An apiary is painstaking work, which provides for constant care and mandatory feeding. This is necessary in the cold season, for giving medicines and for awakening in the spring. It is necessary to choose the right feeders for bees in order to provide pets with everything they need to complete their work. With a little experience, armed with knowledge, tips, you can make a feeder yourself.
Why do you need a feeder
High quality feed should always be kept in the hive, regardless of the season. This is a guarantee that the family will use about 50 days of honey harvesting during the season. When the collection of nectar is finished, and the combs are not yet filled with food, the uterus stops laying eggs. This is another important reason for the obligation to provide feeding.
Top dressing is best done in automatic mode. Feeders are purchased in specialized stores for beekeepers, you can make them yourself. Top dressing should always be in the hive, especially if the season is characterized by an abundance of cold, rainy days. It is not worth worrying about the quality of the new crop, since the bees take feed even before the cells are sealed. Timely feeding is an important moment for the development of a healthy bee colony.
Do it yourself or buy
Beekeepers consider this question rhetorical. The cost of ready-made is low. But a do-it-yourself bee feeder warms the soul of the beekeeper. Only the owner knows what and how much his wards will need in order for them to thank him with a generous harvest. Therefore, many apiary owners prefer to do such things on their own. No special skills are required for this, and there is always enough available material in your own apiary.
But there is a certain risk if the beekeeper decides to make the feeders himself. Minor violations lead to the fact that some of the individuals simply drown. A few makeshift rafts will help avoid this trouble.
The beekeeper independently determines the type of feeder that is suitable for his apiary. It depends on the conditions in which the hives are located, the feeding method and the capabilities of the owner. There are several types:
- in the form of a frame.
Experienced beekeepers know what each species is. For beginners, the information will be useful.
A small wooden container that matches the size of the honeycomb frame. Installed inside the hive on a stand, attached to the wall with small hooks. The sugar syrup is inside. To exclude possible drowning, a special raft, lattice is installed.
Popular enough. Attached to the lid or on the lid of the hive. Feed from the main tank is not available, it automatically enters the special tank as it is emptied. The disadvantage of this design is that filling requires direct contact between the host and the bees.
This type was appreciated by many beekeepers. The model has a large capacity, does not require constant replenishment. This is beneficial in cases where it is necessary to regularly travel to the apiary to fill the feeders. Easy to operate, easy to clean, as they are made of plastic. The container can be filled from one glass to one bucket, depending on the situation. Installed under the top cover of the hive. Filled with syrup. The bee takes food from a special container covered with a glass.
Outside the hive
Beekeepers use this type in spring. This helps to awaken and feed the bee during the first flights. Consists of a tank and a small opening through which feed enters the feeding container. Its width should not be more than a centimeter, otherwise the insect will drown. The advantages of the feeder are obvious, since the use excludes contact, makes it possible to control the filling, does not require special care, and does not present difficulties during installation.
In the form of a frame
Such a feeder is easy to make yourself. A frame is used, which every beekeeper has. It is sheathed with plywood on both sides, from below. All joints are treated with special sealants, wax, you can use propolis.
In the upper part there is a lid with a small opening for replenishing the feeder. After filling the trough, the upper opening is closed. The food goes into a small container, from which the bee is fed.
Not all beekeepers use this type, since the joints can be leaky and the food gets into the inside of the hive. It may end sadly, part of the family will simply die.
How to make your own
No special skills are required to craft. It is important that it has two compartments – for filling with food and for feeding the bee. If it is installed inside the hive, it is worth providing passage to the trough and return to the hive. The volume can be varied. From one glass, if it is possible to regularly replenish feed stocks, and up to several liters.
For regions where dry, warm weather prevails, outdoor bee feeders can be made. But they are not suitable for winter. A self-made feeder can even be much more convenient, more practical than a purchased one.
Making feeders with drawings
All proposals for the manufacture of feeders for bees were left by beekeepers who have long and successfully used their products in their own apiaries. Moreover, purchased feeders may not always fit the size of the hive. When self-manufacturing, several important points must be taken into account:
- free access to feed in any weather;
- exclude the possibility of drowning bees;
- the feeder does not cause hassle in care and operation;
- access for stranger bees, wasps is excluded;
- limit or exclude contact when filling the feeder;
- constant control over the amount of feed.
Based on these rules, the beekeeper can independently create a feeder for his bees and save his own budget.
From a plastic bottle
The simplest version of making a feeder for bees from plastic bottles is offered. How she looks can be seen in the photo.
Small holes are made in bottle caps. Bottles filled with food are installed along the vertical wall. For convenience, you can use a special frame, as shown in the diagram.
In the manufacture of a ceiling feeder for bees, pre-prepared boxes are used that correspond to the size of the hive.
These dimensions may not match the parameters of a particular hive. Therefore, it is better to independently take the readings and, on the basis of them, start making a ceiling feeder for bees. Treat walls and joints with wax or propolis. A large container is filled with feed. Through the holes, it enters the tray. The bee enters the feeder through the extreme opening and freely returns back to the hive.
From a glass jar
The simplest and most labor-intensive version of a bee feeder. The can can be installed inside the hive or outside. It is important that the cover fits snugly. Many holes are made in the lid. The can is filled with feed. Then it is turned over and placed upside down in a tray or saucer.
From plastic bags
This feeding method was applied by beekeepers from Australia. It was quickly recognized by our beekeepers because of its simplicity and low cost. But where there are many hives, it is not profitable to use it. It is better to choose bags made of dense polyethylene. You can fill up to three liters of bee food.
The package is laid out directly on the frames or stands outside the hives. There is no need to make holes, the bees can handle it themselves. It is enough to sprinkle sugar syrup on the bag to get their attention. The hole you made yourself may be too large and the top dressing will spill out. The bee makes holes to the size of its proboscis, so pouring out is excluded.
The disadvantage of this method is that under an empty or full bag, after taking food, there may be several bees, which often die. But there are also a number of positive properties:
- fast filling, the ability to store bee food directly in bags close to the hives;
- does not require feeders;
- can be used in non-standard size hives.
But along with all the advantages and savings, there is a big disadvantage of this method. The bag can rupture and flood everything around it.
A bee is a great hard worker, doing everything for the good of man. But she cannot do without his help. If you do not provide the family with full-fledged feeding, you can simply lose the whole family, since there will be no spring offspring without feeding.
In addition, such feeding reduces the risks of diseases of bees to which they are susceptible, provide vitamins in winter. Simple care for your family is guaranteed to bring positive results in the next season, will help keep all families and get a good, healthy offspring.