Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Sugar water feeders


Has anyone tried to use a Boardman feeder with a new nuc?

Feeders for Flow Hives
Gaps on side of flow hive roof, is this normal?

I personally haven’t as they are renowned for causing robbing and you certainly don’t want a small colony having to fight off robbers. They would likely be overwhelmed


I am 100% new beekeeper. I installed my NUC Saturday. I am using a front entrance feeder. Yes I understand I am not able to distinguish my bees from robbing bees, but they don’t seem to have a problem. Yes I am in a major residential neighborhood homes about 10 to 15 feet apart. I have an 8 foot fence between me and my neighbor. They seem to be doing quite well since Saturday, I have refilled the bottle twice. Being a new beekeeper I did not want to open up the hive a lot looking inside to see if they needed more feed. As my mentor said to me yesterday we certainly want you to be a beekeeper not a “Bee keeper” meaning we want you to keep and maintain bee is we don’t want you to have bees in your backyard and you never look at i.e bee keeper. But he said every time you open up the hive especially a NUC you set them back a little bit. I want my NUC to multiply quickly and fill up the brood box. All weather conditions are different all areas are different. Personally for new beekeeper and wanting to lay eyes on everything, wanting to watch an entrance feeder would be a good thing. Maybe in combination with an internal feeder so that the above comment about robbing is lessened i.e. the stress on your hive. Having both would inform you that the internal one may be getting low as well.


Frame feeders are good too MD. and you can check them without opening the hive if you have a clear crown board. We just slide ours across slightly then fill using a funnel…and they hold quite a lot of syrup.


I see your point, and your mentor is right - every time you open a hive with smoke, you set the bees back a couple of days. However, I use a pail feeder on top of the hive, and usually I don’t need smoke to check it. I just put some #8 hardware cloth over the hole in the inner cover, then rest my gallon of feed inverted over that. I got a top feeder with floats to use this year, which I believe has a 2-3 gallon capacity. If they keep going through the pail very quickly, I may switch over to that.


Clever - I just happen to have a 2’ x 4’ sheet of polycarbonate in the garage! :smile:


I have a rapid feeder which fits over the hole in the clear crown board. You can refill by just lifting the lid and the bees are contained in the cone. The only thing I found was that if I made the syrup too concentrated it would crystallise…and block the feeder where the bees came to feed. So now I just make it slightly weaker and it is ok.


Do you like the Frame feeder? I have water in mine outside the hive - I ended up going for the Miller feeder style and bought a coulple of rapid feeders - the Millers don’t fit the Flow hives

Just so people know what we are talking about

Frame Feeder

Miller Feeder

Ashforth Feeder

Rapid Feeder

Entrance style Feeder

Contact Feeder


Valli’s contact feeder is what US beekeepers call a pail feeder. Boardman feeders are often a mason jar with lots of tiny holes in the lid. Like the pail concept, you invert them to feed bees. They may be stabilized by mounting the lids in a plywood board, or by having an entrance structure. Some people just balance the feeder between a couple of thick tiles on top of the inner cover.

This my hive top feeder:
It says 1.5 gallons capacity on the web site now, but the instructions said 2.5 to 3 gallons. I suppose I will have to check with some water… :wink:


I suddenly realised we were talking about a variety of items the new beeks would be scratching their heads over


Make your 2:1 2lb:1 pint rather than 2Kg:1L and you’ll avoid that.
The miller and ash forth are both rapid feeders. They just differ in capacity. I like the small plastic one, surrounded by insulation. It’s a blooming job taking a three quarters full miller or ashworth off the hive if the bees don’t take it


I don’t fill it too full but if I can stand and peek in first before lifting it is easier


Vinegar??? Can the bees tolerate it? When making toffee/caramel we use a bit of vinegar in the syrup to stop it crystallising - I know we don’t advocate boiling sugar because of HMF and it can be poisonous, but my understanding is the lower pH (acid) will break down some of the sucrose in table sugar into glucose and fructose, so there will be three different sugars present, and crystals will not form.


Before anyone gets too confused the 2 lb in 1 pint recipe is for Autumn feeding. For Spring feeding (and helping a new colony), most people use 1 lb in 1 pint.

It is also handy to know that when you make the 1:1 syrup feeding solution, you will end up with 50% more volume than the water you started with. So if I want to make one US gallon of feed (8 pints), I dissolve 5 lb of sugar in 5 pints of water. The end result is about 7 1/2 pints of syrup, which is close enough for me! :smile:

For 2:1 syrup in the Autumn, the volume approximately doubles when the sugar has dissolved, so for a gallon, I add 8 lb of sugar to 4 pints of water.


We like the Brushy top feeders also. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an eight frame top feeder on hand. I think we have it on order now. I was just wondering if any has been able to fit a Boardman front feeder onto the front board since it is a non-standard size.


Can you just be clear and do it in Kg because US pint is 16oz not 20 as in the UK and OZ - Europe use Metric as well


I got rapid feeders (see image above) because the 8 frame Lange doesn’t take the 10 frame Feeder.

Also if buying feeders that are Poly or Wood they need painting to stop rotting and getting into the material ie soaking into the Wood or Poly. Plastic feeders don’t need painting.


Oh Valli… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

OK, Spring feed is 1 liter of water to 1kg of sugar - this will make 1.5 liters of feed.

Autumn feed is 1 liter of water to 2kg of sugar - this will make 2 liters of feed. If you have crystallization problems with that concentration, you could try 1.25 liters to 2kg of sugar, in which case you will end up with about 1.1 to 1.2 liters of feed.

All clear now, Valli? :smile:

The bees don’t care about exact sugar concentrations. The concept is that Spring feed is closer to nectar, and Autumn feed is easier for the bees to store and dehydrate as the weather cools down. Some people use undissolved sugar, but I don’t want to start an argument about that here…


You’ll do to my head what all that carpentry did to :confused: you LOL


My bees get concentrated syrup whenever they need feeding. I don’t bother with ratios.
Plastic jerry can, half fill with sugar, mark level, fill to mark with hot water, shake.
And before somebody points out that strong syrup will be stored rather than consumed, then just don’t feed gallons; just enough is as good as a feast.
For winter feeding I like to get thymol into them so I would not leave them enough honey to last the winter. I add thymol to invert syrup which is even more concentrated than home made.