Beekeeping catalogues overflow with options when it comes to feeding bees, each with negatives and positives. Beekeepers swoon over the opportunity to find the best option for feeding their bees. Until it starts getting complicated when hearing the opinions from other beekeepers.
We are firm believers in that having lots of options will lead lead to making a better choice, but too many options can have a negative impact in decision making. As beekeepers, that is where we are when it comes to how we feed our bees.
There are too many options when it comes to feeding bees, but we found the best one.
We needed a way to feed bees that was very affordable, didn't require excess storage when not used, non-invasive for the bees, replicable, used nothing proprietary and very easy. We were looking for a the holy grail of feeders, but we found it.
It is a version of a boardman feeder, using the same method of inverting a sealed container with holes poked in the lid. The problem with a standard boardman feeder is that it is apt to robbing from other bees and the beekeeper typically has to approach the front of the hive to refill. It also requires purchasing and storing the platform the jar rests in. They also don't hold very much liquid and can't be used along side an entrance reducer.
A local beekeeper turned me towards placing the feeder on top of the telescoping cover, an idea we hadn't considered. Feeding this way required drilling a hole through the cover, large enough for the neck of a standard mason jar to fit. The right size hole allows the neck of the bottle to slide down, sealing the hole, allowing bees access to the feeder, giving the beekeeper easy access and also allowing the beekeeper to see how full the container without opening the hive. All major positives in our book.
Instructions and tips on how to do this are coming.