What Is A Bee Feeder?
Finding the best bee feeder for your situation can be tricky so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for and what it does. A bee feeder is a device that accepts food and/or water and makes it safe and readily available to your bees when food and water are scarce and the best beehive feeders do this effectively, with minimum fuss.
When Do I Use A Beehive Feeder?
Well before the onset of Fall and Winter, you should have a feeding plan in place. Ask yourself, “What food am I going to use and how am I going to make this food available to my bees? This is not just beneficial when the temperatures begin to plummet, but during hive establishment. This is especially true when introducing package bees as they are unfamiliar with their surroundings and food sources.
What Are the Different Types of Honeybee Feeders?
So, what’s the best beehive feeder? The one that works for you and your beehive setup.
Here are the popular types available today:
Nothing is perfect, but this style is often rated as the best honeybee feeder. They are simple to monitor and have near zero disturbance when refilling syrup. Bee entrance feeders do have their down sides; the liquid feed can freeze, the amount of bee entrance feed you can make available is limited and there is the potential to encourage robber bees.
Frame Feeder with Bee Entrance Feeder
These are designed to take the place of a brood frame and are inserted internally within the hive. Feed is poured into the frame feeder and your . These bee entrance feeds discourage robber bees and hold a considerable amount. On the downside, they take some disruptive refilling, some bees will drown regardless of design and bees will make comb in empty frame feeders.
Internal Hive Top Feeders
Internal hive top feeders are popular, having a large capacity and being easy to fill. They are usually fitted in the space between the brood boxes and the cover. The only real negative here is that they can be heavy and easy to spill. Keep an eye on your ventilation as well, as the feeder can inhibit your hive’s natural breathing.
External Hive Top Feeders
They are a container that is inverted over the entrance of the inner cover of the hive. You can house these feeders in an empty super if it’s not too cold or on top of the hive. The feed is enclosed so it’s mould resistant. Warning! These can get heavy and cumbersome.
What is the Best Beehive Feeder?
Here we’ll get you started with a variety of feeders that are the best beehive feeders of their type. Choose the type of feeder that will work with your set up, your environment and your climate.
Best Entrance Feeder and Bee Entrance Feed
Entrance feeders are often thought of as the best beehive feeder. The plastic feeder fits snug in our entrance reducer, making it a perfect Fall and Winter feeder. The lid will perish over time but fortunately, the lids are directly compatible with a standard Mason jar. Replacement lids are available for the complete plug and play experience.
Best Frame Feeder
This is good but take your time and assemble this unit properly. There is an internal ladder to prevent bees drowning. This must be assembled correctly to get the best out of this frame feeder. Further home engineering in the form of screening the bottom of the ladder to reduce drown rate will help. Once sorted, the benefits of having a massive 3 quarts of food available is a bonus.
Best Internal Hive Top Feeder
Cheap and very effective, this hive top feeder will get your bees through the tough times. Some further home engineering is required to get the very best from this product. Get the top cup to fit snug and you’re good to go here. Ventilation may be an issue but some chocks to lift the feeder will help.
Best External Hive Top Feeder
External hive top feeders are excellent but require considerable skill, maintenance, and muscle. This unit, offered up by Little Giant, is about as close to ready to use as you can get. All units recommended by us need some sort of tinkering. Once you get the Little Giant Bucket Bee Feeder set up and leak free, its gargantuan 2-gallon capacity is a bonus.
That’s A Wrap
The best beehive feeder is the one that is installed when and where the bees need it. Feeding a hive of bees is an important and rewarding endeavor. Every system requires either regular topping up and checking or requires considerable engineering to suit your set up for the long term. When you’re taking your full frames out ready for extracting, you know you’ve done a good job.