A 4-Litre Pickle Jar Feeder

I made an inverted jar feeder from a 4-litre pickle jar today. Oh, the humanity.


On the left is the big jar of hot pickled peppers that was given to us by my aunt last summer. We finally polished off the last of the peppers this week. I cleaned out the jar and poked a few holes in the lid and made the inverted jar feeder on the right. The jar is upside down and stuffed into a large measuring cup because I was testing to see if it leaked. I don’t want 4 litres of syrup dripping onto the brood nest, cooling and killing all the baby bees.

I used the hole in the centre of an inner cover to trace a circle on the lid. (Some inner covers have an oval-shaped hole.) Then I took a screw and lightly hammered in tiny holes from the other side of the lid, making sure I didn’t hammer outside the traced circle. (The jar will eventually be installed in the hive directly over the inner cover hole.) But I must have made the holes too big, because I when filled it with water and flipped it, water constantly dripped out of the holes.

Undeterred, I removed the lid, placed it flat on a wooden cutting board, and hammered the inside of the lid so the little bits of jagged metal along side the holes were flattened down. This reduced the size of the holes, too, but unless the bees have mutant monster sized tongues, it should work fine. So I refilled the jar and flipped it again, and this time it didn’t leak.

We plan to fill the jar with a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar as soon as the weather stays above freezing and the bees are able to fly around more freely. We don’t want to give them syrup while it’s still so cold that they can’t go outside and poop (the sugar goes through their digestive tracts faster when it’s in liquid form). We also don’t want to put 4 litres of syrup above the brood nest and have the syrup expand and contract during cold temperature extremes. That could force cold syrup out of the jar and drip all over the bees. So we wait.

Today is the first day of spring. Big whoop. That doesn’t mean anything in Newfoundland. We still have three feet of snow in our backyard and the temperatures are still below freezing. And it snowed last night. We might not have a chance to use the jar feeder until April. The jar will be removed as soon as the bees start bringing in their own nectar.

PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.