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Set the feeder on top of the colony, fill with syrup, cover with the inner cover, and replace the top. There are two separate compartments both of which have plastic floats to keep the bees from drowning. Center access insures bees can always reach syrup. It is important that all upper entrances be closed when using a top feeder. Robbing bees entering from the top and fighting is often the cause for excessive drowning. Capacity is over two gallons.
Note: Due to size of feeders. every 3-5 will have to be shipped at the 45 lb. dimensional rate. Shipping will be adjusted and customer will be contacted with new total for approval prior to order being shipped.
Ive had these top feeders and the Mann Lake top feeders and have used them both. These feeders are better. Bees get stuck in the screen on the other feeders and they drown. Not with this unit. Make sure the floats are in right side up and make sure they float properly when you fill it with syrup and this thing works great. I just got some of their nuc top feeders as well and they are working great.
- Ed, NJ
the only problem I see with the product is the fact that the users are new beekeepers. use a little common sense and you will have better results. this is the best designed feeder that I have used and will use no other. all my hives have given me their seal of approval, increased population, comb production, and food store generation. I lost no hives in the last severely cold winters in central Indiana. I believe if you have trouble with product it is the users negligence. strong words but I stand by them.
I have kept bees for over 40 years. Yes, some of us remember when there werent nearly as many problems or pest. I made my living from them for years and supplemented it for many more.
I am absolutely astounded that so many people seem to panic at the loss of at least 200 bees or even a few thousand.
This is a good and decent company. Ive used this very feeder and many like it for years. Theyre simply the best for a multitude of reasons. Reasons that far outweigh the loss of a few bees. The main drawback isnt even mentioned in the reviews and that is that they are a little hard to afford in an operation of any real size.
I will not waste my time trying to educate the populace other than to say this:
If youre colony of bees can not sustain a loss of the afore mentioned numbers something is dreadfully wrong. Does anyone out there even know how to estimate colony strength? How many bees there are to the pound in the packages they bought? Do they realize that the population of a package will fall off before it begins to rise and sustain itself? Its the very nature of the age of the insects involved in its make up. How many bees it takes to cover one side of a deep frame? How fast a population is replaced completely durring a season? Why do you keep bees? Where did you learn how? How long did you teach yourself or seek knowledge before you started your first two colonies? Please dont tell me new comments are trying to keep just one.
Educate yourselves. Period. Know of what you speak. Read books. They have bindings and pages - no keys. They are proof read, edited and the content tested. Many were first published in scientific journals. Read the journals also. There are literally thousands of books. Just because some were written in the 19th century or earlier does not mean they are without profit. Just because they cover a specific subject in beekeeping you never plan to participate in doesnt mean you shouldnt or dont need to know the valuable information between their pages. Read all you can find, borrow or buy. Talk to people that have experience. Real experience. People that know of what they speak and arent merely speaking. Read. Learn. Listen. All of this takes time. There is no instant gratification in beekeeping. You are the future of beekeeping and it looks bleak enough without its main product turning from honey to the propagation of ignorance.
New beek has dubious experience
Let me start by saying, “I’m a new beek and learning as I go”. After waiting three days, following the installation of an Italian package, to verify the queen was released, I found most of the bees up in the feeder - and along, the wide passage leading down. During installation, I had provided sugar water to only half the feeder - the thought being to make it more manageable during inspections and to mitigate anecdotal bee drowning stories reported here by other customers. I found almost no bees down in the frames, I use foundationless frames, and they were not trying to draw comb there. Instead they seemed to be trying to draw comb, horizontally, all over the dry side of the feeder and along the access slot. Although much sugar water had been consumed from the wet side, many bees had drowned there - in three days, the level had dropped low enough to where the floats had bottomed out. So after attempting, unsuccessfully, to smoke them down into the hive, I added more sugar water to the wet side and buttoned everything up. I’ll return in about four days to do a 2nd inspection.
- D. Moseley, IL
Impressive design & construction – but leaks
I water tested the unit, right out of the box. It developed a slight leak after 5 minutes in one of the outer corners. BMBF did the right thing and immediately shipped me another, no shipping charge, no requirement to return the defective unit. Unfortunately the 2nd unit had three leaks – at an outer corner and at two inner corners. At this point, I decided to repair the units myself, using J-B Weld - ClearWeld Quick-Setting Epoxy’. This product performed a 100% repair and dries clear to match the existing finish. Prior to application, I roughened the immediate area, using #150 wood sandpaper. I will deploy the feeders in April - Illinois, and I appreciate the many suggestions found here!
- D. Moseley, IL
Only Feeder Style I Use
I have used this feeder with the wooden floats exclusively for six years. From time to time I have had bees to drown in substantial numbers. It can be due to a lot of things, virus infected bees, too many bees trying to feed all at once in a pretty full feeder will cause the floats to sink partially, floats sticking or getting hung up on the sides, etc. For the most part any colony that cannot overcome a few hundred to a few thousand dead bees while being fed has issues in the first place. I like the way the bees chase the SHB into the feeder and keep them corralled until I can smash them with my hive tool. It is easy to fill and can be left on during the winter allowing condensation to collect in the empty feeder so the bees have inside access to some h2o during the winter when they may or may not be able to get out. I do prefer the wooden floats and will or would make my own rather than using the plastic ones, they sink quicker with less bees piled in. I would also beef up the thickness of the floats so they could hold up more weight. It is also important to give the first few feedings on new floats with small amounts of feed so the bees can coat everything with wax and propolis. This ensures the floats dont waterlog over time.
- c hart, VA
Trust me - add Screen to the floats!!
The days after my install, I did an inspection and found my feeders full of dead bees. Therefore, I made the following modification - I added screen over the floating docks that came with them. I will give it a week and see what happens. I bet I lost 200 bees between the three feeders.
- Tom Martin, FL
Doesnt maintain bee space
Conceptually good product, floats do a reasonably good job of reducing drowning there is still some. However, gap between feed areas is wide and bees will continuously build come and make a mess.
Weve got 7-8 of these that have the wooden slats in them. Ive seen the newer ones and they look like they are a better design. We put regular metal screen on top of the slats to reduce the danger of any of our girls drowning.
If you 1/4 fill it BEFORE you install it the first time you give the bees a chance to sense the syrup before any trouble can start. Whenever you add syrup do it only a little at a time. This is a great product that will give you years of service providing you use a little common sense and carefully fill it slowly every time.
Remember to add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and/or Honey B Healthy to your SS mix to prevent mold build-up.
Fees Beeder :p
Overall I was very satisifed with this product, however, there are cons to this design just as there are to all the others. I had purchased two feeders and found them to work quite well except for one that had been delivered damaged only allowing me to be able to feed from one side, eventually I used ziploc baggies filled with feed in the inop side. I liked the fact that I could feed my girls without interrupting the colony below for the most part, I used milk jugs to refill the feeders, I did find that I had to pour slowly my girls wouldnt get trapped under the floaters and die. I found that I was less likely to drown bees if I refilled the feeder before it had ran empty from the last feeding, otherwise the girls would be eating any leftover sugar under the floaters and get trapped, so instead of just puring the solution over them, I would end up taking the feeder off and shaking them off before filling the feeder. This process worked okay in the summer/early fall, however, this wasnt practical once the temps became cooler. Unlike some of the others commenting, I did not find there to be many bees drowning, if any at times, maybe their rafts are not contructed as well? If I had to change something, I would add a hand grip area like the supers have to make lifting this off the hive easier.
- Amanda, NY
OK price, decent performance
Overall this gets 3 stars from me. A couple improvements I would recommend though.
1. gap in grate needs to be less. Bees can crawl between the grates and it takes extra work to get the bees from under it to refill. Also, I think there would be a LOT fewer drown bees if it were easier for them to walk across the grate without falling in.
2. gap between float and sides needs to be smaller and floats on the ends would keep bees from getting under the grate at the ends. Again, bees get under the grate at this point and it takes longer to get the bees out than to refill it.
3. Gap at center entrance needs to be smaller. I had comb built there and bees loaded it with syrup. I would rather they fill comb inside the hive so it can stay with them when it comes time to pull the feeders.
Ive used this feeder for over 3 years and absolutely love the product. Minimal drowning of bees and the syrup is taken very easily.
Last season I got caught behind in feeding and the cold weather was coming in fast. So, I stacked them on top of each other so that the bees could feed from two feeders. Worked like a charm and the hives were heavy for winter. I was pumped. The feeder saved me a pile of time.
This is superior to those plastic top feeders that are sold.
- Bob, PA
Great Idea - Very Bad Design
It is rare that I am unhappy with a purchase, but this is one of those rare times. Im a new beekeeper and researched all of the products for my hives before purchasing. I will say that I am very, very pleased with all of my BMBF products EXCEPT the 10-frame hive top feeder w/ floats. The design is a disaster waiting to happen! There are numerous problems with the design of this product. 1. Floats? Are you kidding me? After 1 week, I had over 100 dead drowned bees in each hive. 2. After adapting the floats by adding styrofoam to the panels and testing one more week, I still had over 100 drowned bees in each hive. 3. The feeder must be placed on hive body / super BEFORE filling with sugar water. If filled first, it is too heavy to lift and place on hive. 4. The most disgusting and disturbing part of this product is the larva living in the feeder water after one week of usage. I am fastidious with my beekeeping equipment, so I am sure this is not a result of being unsanitary. I am convinced that the sugar water stagnates in just a few days and invites some type of parasitic breeding.
If you are considering purchasing this product, I would encourage you to skip hive top feeders all together.
- Donna Hudson, SC
Im buying another
Im sorry to hear about all the drowned bees. I suggest that you dont just pour a ton of syrup into the feeder. Use dishes such as those black frozen dinner plates and fill these with pieces of sliced corks. Easy to keep clean and no drowned bees.
What I dont like about these feeders is that the opening runs parallel to the center frame below. The competition has the opening perpendicular to the frames allowing for better access across the frames. But that model is more than twice as expensive as this one so Im sticking with the BMBF model.
I keep the feeder on all the time, even when not feeding, and fill it with hay or lavender flowers to provide insulation for the hive.
- Allie, CA
Im not an expert and I like this feeder
I looked at many feeders before buying this one and I have found it easy to use and have lost only a few bees during the feeding season. If you are too heavy handed when you pour the syrup in, it will overwhelm bees that may already be in the feeder and theyll be caught and drown. I learned that lesson the first time I used it. So go slowly and theyll have a chance to sense the fluid and be ready for it. Its easy to remove and clean, easy to fill and I love that I can just pop off the cover of the hive without much trouble. Ill buy another one for my second hive.
- Sandra, GA
I used 2 of these feeders last year with very few dead bees,I would not use another type. the only reason I could see some one getting drowned bees is if they dont make sure the floats are floating when you refill. the syrup will glue them down once in a while just take your hive tool and loosen the float.
- Frank Holland, CO
The product was made well with quality materials. I used the top feeder last year and look forward to putting it to good use this coming season. The feeder holds plenty of fluid, the floats work as designed to minimize the number of dead bees, and can be placed on top of the hive for easy access. I couldnt be more pleased with this unit.
- Rob, ID
I gave it 1 star because there was not an option for 0 stars. I bought 3 of these and within a week, i had drowned all 3 hives.
Great product for hard feeding
Ive used this feeder exclusively for the past three seasons. It is superior to the other types of feeders. This fall I found myself behind in feeding. A few of my hives were heavy with bees but low on food. I experimented and placed one hive top feeder on top of another for a serious feed. It worked great. The hive is heavy and ready for winter. This is the feeder for me. I absolutely will stick with this feeder over any other from now on. Plus, I rarely lose bees with the hive top feeder. The floats work and I dont understand how people are losing so many bees with it. Ive used different types of feeders from boardman, to the feeders that are placed in the hive in place of a frame. Ive used the plastic feeders and these are all a mess to work with. Ive lost massive amounts of bees with these too easy for bees to get in and drown.
I lost several hundred bee.
As a new beekeeper I purchased items recommeded to me by other beekeepers. I purchased all my supplies from Brushy Mountain. My only compaint is with the hive top feeder. Over the course of three feedings I estimate I lost 400 to 500 bees due to drowning. I then borrowed a feeder from a friend that has been modified with hardware cloth heavy screen which allows the bees to crawl down to the syrup and crawl back out. Result, no lost bees. I have since added new hives and will be modifing the BM feeder in the same manner.
- J A, NC
floats are too big
I have the old style slatted floats, in my old feeder, which work fine. the new floats seem to swell in the syrup and get stuck to the sides of the feeder. Result: lots of drowned bees. Brushy Mountain, please consider the swelling problem and either reduce the size of the floats or make them of something that doesnt swell in syrup
Good idea, poor performance = lots of drowned bees!
This feeder fits right on top of hive and is easy to fill with little disturbance to the hive. However, the floats don not work and your bees will drown and then you have a nasty and stinky mess. Im not talking about losing one or two bees, you will lose 50-100 bee every time. The wooden portion on the float becomes saturated and heavy w/ syrup then you get bees on top of the float and it just sinks and they are trapped or once the syrup runs low they crawl though grating on float because the wooden float actually elevate the grating 3/4 off bottom so theres still plenty of syrup to drown hundreds of your bees. Suggest buying another hive top feeder with mesh gate that protects your bees or jar/pail type feeder. If you would like a similar type feeder without all the dead bees, check out Miller bee supply. They have a similar product but instead of using float the put hardware mesh to protect bee. Hope this review is helpful to anyone looking at purchasing this feeder
- B Beasley, NC
Its easy to refill, and the quite a few bees can feed at the same time allowing them to consume the syrup faster.
Im a little surprised at one of the other reviews that stated they experienced significant bee loss. I think I lost about 5 to 10 over 3 feedings. Its practically bee idiot-proof and much better than the plastic, multiple function feeder where I did have a problem with bee drowning.
- ERIC, AR
how to drown your bees
I dont claim to be a Master bee keeper,and and I did consult with a brush mt. Rep. before writing this review to make sure I wasnt dowing anything wrong when using the top feeder. Each time I have checked the feeder I find 150 or more bees drowned and the ones that are in the feeder alive are strugling trying to get out but cant because they are coated with syrup. The BM rep. told me this was normal.Iremoved my feeder and will find another way to feed.This feeder was defeating what I want to do, keep my bees healthy and alive not kill them.
- Jim Stiwinter, NC
I have top feeders with the slatted floats and theyre great. I dont loose any bees due to drowning.