secure with shims. ** I’m thinking it might be wise to make a floor for the bag to rest on, so it doesn’t fall through the shims as it empties. **
  11. Put the screws/hooks into the hive lid on either side of your feeder ‘roof’ (the big lid) and then strap that roof down so that bees can’t escape


#13

The traditional way is to accommodate a feeder in a shallow box (an empty super, if you like) placed on top


#14

Turns out my original ziplock bag had a hole in it (manufacturing defect, I suppose) up near the zip. So now I’m not sure if the bag leaked b/c of the bottle-top-gate I installed, or if the water was dripping out of the hole. I’m testing with a new bag.


#15

The problem I see with any syrup feeder on top of the hive is there will always be the risk of something going wrong and syrup raining down through the hive. Here’s another two pics of my integrated bottom board feeder.


Uploading…

If there is a mishap with mine, the syrup flows down and out of the hive.

If you really want to use the space above your flow hive for a feeder, why not feed caked granulated sugar. Michael Bush gives simple instructions for preparing this simple feed. From memory you have a thin board of some description to hold the cake and you then cover it with a thin layer of sugar. Mist water onto the sugar to dampen it and make it cake and repeat the process until your sugar cake is the right size.

The caking process is needed to stop bees carting out grains of sugar with their rubbish.


#16

That sounds like a good option, so I will check it out as well. Thanks!


#17

Only if you use a contact feeder.
If you use a rapid feeder there is no way the syrup can go anywhere except inside the bees


#18

Love the juxtaposition using a maple syrup bottle - rather tickled my fancy


#19

So it’s been a while. I did finally get my bees and had the opportunity to try out the air stone bee feeder. It’s actually working quite well. There are a few design changes from my earlier post. I ordered a doughnut air stone and water bladder from Amazon, then converted the bladder tubing down to air stone size with a connector and valve. The air stone tube can be popped on and off of the valve, so it’s easy to refill. I popped a hole in the lid that houses the air stone for bee access, then capped the ‘feeding station’ with a little copper wire mesh, and now my bees are climbing in and out without access to the roof of my flow hive. So the first time I filled it to about 1.5 liters and popped it on, then strapped on my roof, and the girls just about finished that up in a week and a half. The bag needs to be at the same height as the feed station, if it’s higher the pressure will just cause the syrup to overflow. At the same height, as the bees drink up, they are creating enough suction to pull more syrup out of the bag. Fluid dynamics in action. Science is fun!


#20

I’m not posting much these days but I will report on one little success. A few weeks ago I did a cutout of an aggressive colony under a fallen tree. I had built a battery powered vacuum system and this was a good opportunity to test it out.

I’ve rehived the bees in my home apiary and wanted to supplement their meagre honey stores. I built a little box out of 0.3mm aluminium flashing, sized to suit the underside of a migratory, 8 frame lid. The box was large enough for about 2.5kg of sugar cake.

The bees have now chomped their way through about half of the sugar. They are foraging our current melaleuca nectar flow as well. The colony is still very weak and I’m not at all sure it will survive the winter.

Fingers crossed.


#21

I have a trapout going on the same orchard where I did the cutout. The owner needs the bees gone so I have to move them even though it’s winter.

Today I took home five frames of bees from the trapout and there are still plenty left. Loads of pollen coming in, not bad for the first day of winter. I’m in the process of merging today’s bees with the weak cutout colony. I’m using a cut sheet of newspaper to merge the bees gently