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A simple method for feeding bees

Hossam Farag Abou-Shaara, Baqshan’s Chair for Bee Research, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, PO Box 2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

Hossam Farag Abou-Shaara

Many different methods are used by beekeepers for feeding sugar to honey bee colonies. Some use external feeders while others place feeders inside the hive. Each feeding method has its own advantages. In external methods, the sugar syrup is exposed to environmental factors and other insects, for example ants. With internal feeding there is the problem of the beekeeper having to open each hive - this is time consuming and extra work if there are many colonies. Some beekeepers used to spray empty combs with sugar syrup and then add these combs to the hives: this method takes too much time and effort. In this article, I present a simple method to feed honey bee colonies.

Common types of feeders used by many beekeepers take a lot of time and effort

Using my method honey bee colonies are fed externally without the need to open hives. It is easy and can be done at any time of day without fear of robber bees. The method can be used on any hive size and helps beekeepers to feed their colonies easily and fast. The method depends on connecting the internal feeder with an external part as shown in Figure 1. This allows sugar syrup to be added externally to reach the internal feeder.

A hole is made on the hive side to fix the external part with a cover to protect it. A small wire net is fixed inside the internal feeder, at the connection point with the external part, to prevent bees from escaping. The external part is made of plastic and is connected to a plastic or wooden internal feeder. Liquid beeswax can be used as waterproofing if using a wooden internal feeder. The internal feeder is fixed inside the hive using small nails.

Figure 1. The external part (C) is fixed to the hive wall through the opening (B) to connect with the internal feeder
The external part fixed to the hive side and attached to the internal feeder

When adding sugar syrup the beekeeper removes the cover, and then adds the sugar syrup through the external part. The level of sugar syrup inside the feeder can be monitored by watching the liquid level inside the external part.

Other ideas

• Connect the external part with many hives together with a long plastic tube to feed sugar syrup to all hives at the same time.

• The external parts and the feeder are removable which means that the beekeeper can control them. Also, a small tube can be fixed at the lower part of the feeder to remove any undesirable liquid.

Benefits of this method

• Combines the best of external and internal feeding.

• Allows feeding at any time during the day without fear from robber bees.

• Many colonies can be easily fed at the same time.

• Anyone can add feed - there is no need for beekeeping experience.

• Feeding can be done during any season without problem.

• No problem transporting the hives as the external parts are removable.

• Bees are prevented from falling into the feeder by the wire net.

The general shape of the feeder and the hive