Growing Colonies And Feeders From Scraps

I went and checked on my aunts bees on Friday, because I was worried they were still struggling. My neighbor and I have been working on making some simple syrup feeders that I can put inside the hives, and after purchasing one for $30 from a place down in Oregon, we quickly built another 3 for (literally) $1 each. I didn’t finish them until Friday night though, so I didn’t have them with me when I went to check on the girls Friday morning. And that was probably for the best given how much the bees have expanded. Warre hives are supposed to encourage the bees to move downward through the boxes as they expand, but in the three years I’ve been using them I’ve never seen it work out like its supposed to. I was shocked to see that both hives had completely filled in the empty box I’d placed on each of their brood boxes. The boxes below them were still relatively untouched, though the hive that started the year with more wax had begun to move downward a little bit.

The blackberry flow has started, so the girls have been very hard at work hauling in all of the honey, and making wax. The entire top box on each hive was full of fresh white wax, the cleanest I think I’ve ever seen for how full it already is. I didn’t bother looking for either of the queens because I saw capped brood clearly when I separated the boxes. I moved the bottom box of each hive and put it on top of the honey super. I probably should’ve placed it in between the super and the brood nest, but oh well. I’ll move it next week if need be. If they both continue growing like this they might actually both fill in all 4 boxes, which no colony has managed to do before. Either way, they’re doing extremely well and with a couple rainy days just around the corner, there’s no reason the honey flow should stop.

Here’s a picture of the feeder I bought and the 3 that we made!

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It’s a very simple piece of equipment; just some wood stapled together to allow the bees space to move around underneath the mason jars (with holes poked into the lids) and some wire mesh to keep the jars supported and the bees from escaping when you replace empty jars with full ones. To use them all you do is place them directly above the hole in the telescoping cover in a Langstroth hive, and place a super box around the feeder to keep it protected/ the heat in. With a Warre hive you cut a small hole in the cloth that protects the quilt and center the feeder on that. Again protect with another super, and place the quilt and roof above. It’s very simple and cheap, and provides two feeding stations with no chance of drowning. Any sized wide-mouthed mason jar can be used, it just depends on how tall your super is. I have quart sized jars, which are too tall to fit in a Langstroth super, so I’ll have to use deeps if/when I need to feed the bees at my house.

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