We say this is the "Multi-Duty Hive Top Feeder" because it can be used to feed syrup, honey, candy, pollen, or pollen substitute. This feeder combines all the possible features available in hive top feeders into one very high quality unit. These are two separate tanks which hold almost a gallon of syrup each. There is a plug in the bottom of each tank to allow the bee's direct access for candy or pollen substitute. There are 4 entrance reducers (two each side) to prevent bees from drowning when feeding liquid. Two clear covers sit on top of the chimney and keep the bees from being able to escape. The covers can be removed and you can inspect for colony strength, medicate, or even re-queen while still feeding the colony. The perfectly smooth plastic will prevent any robbing bees access and mold can not stick to it. This feeder is only available for our 10-frame hives.
The first time I used this feeder last spring, it worked like a charm. The bees were able to successfully feed and they went through a LOT of syrup. No drowned bees. However, I used it again in the fall and it was a disaster! I had hundreds of drowned bees clogging up the feeding area. I emptied it out, removed all the bees clogging the ports, and tried again. With the same result - LOTS of drowned bees. I like the Styrofoam idea and will likely try it. Ive also read that putting hardware cloth over the edges like ladders will work and give the bees something to climb out on. And finally, someone suggested roughing up the plastic with coarse sandpaper. I will try all these things - but wish I didnt have to. I would appreciate the company commenting on this and suggesting fixes - otherwise, please take this thing off of the market.
- Karla Feist-Gier, AL
Hive top feeder
I like being able to feed both dry and wet feed at the same time. Hives should be level. I rotate in an extra feeder at times if they need cleaning. I have had good luck with these and no dead bees.
- Brad Heacock, WA
Need to know how to use
I have used this feeder it works fine you just need to know how to use it,first level the hive put a thin spacer in to keep the bees from sticking frames to bottom of feeder, as to the mold use spearmint or lemongrass to stop your mold, six drops to the gallon should do it, this is as good of a feeder that i have used in my 40 years as a beekepper
Plastic HiveTop feeder
I have tried both the wooden float feeder and this feeder, this feeder does not seem to work quite as well. Had lots of black mold in the feeder and if your hive isnt perfectly level the feed will pool to one side and be unavailable to the bees. I also seem to have had more problems with the frames getting sealed to the feeder by the bees than with the wooden feeder
- Russ Hawkins, MA
Hive Top Feeder
I also had quite a few drowned bees the first time I used this. I cut a small piece of styrofoam for each of the four feeding chambers and wedged one in each. After that- no drowned bees, they had something better to climb out on.
Hive Top Feeder with Floats is much better
While seeming to be more functional than item 688, hive top feeder with floats, I found this item to be inferior. Despite the entrance reducers, the bees would drown in the cavities where they were supposed to feed. When I opened the hive after about a week, there were significant numbers of drowned bees clogging the cavities and the syrup was just beginning to go rancid, presumably because of all the bodies decomposing in it. There was also a reasonable black mold infection although it may not be fair to connect this two phenomena.
Removing the feeder with the rancid syrup was difficult because the plastic frame will warp and twist if its over half full. I had to spoon most of the syrup out before I could safely get it off without risking dumping the syrup in the hive.
Conversely, with the top feeder with floats, purchased at the same time, significantly more bees were capable of feeding at the same time and I only lost 5 or 10 over the course of multiple feedings. Ill be buying the other product from now on and its less expenses.