If you’re a beekeeper or bee enthusiast, you may want a bee feeder to keep your colony afloat. These clever devices have various uses to help maintain a healthy and productive hive of bees. If the surrounding natural environment cannot support the bees year-round, it’s crucial to offer them food through a bee feeder. You can fill these containers with many different food resources to keep the bees thriving.
The best bee feeder is the Foxhound Bee Company Feeder. This four-pack comes with a multistep entrance, also known as a front feeder, and fits most commonly sized syrup jars.
There are two main types of bee feeders. The most common is the syrup feeder. This lets the beekeeper provide a constant supply of sugar syrup to the bees to keep them fed during the winter months or introduce them to their new hive. These feeders can be attached on the outside or directly inside the hive. Pollen feeders are the second type and can also reside in the hive or attached to the outside. These feeders differ in design because pollen is solid material such as patties, granules or powders.
Deciding where to put your bee feeder can depend on what type of hive you have. Different feeders work with different styles of hives. Entrance feeders sit at the front of the beehive and use slots to give bees access to the honey. These are best suited for Warre and Langstroth hives. Hive top feeders sit on the top of the hive and feed the bees through a hole in the lid. Lastly, there’s the frame feeder, also known as the division board feeder. This sits inside the hive and works in the Langstroth hive. One noticeable advantage of the entrance feeder compared to the other variations is that you can detect the syrup level without opening the lid. However, this does leave the feed vulnerable to robber bees.
Bees’ favorite food is sugar water or sugar syrup. This feed mimics the taste and feel of plant nectar, the bees’ natural food source. You can purchase pre-made feed or make it yourself at home by using white sugar and water. While honey can work, store-bought honey can introduce contamination or other variants to the hive that can cause disruption. If you will purchase honey, make sure it’s dark brown, unprocessed and made for bee consumption.
Most beekeepers who are producing honey for a business will have numerous hives. Due to the number of bees and food required to sustain them, it’s essential to have multiple feeders. Finding a bee feeder set that comes with two to four feeders can save you money in the long run by offering more bang for your buck. Multi-sets are most common with front-loading feeders because these are the most widely used types of bee feeders.
Your feeder must fit snugly into your hive. This will not only help keep bees from escaping, but it will also prevent robber bees from infiltrating your colony. Robber bees are scouts from outside colonies that are on the hunt for new food sources. Feeders for specific types of hives, so before you purchase a feeder, be sure to double-check that it will fit snugly into your current hive box. For the highest quality fit, you should purchase a hive and feeder designed by the same manufacturer.
Front feeders are the highest quality type of feeder because they offer visibility of the jar from the outside. This helps you keep track of the amount of syrup inside the jar to know if it needs refilling. For panel feeders, you’ll need to remove the lid to check the syrup level. When removing the lid, you may make your colony vulnerable to robber bees.
Bee feeders cost around $15-$21.
A. The best time to introduce a bee feeder to your colony is when it’s first released into the hive. When the bees see their new surroundings, they will be unfamiliar with them. Therefore, they require the feeder’s support.
A. The best time to remove the bee feeder is when the bees have gathered enough food to sustain themselves. During the winter months, the bee feeder is crucial to keeping the hive fed. In the spring and summer months, however, it’s recommended that you remove the bee feeder.
What you need to know: This popular feeder from Foxhound comes in a classic front feeder design and fits the most commonly used syrup jars.
What you’ll love: This set includes four feeders, all of which have a multistep entrance. It’s affordable and will allow you to feed multiple hives without purchasing extra feeders.
What you should consider: This set does not include jars. However, Foxhound does sell them separately.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This single bee feeder set comes complete with a front-loading feeder and includes a jar for immediate use in your colony.
What you’ll love: The jar is made with high-quality glass and holds around a half quart of syrup or water. The included plastic feeder is made in the U.S.
What you should consider: The feeder’s tabs which slide into your hive box may be too thin.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This uniquely designed bee feeder can hold up to 3 quarts of syrup and works to replace the frame of your current hive.
What you’ll love: The design includes ladders and grooved sides, which help to keep the bees from drowning while they’re eating. This allows for a worry-free experience for the beekeeper who is concerned about hurting their hive.
What you should consider: This feeder is best compatible with the Little Giant 10-frame beehive.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.