Topping Up a Frame Feeder

I topped up a frame feeder in one of my nucleus colonies today.

Refilling a frame feeder without drowning any bees. (August 10, 2015.)

Refilling a frame feeder without drowning any bees. (August 10, 2015.)


All feeders have their pros and cons. I use a modified frame feeder (a.k.a. a division board feeder) with my nucs because they’re easy to refill without killing any bees, and they give me an excuse to take a peek at the bees.

Refilling hole plugged up after the frame feeder is filled. (August 10, 2015.)

Refilling hole plugged up after the frame feeder is filled. (August 10, 2015.)


The disruption to the bees is minimal because no smoke, not even mist, is required. It’s also easy to do a visual inspection without removing any frames.

Some floating wood chips and the white plastic ladders help prevent drowning. (August 10, 2015.)

Some floating wood chips and the white plastic ladders help prevent drowning. But mostly it’s the plugable refilling hole that does the trick. (August 10, 2015.)


When I spot something that I’m curious or concerned about, then I might pull up a frame and take a look. But overall, refilling the feeder is a fairly non-invasive process.

Spraying a pollen patty with anise-flavoured sugar syrup to get the bees intested in the pollen. However, most of the moisture shown in his photo came from rain after a brief sunshower. (August 10, 2015.)

Spraying a pollen patty with anise-flavoured sugar syrup to get the bees interested in the pollen. However, most of the moisture shown in his photo came from rain after a brief sunshower. (August 10, 2015.)


I throw on pollen patties in my nucs when I remember. Some nucs take the pollen. Some don’t.

A word about pollen patties: Most experienced beekeepers will say you don’t need to give the bees pollen in the summer. But that’s assuming the bees are able to forage for pollen on their own. I’ve seen the bees stuck in their hives for almost a month during a typical Newfoundland summer because of cold rain, drizzle and fog. It’s for those long stretches of cabin fever — and they happen at least once every year between May and September — that I give my nucs pollen patties.