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. Capacity is about 1.5 gallons.
Note: 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.
When I purchased this feeder, I was hopeful my colonies would feed at a faster rate, but when I placed the feeder on my hive, I came back in a week and found a shockingly high number of drowned bees. I am guessing some were trampled or slipped on the smooth wooden walls, but still I couldnt believe the amount of dead bees. The construction of the feeder was top-notch, as all other items I receive from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Maybe include grooved inner walls to give the bees more grip when attempting to feed in mass numbers. Not happy, but not irritated either.
8-Frame Hive Top Feeder
I am new to bee keeping and we purchased this top feeder and discovered drowned bees, to my surprise I noticed the grating on floats is made out of queen excluder screen that worker bees can climb or fall through the top of screen to gain access to syrup but can not get back to the top, I removed the queen excluder that was stapled to the floats and replaced it with a plastic canvas you can buy at Wal-Mart for about $1.00 and bees can not fall through this, the screen holes are just big enough for the bees to get their tongues through. Do not use queen excluder for worker bees to fall or craw through!
Best hive top feeder I own.
Pros- Outstanding Workmanship.
Cons- I wish it was a little deeper.
This feeder is very well designed and built. The corners all knuckle together in such a way that warping and leaks are rare. I wish it was a little deeper though. It holds less than 2 gallons of syrup which means refilling at least every other day.
- Walter, NC
The top feeder leaked so I took some glue now it is okay
best feeder ever!
I havent lost 1 bee to drowning un like another feeder Ive tried, but I LOVE IT! just make sure you gently use your hive tool to unstick and totally remove the floats pour in the sugar water then place the floats on to and BOOM done! again great feeder im very pleased!!!!!!! :
- bobby sue jabat, GA
Try these 2 tips
The side walls were so slick I had to add some wax foundation to them so the bees could climb in and out ,
I also turned the float platform over to so the bees could not get trapped under it as it lowers, Saved a lot of bees
- KOGA, NC
Not exactly sure why so many drownings are reported. Might be they are refilling without unsticking the floats first. I just pick them up with a hive tool once and they float fine. No bees under them when its done right and almost none drown.
- Dan Long, GA
Will kill your bees
This product drowned my honeybees by the hand full. If you like killing your bees and wasting your hard earned money on a crappy product then buy this feeder. But if your looking for a quality product that works as advertised then buy something else.
- Aaron Harbuck, GA
very unhappy with feeder
as a 1st time beekeeper - I thought I put them together wrong it was so bad -- they swell, I shave sides so they float, they swell, etc. 5 & 6 times. 3rd time about 100 bees died -- sadly the poorest review of any product.
- Lurane Ryerson, MA
Hard to manage, too many drownings
Probably with a little creativity, this feeder could be more effective. I personally have had lots of issues with them.
First, they are weighty when full, and so working your hives is more of a challenge, due to the need to move them. That is an issue, but it can be handled.
Second, the bees love to build comb on the underside and its a problem when you move the feeder. Too much comb and it is hard to put them back on. Again, it is an issue, but it can be handled - you have to remove the comb, which makes the bees mad.
Third, the floats stick and dont always float. It can be dealt with by using less formula, but the wood does swell a bit and the floats do stick. Annoying and it contributes to the drowning problem.
And thats the big problem - these feeders are bee-killers, pure and simple. I have had way too many drownings. I have not tried the pine-straw trick mentioned in these reviews and maybe I will in the winter. For now, the feeders are down and I will use entrance feeders instead until the bees are getting mostly nectar.
If I find a way to make these feeders more effective and safer for the bees, I will update this review.
- Rique Santiestevan, VA
Too Many Drowned Bees
I put this feeder on for the first time and after 7 days there were too many drowned bees under the floats to count. Took it off immediately! I see two problems. First the plastic piece on the floats appears to be made of the same material as the plastic queen excluders, so worker bees can go right through the openings where they end up coated in syrup and then drown under the floats. Second problem is the length of the floats is slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the feeder which is necessary so the floats can move up and down freely as the level of syrup goes up and down but the gap there is big enough for bees to end up in the syrup. I will not put this feeder back on until I modify the floats in some way to prevent drowning.
- Marcel, VA
Hive top feeder
I have had this feeder for 2 years and the only problem I have encountered is when refilling the feeder you have to pour slowly so as not to wash bees off of the float. I have also learned to not let the feeder get completely empty before refilling so the bees will not be all over the bottom of the feeder. Otherwise I have lost fewer bees with this feeder than with any other kind I have tried.
- JEFFREY DAVIS SR., SC
drop drowning bees
I am a new beekeeper and have used this feeder for several months. At first I was devastated by the number of drowned bees I found each time I went to refill. I have discovered that if you put just a little bit of pine straw on top of the float the bees do not drown. I guess they are able to climb out better if they go under the float, or perhaps they stay on top of the float better. I do change the pine straw each time I refill. Now I never have dead bees!
- Sarah, NC
I have 6 of these feeders and this is my 2nd year using them. My 1st 2 have wooden floats, the 2nd 2 have plastic floats and the last 2 have plastic with wood sides on the floats. I have had lots of dead loss over and over again. Ive tried everything from filling them full to filling them with only just 1/4 a gallon. Ive also tried blocking the top entrance. Nothing has worked. The only time it seems to work is when my hives are really full like 2 to 3 brood boxes full and they finally get the idea but than it is time to take the feeder off. When I put them on in early spring after winter or for fall feeding I get lots of dead bees. Also when I put them on a new hive after installing a new package I get lots of dead bees. I have to take them off and dump out the dead and live bees everytime before refilling. I dont recommend this type of feeder and I am very disappointed. Going to try something different.
- Mama Boggs, OH
Top Feeder 8 Frame
I have 4 of these feeders. I have both styles of floats and both work well. I like the wood with plastic a little better. I dont lose alot of bees with either style. I would recommend purchasing the robbing screen with the feeder. Overall a nice piece.
- Ed, NJ
I used two versions of this feeder this fall to heavily feed both of my hives that were very low on stores.
The first version I used had two lightweight, plastic floats that allowed the bees to access the syrup without drowning. Unfortunately, depending on how I placed the plastic floats, I would lose 2-3 bees, or 1-2 dozen bees, sometimes more. The second version has wooden sides to the plastic floats, to expand it to the sides. Whats nice about the wood on the floats is that it gives enough space underneath for bees that get trapped to climb out instead of getting stuck, crushed, and dying. Overall, I did not lose a lot of bees, so I like this feeder and will use it again in the future.
Its nicely made, both feeders I bought were sealed well. Youll need to paint the sides to protect it from the elements. The only negative, aside from losing some bees, is that when I want to refill, it takes time to shake out the bees that are still in the feeder or pour the syrup over them, drowning them. I only have two hives so I take more time to lose less bees, but it may not be the best feeder for bigger operations.
Overall, Id recommend this feeder. The bees were able to put away the syrup well, and went into the winter with lots of stores! Thanks Brushy Mtn. for making an 8 frame feeder!