How to Make Mean Bees

I took the top off one of my hives yesterday and forgot to put it back on before I went to bed. The inner cover was exposed to the elements all night without a protective top cover. And it rained and poured last night. Hopefully it wasn’t a critical goof on my part.

I had a German-style feeder over the hole of the inner cover, so it probably kept some of the rain out but not all of it. Hence, the bees are in an extremely bad mood today, pouring out of the hive at the slightest vibration.

I saw this happen in the winter once before when a top cover got partially blown off a hive for a few days. Bees exposed to the elements = mean bees.


SEPTEMBER 03, 2016: Here’s a recreated scene of what I found the night after the rain storm:

Added rapid-feeder to Q1602.  (Sept. 02, 2016.)

The feeder, by the way, is usually referred to as a Rapid Feeder. That’s what I’ll go with for now on. At any rate, the only difference between the recreated scene in this above photo and what actually happened is that the inner cover was thinner. It’s one of those, well, thinner inner covers that often comes without a top entrance hole notched into it. What I’m saying is, it was even worse than what it looks like in the photo. I haven’t checked on those bees yet because I still want to give them time to chill out a bit before I start messing with them again.

7 thoughts on “How to Make Mean Bees

  1. Yikes, at least the feeder didn’t blow away and leave the bees totally exposed to the elements! How do you find the German-style feeders and how often do you refill them? I plan on taking out my frame feeders in the next couple of weeks and begin using these. Or maybe keep the frame feeder, pull out a couple of capped honey frames (to store for the bees of course) and insert some empty ones to make room. Not sure yet!

  2. I prefer my frames feeders because they hold more syrup than the German-style feeders and they’ve worked very well for me over the years.

    The German-style feeders on my 2-deep hives go empty usually in less than two days. The constant refilling isn’t always convenient for me. But I can see how they work well for the final topping up in the fall after my final inspections are done.

  3. I really like the frame feeders too. I’m curious, does using them in a 2-deep hive with an open upper entrance entice robbing at all?

  4. Nope. The only time I ever got a robbing frenzy on the go was when I added concentrated anise OIL to the syrup (not anise extract), and the bees went absolutely insane.

    Other than that, though, which I will probably never do again, I’ve never had any issues with the frame feeders. (The anise oil had the same effect on the hives that had the German-style feeders too.)

    I find the frame feeders easy to refill without spillage by using a funnel. See “Refilling a Frame Feeder” on my How-to page to see exactly how I do it:

    Not that I have anything against the German-style feeder. I don’t see how it’s any better or worse than a frame feeder. But for new beekeepers, I personally would pick a frame feeder because it provides an excuse to look into the hive at least once a week, and actually looking at the bees, I think, is crucial to learning about the bees and becoming a good beekeeper. I’ve met too many new beekeepers who even by the end of their second summer don’t know what they’re looking at half the time when they open their hives because they never spent enough time actually looking at the bees.

Comments are closed.