Outdoor Feeding

I have no great love for hive top feeders of any kind. So today I placed an otherwise useless insert feeder a fair distance from the hives, filled it half way with syrup and wood chips and let the bees go to it.

I know there are many arguments against this kind of free for all feeding. Too bad.

UPDATE (May 11/12): Some say the outdoor free-for-all feeder encourages robbing. But I have the feeder far from the hives, so that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Some also argue that the bees fight over the food more when it’s open like this and will become more defensive. I’ve seen a bit of this already. Some bees, when the syrup has dried up, seem to attack each other, fighting over the few drops left in the feeder. That may put some of them in a bad mood. I’ve had a few chase me away when I get too close. I will stick with this method of feeding, nevertheless, because there’s so much less hassle involved. I’m using buckets now. I fill up a bucket. When it gets close to empty, I fill another bucket and bring it out. I bring back the empty bucket in the evening and refill it when the other bucket starts to get empty. Here’s a photo of a little bench on the side of my shed where one of the buckets was sitting a few minutes earlier:

I moved the buckets to the back of the shed, completely out of the way of humans. I’ll use frame feeders for nucs, but I’ll probably stick to this method for spring feedings, which don’t last too long anyway.

2 thoughts on “Outdoor Feeding

  1. A lot of the the larger-scale beekeepers around here (Oklahoma) do open feeding. They use a variety of “floats” to reduce drowning.

  2. I checked out the feeder today around 1:30pm. The bees were all over it. No drowned bees and it was nearly empty.

    I decided to fill a feeding pail with about 6 or 7 litres of light syrup (~1.8 gallons). I topped it off with wood chips again and let the bees dig in.

    I could have put in up to 10 litres, but we’re getting rain in a couple days and I’d rather it was empty by the time the rain comes.

    I might stick with this kind of feeding for now on, at least for spring feeding. It’s so much easier than fooling around with most other types of feeders.

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