How to Feed Bees



Pick a frame feeder.,
Try a Boardman feeder.,
Get an inverted feeder.,
Set up a Miller feeder.,
Wear a beekeeper suit.,
Smoke the bees before opening a feeder.,
Mix one part sugar and two parts water to stimulate egg laying.,
Mix one part sugar and one part water to promote honeycomb building.,
Mix two parts sugar with one part water to save food for the winter.,
Set up supplies for winter first.,
Mix spring recipes.,
Feed in times of need.

This is the most common feeder to use. These can be wood or plastic. You want to pick a feeder in the 1-2 gallon range. Some models come with coarse siding to let the bees climb along the sides. Other models have features such as floats to prevent the bees from drowning if water collects inside. You can also find models that are portioned into multiple frames that allow access for multiple hives. Look for ease of access for yourself including the ability to open up the feeder to change spoiled feed.If you go with the frame feeder you’ll need to fill it correctly. Get a funnel (metal or plastic) or make your own funnel out of thick paper. Hover the funnel over the chambers, and slowly pour the syrup feed until the brood chambers in the feeder are just short of full.;
, If you’re worried about bees drowning, then use this instead of the frame or Miller feeders. These wood feeders are shaped roughly like a large box. They hold an upside-down mason jar full of the feed you intend to use. You put the jar in the entrance, and the bees wander up into the jar for the syrup. These are easy to monitor, but you will have to shake off the bees from the jar to refill it., These are watercooler-sized wood feeders that work with inverted mason jars or metal cans full of feed. You place the jar of feed into the top entrance upside-down so the bees can fly into it. You can cover the entrance rim in #8 hardware cloth to prevent bees from hovering around the jar when you need to refill it.This feeder poses less of a drowning risk to the bees.

, If you are interested in handling more bees than the other feeders, then use this model. These are plywood feeders named after C.C. Miller. These feeders are much larger than average feeders with feed capacities typically up to 5 gallons. Miller feeders can have open access so the hive can fly throughout the feeder, or partitioned access so the bees can only get to the syrup. These partitions are really just trays with slots for bee access. But the trays need tight seals so foreign bees don’t drown in the syrup. You can pour the syrup into the trays at the ends, center, or all frames.These feeders can stack taller to hold more syrup, but may get used less by the bees leading to spoiling of the feed.

, You’ll need to purchase a cotton-based suit for comfort. It will need to have several features to allow you free range of motion, but keep out bees. Look for a suit that has leg zippers, knee pads, gusseted crotch, elastic wrists, and a double-ended main zipper. You’ll also need the suit to come with plenty of pockets including a holster for hive tools. The suit should have metal D-rings to tie down the mask or veil tie. Most suits are sting resistant, and not completely sting proof.Suit prices can vary depending on features and fabric quality. Some models can be $20 if you buy just a jacket and head covering. Some full suits can be upwards of $100.

, Light the smoker with a standard cigarette lighter or match applied to the kindling in the main container, but don’t let it get excessively hot. Puff only one or two spurts of smoke in entrance and along the top of the feeder to disarm the bees’ alert pheromones. Wait one full minute after the puffs before opening the hive. If you notice the bees are still agitated, only then use an extra puff or two.Some models come with liquid fuel, and a bellows attached. Follow the model’s instructions for lighting.
You’ll also need a metal prying tool to open the feeder.

, Combine 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of sugar with 1 quart (0.9 liters) of water, or 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) of sugar with 5 quarts (4 liters) of water. Stir the sugar into the warm water until dissolved.Use this when there is enough honey available for the brood to feed on.

, You can feed this to bees in the spring or summer. Pour 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) sugar into 2 cups of water (0.47 liters), or 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) of sugar with 2.5 US quarts (2,000 ml) (2.4 liters) of water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn off the heat source. Stir in the sugar until dissolved and let it cool., Do this in the autumn. Combine 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of sugar with 1 cup (0.23 liters) of water, or 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) of sugar with 5 cups (1.15 liters) of water. Boil the water, and stir in the sugar. Stir the sugar until the crystals dissolve. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it cool., Winter is the time that will be hardest to help bees that are starving. Start preparing and feeding the syrup recipes in August or September. You can wait until October, but waiting until December is risky. Though you should still attempt to feed the bees rather than allow them to starve.The amount of feed to store for winter is something you should ask your local beekeepers.

, Use the seasonally mixed syrups for longer term feeding or to boost the life of a new hive. Prepare 2-4 gallons of syrup early so you can start these syrup feedings in May. Introduce this syrup at the start of a new hive.Once the hive is well underway, don’t over feed.

, Extra feeding should generally be done only when the hive is undersized or starving to begin with. Your batches of syrup may spoil if you’ve prepared much more than the bees need.For example, if you have a hive that is supposed to weigh 150 pounds suddenly weighing 75 pounds, then it may be time to feed.

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