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Sugar water feeders


One of the joys of beekeeping is that it varies so much around the world, as you well know.

In the UK, there is enough rain that you don’t have to worry about giving water to your bees. In southern California, we have a long term drought. While we can provide pools and tubs of water for our bees, it seems that they are more motivated to take it if it has sugar in it - so I like to use the 1:1 formula for Spring feeding - they get the water needed to build new comb, along with the feed. Of course, I would prefer not to feed at all, but if a colony is new, or weak, I would rather feed than lose it.


Makes sense…


It was strange…Dee. I made the autumn syrup as per usual but one lot crystallised and blocked the feeder. So I must have miscounted the lbs of sugar…not surprising here as there are so many interruptions…kids, hubby, phone, puppies, a lamb which thinks it’s a puppy, dogs needing a cuddle, chickens…endless…


Oh dear, 3H what a terrible life you must lead :wink:


We’ve just come in from the barn…working to get the inside finished as we have livery horses arriving tomorrow. Freezing cold. Now I am making use of one of the dogs…wrapped in a blanket with a warm dog to cuddle.


I’ve been feeding bees with a half gallon fruit juice jar on the lid for many years. It is completely easy to monitor (I can see if they need feed from my back door!), easy to replace with more feed (rarely even wear a veil to put on a new jar), avoids tempting robbers like the entrance feeders do, and the apparatus is essentially free.


I wondered with these, do you take the Lid off the hive to place a full jar? ie is the lid of the jar attached to the migratory hive lid?

Or has it that specially fine mesh and it doesn’t leak


This may have already been a minute so please direct me to the response/post.

Do the entrance feeders drip/leak. Mine seems to when sun hits it it Seems to trip more than when he is shady


Just about all outside feeders will leak when they warm up - fluid and air in the container expands and so the pressure increases and the fluid will drip out. That is why I prefer in-hive feeders - no direct sun on them and more even temperature during the day. :wink:


There is a hole the size of the jar’s cap in the hive top that the jar rests in. You have small holes in the jar cap for the bees to drink the syrup from. You tip the jar, cap down, into the hole and it rests there very securely. It doesn’t drip because of the suction in the upside down jar and the small holes in the lid. The bees must actively suck on the syrup for it to come out. Mine are sucking down a quart a day.

In fact, my bees are going through about half a jar a day. I have to replace the empty half gallon jar every two days. The picture shows an empty jar that I’m about to replace with a full one. I think you’ll find this by far the easiest and most efficient way to feed them syrup.


This picture shows the hive lid with the hole, half gallon juice jar and the jar lid with the feeder holes punched in.

A big advantage is that you don’t keep drowning your bees like the inside feeders do. Read the reviews on those feeders. Those feeders are pretty deadly.


have you used the mesh ones?

I have top feeders - I filled it 3 times (5lt) before winter and had 7 good frames of “sugar nectar” for the winter - they are still finishing it but are brining new nectar now - I’ve seen newly capped stores


Thank You. Yes I thought it was the fluid expansion that was causing it. This is where experience comes into play in learning. Can’t read or understand everything until you experience. Thank you


Ah…then it’s what we call a contact feeder. Thousands here swear by them. You can’t use them if it gets cold at night or the syrup drains into the box.


In the winter, we use 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. It’s way too heavy a syrup to freeze even in the coldest weather. The syrup never drains into the box because it has to be actively sucked from the bottom to leave the suction of the jar.


That’s true. If I put any spare in the freezer it always stays sort of gloopy. In the winter our bees are largely asleep. In late winter and early spring if they run short and it’s still cold they get fondant.


I own every feeder shown on this page. My favorite is the one Dawn shared a link to from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. It drowns the least bees and gets the feed to them fast. Upside-down jar feeders will sustain a hive but if you’re wanting to grow a hive using syrup 100’s to 1000’s of bees need to be able to feed at the same time.


Spamalicious this mrbeesmart is.


The spam is strong in this one.


Worry not, Luke. Monty Python will avenge Yoda soon, of that, certain you may be. :smile: