Bees, diminutive yet formidable winged creatures, are known for their resilience and determination. These hardy insects will traverse distances of up to five miles from their hive in order to gather the nectar necessary for producing the coveted elixir that is honey. With a hive built to withstand even the harshest of winters, bees are the epitome of endurance.
However, for those who wish to ensure the prosperity of their bee colony, it may be wise to consider implementing a bee feeder. These devices come in a wide range of styles and serve a variety of purposes, from providing additional sustenance to bolster the hive’s resources to promoting healthy bee behavior.
The procurement of a bee feeder is no trifling matter, as the bevy of options available on the market may leave one’s head spinning. Fear not, however, for we have taken it upon ourselves to furnish you with a comprehensive compilation of the nine most superlative bee feeders obtainable.
Why do you need a bee feeder?
Bees are tough and resourceful creatures. They know how to look after themselves. There are, however, a few exceptions.
The first important exception is when you are establishing a new hive colony. Typically, the man-made hives with their frames will not have any initial honey to nourish the colony. Because the packaged bees you purchased are unfamiliar with their new surroundings, they will need time to learn the lay of the land before they can discover food sources to collect from. That is why, for the first few days, we proposed setting up a bee feeder to feed this young colony. After they have been installed in the hive, you will usually just need to supplement their feed for a week.
Another exception is if the bees’ pollination season was extremely poor. If they are unable to harvest enough honey, they will be unable to maintain themselves during the severe winter months when there are no food sources available. This is why you should inspect your hives on a regular basis. Make sure your hive frames are full of honey for the bees to eat.
When do you need a bee feeder?
During the winter, you should inspect your bees more frequently. Furthermore, just because they made it through the winter does not guarantee that they will make it through the spring. Spring is another period when their food stores are likely to be depleted because they consume so much throughout the winter, and the flowers have yet to fully bloom in order for them to pollinate. Many beekeepers have assisted their bees through the winter only to discover their hive is dead by the end of spring.
Bee feeders are classified into six kinds, each with its own set of pros and disadvantages. Again, your circumstances will be unique, so do some study before purchasing bee feeders or looking for stores offering bee feeders near you. So, what are the different types of bee feeders? Which ones are the best for your specific situation?
Entrance Feeders – Simple to use for new beekeepers
When it comes to feeding, entry feeders are the most convenient alternative. Because it is located outside the entrance, the proactive beekeeper does not have to disturb their bees when refilling it. However, they also have some significant drawbacks. For starters, the tray does not store a large amount of meal for the bees. This means you will have to replenish it frequently. Furthermore, because it is on the outside of the hive, it is very easy for “robber bees” or other hive predators interested in some sugary water to fly in and steal the meal.
Open Air Feeders
The principle of open-air feeders is similar to that of entrance feeders. They both sit outside, are simple to maintain, and are simple to refill. Open-air feeders, on the other hand, are definitely the worst option for keeping your hive robust. The bees will fight rather than cooperate around the open-air feeder. Second, because this is a completely open tray of food, it will attract many more hive predators than an entry feeder. We do not encourage using an open-air feeder, especially when there are so many fantastic options.
Baggie Feeders: Perfect for feeding medicine to your bees
Baggie feeders are ziplock bags that have been expanded with a rim expander. Fill the plastic baggies with syrup, then set them in the hive. These bags, like the dividing board style, are highly secured from outside predators. They also do well during the winter months because the bees keep the honey warm by clustering and cuddling on cold days. You can also incorporate medicine into the meal to keep your hive healthy. The issue with baggie feeders is that they are not very sustainable. Because ziplock bags are single-use only, they are bad for the environment.
Division Board: Keeps away the predators
The frame bee feeders function by being placed directly inside the hive. They are intended to replace a single frame and may carry a large amount of feed. This means you will only need to replenish it now and then, as opposed to an entrance feeder, which needs to be refilled on a regular basis. The second thing that makes these division boards so great is that it provides the best protection against predators.
Internal Hive-Top Feeders: A cosy “Indoor” solution
This feeder rests directly on top of your hive, just below the hive cover that protects the bees from flying out. They have integrated devices into the feeder to keep it from pouring everywhere and drowning your bees. So there is no need to be concerned about your bees being wiped out by a tidal surge of yummy food. The only disadvantage of this style is that it is difficult to remove. If the feed is still full, you are going to spill it all over the place.
External Hive-top Feeders – For enterprise commercial beekeepers
It is essentially just a container that rests on the hive’s exterior. Because of its girth, it can hold a lot of food. That is why professional beekeepers tend to have numerous hives, possibly dozens. However, as previously stated, they weigh a ton! Because of their weight, these feeders have a danger of slipping off and splashing everywhere on rainy days. Take care when positioning these to ensure they are securely attached to the hive.
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Top 10 Best Bee Feeders & Review
1. Mann Lake Entrance Feeder
The Mann Lake is perhaps the most affordable bee feeder on this list, and it’s a terrific place to start for a new beekeeper. This feeder weighs 0.2 pounds and measures 1.2 x 3.25 x 5.5 inches. It is simple to put at the hive’s entrance and allows the beekeeper to evaluate resource levels without disturbing the bees. The unit is very simple to clean and enables for the installation of a separate Mason jar at the entrance of the hive.
Need a separate mason jar to attach to the feeder and easy for ants to crawl into.
2. Entrance Bee Feeder Beekeeping Beehive Bees
This is a wooden entrance bee feeder with one feeder lid. It is a pine feeder that weighs around 2 pounds and measures 20 x 1 x 16 inches. The feeder is ideal for a quart glass jar. It is one of the finest ways to keep the bees hydrated throughout the summer. The feeder comes with caps, and additional caps can be purchased.
Mason jar not included and might need to sand down the edges to fit into your hive build
3. Beekeeping Bee Hive 10-frame Hive Top Feeder W/floats
Toughtimbers’ hive top feeder comes with a number of features designed to keep the bees fed and watered through difficult times. It has floats and will fit a 10-frame hive properly. The unit comes stapled, glued, and ready to install. All you have to do is place it on the colony’s roof, fill it with syrup, cover it with the inner cover, and return the top. Several compartments have been built to keep the bees from drowning, and the bees may readily reach the syrup through the center access.
Keep close eye when first installing to minimize potential of the bees drowning from a faulty float.
4. Little Giant Farm & Ag FRAMEFDR Frame Feeder, 3-Quart, Black
When outside sources of food are unavailable for the bees, this 1.4 pound feeder comes in useful. It neatly replaces a frame within the brood box. The feeder has been created with extreme creativity to keep the bees from drowning. It can contain 3 quarts of syrup and doesn’t require any equipment to put together.
Hard to assemble the first time around
5. Boardman Entrance Feeder
Honey Hive Farms’ front entrance feeder makes feeding the bees as easy as possible. You can check the syrup without having to open the bee hive. It measures 6.8 x 4.8 x 1.8 inches and holds 8 ounces. It can be used with an inverted glass, which must be purchased separately.
Unfortunately, you will need to supply your own mason jar or glass jar to invert over the feeder.
6. Ultimate Hive Feeder for Beekeepers 2 Pack from Farmstand Supply (In Hive)
This is a fantastic example of an excellent external hive-bee feeder. You might also use it as an internal bee feeder. The Ultimate Hive Feeder uses a different approach to feeding bees, employing a trough system rather than an inversion system. As the syrup in the trough depletes due to the large number of bees feasting on it, a spring-loaded valve opens, allowing more syrup to be pumped into the trough for the bees to feed on. This trough arrangement is commonly used for larger farm animals, and it works just as well for bees.
Make sure to uninstall it quickly, pulling up quickly on the feeder to clamp shut the valve before it shoots syrup everywhere.
7. Little Giant Farm & Ag BKTFDR2 Bucket Feeder, 2 gallon
This inverted bucket, a practical example of a top hive-bee feeder, will slowly trickle honey into your hive. This feeder, in particular, is ideal for larger hives because it has many feeding openings for quick feeding. Unlike an inverted mason jar, the Little Giant Farm feeder drips faster and has a larger capacity at two gallons. Aside from a sometimes too-tight lid, the primary issue with the Little Giant Farm is that you could create this feeder yourself by simply inverting most buckets with some holes in them.
A DIY version of this bee feeder is fairly straightforward to make
8. Harvest Lane Honey FEEDBBG-102 Entrance Bee Feeder/Jar, 1 Count
The 1.1 pound entry bee feeder has several incredible features. It is large enough to supply enough food for the bees throughout the appropriate seasons. The feeder is simple to set up and will last for many years. It measures 5 x 5 x 10 inches and is made in the United States. Once installed, it allows you to check resource levels without having to open the hive and disturb the bees.
One thing to keep in mind about this feeder is that the feeding openings are quite small. However, you may widen these holes to allow more bee traffic inside the container to feed more easily.
9. Foxhound Bee Company Front Entrance Honey Bee Feeder
This bee feeder is made of white plastic and has the majority of its body outside the beehive. It is put at the entrance of the beehive so that honeybees exiting the beehive come into contact with the feeder. This feeder is used for feeding honeybees sugar syrup and water. Because this bee feeder is simple to use, both novice and expert beekeepers can benefit from it in their beekeeping operations. Furthermore, this bee feeder is composed of high-quality, long-lasting plastic.
We found no defects in this device
Q1: How to feed the bees?
You can receive the food in two ways: you can manufacture it yourself or you can buy it ready-made. Some ready-made diets contain additional nutrients that can help your bees grow stronger. If you want the simplest configuration, we recommend making the fed yourself, which is rather simple. The most frequent ratio is to make a syrupy solution by combining sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio.
If you prefer to feed your bees a ready-made remedy, we offer Bountiful Bee’s Brood Booster or Honey B Healthy Feeding Stimulant. Both are regularly used solutions by beekeepers, and they can assist supplement your homemade feed to provide additional nutrients to your bees and, as a result, strengthen the hive.
Q2. Which bee feeder is right for you?
As you can see, there are numerous possibilities for you and your individual beekeeping requirements. Entrance feeders are usually sufficient to get a colony started. However, they are not the best during the winter months. Because of the hive’s interior heat, we propose a division feeder during the colder months.
The benefit of purchasing high-quality bee feeders is that they may often be reused for an extended period of time. Unless, of course, you end up with dozens of hives on your bee farm. In such a scenario, you should stock up on a variety of feeders to fit your demands, such as baggie feeders to administer medicinal syrup to the bees.
The survival of the bee colony is dependent on bee feeding. Because pollen and nectar are not available during the cold months, bees are frequently in desperate need of food. Feeding should be done even when honey stores are full to control food intake and ensure food safety for a long time. Feed the bees the proper food and in the proper manner. With such a large selection of bee feeders on the market, you will never be short of options.