March 2019 Introduction: This simple modification for a frame feeder is a stroke of genius. (Yes, I’m patting myself on the back for this one.) I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes standard with frame feeders some day because it works so well at preventing bee deaths and it’s easier than pouring syrup down a bee ladder that’s packed with bees.
I had to refill a frame feeder in one of my young 2-deep hives today and decided on the spot to record a demonstration video that could have been titled How To Refill a Frame Feeder, but isn’t. Here are some pics and then a video at the end. Here I am pouring in the syrup:
Here’s a close up of the bees eating a left over bit of a pollen patty:
Here’s a simple recipe for pollen patties that works: Mix some pollen supplement powder (I get mine from Beemaid) with some 2:1 sugar syrup until it’s like Play-Doh, not dripping wet but moist to the touch. Spread it out flat on wax paper or parchment paper. Put another layer of paper on top, sandwiching the patty between the paper to help maintain the moisture. Scrape an X through the paper on one side and lay that side of the patty down over the top bars of the frames. The bees in my nucs have been scarfing it down like Doritos and they’re doing great. Okay, that’s enough. Here’s the video:
March 2019 Postscript: I order just about everything, including pollen patties, from a Newfoundland supplier now. His name is Gerard Smith.
Thanks for the hole/plug refill idea. I’ve lost bees as I refill similar frame feeders. You mention using a cork in the feeder tubes. The corks don’t get in the way of the bees getting to the syrup?
I make the plugs by flattening a bottle cap, driving a nail through the centre and pushing a cork on the nail. The cork on the nail can be trimmed, thinned out, because it doesn’t have to fit tightly in the plug hole.
“The corks donâ€™t get in the way of the bees getting to the syrup?”
Maybe a little. But you can cut the corks into smaller pieces so they’re not as bulky. That usually works.