Last week we talked about the entrance feeder and concluded that while it’s a good tool for emergency feedings it’s not a great long term feeding solution.  Today we’ll talk about the frame feeder and the perks and drawbacks to this style of feeder.

As with all feeders there are some things to consider when you decide what style you’d like to use.  A good list of things to consider would be:

  1. Do you have to suit-up and open the hive to access this type of feeder?  If so you’ll not want to use this version when it’s wet or cold.
  2. What does the feeder cost and are there other things necessary to use this feeder?  For example last week’s feeder required a canning jar or any small mouth jar.  That’s not expensive but it’s something else you’ll need to use that feeder.
  3. Can the bees drown or does the feeder cause robbing?  The entrance feeder from last week does indeed increase robbing issues and today’s feeder can cause drowning problems.

 

So what about the frame feeder?  It’s relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to use but it does have drawbacks.  Here’s the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Fits inside the hive decreasing chances of robbing or pest attraction.
  • As it’s in the hive bees can move to the feeder and get feed even in very cold weather.
  • They fit in the space of a frame making placement and operation obvious.

Cons:

  • You have to open the hive to refill the feeder.  This isn’t possible during the coldest winter months or when you can’t get into the hive enough to do an inspection.
  • You’ll have to suit up to fill this feeder as you’re getting into the hive completely.
  • Bees can drown in this style of feeder.  Using floats and textured walls helps with this problem but you’ll still lose some bees.
  • Can take more space than one frame thus reducing your actual frames in the hive to 8 to make space for this feeder.

Many people love this style of feeder and depending on where you are and the weather in your location this might be a good option for you.  In general though you will see a number of drowned bees with this style feeder regardless of using floats and other methods to stop the issue.

Do you use this feeder?  Have you been able to stop the drowning?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

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