Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hive Top Feeder = Drowned Bees

I'm upset.  I'm sad.  I'm confused.

Here's what happened ...

As I previously mentioned, I ordered a float style hive top feeder about two weeks ago.  It came last week and I installed it last Thursday.  Today, Tuesday, I went back to check on the feeder and how the bees liked it.  I was totally shocked when I found roughly 40 bees had drowned in it over the course of five days.  I immediately removed the feeder, because with a colony as small as mine, I can't afford to lose that many bees.  Period.

Thankfully, the clover nectar flow is strong right now and the hive has been staying fairly busy, so the removal of this feeder should be no big deal.  Also the entrance reducer is still in and I'm watching carefully for pests/robbing.

I'm just disappointed.  I made sure that the floats were installed correctly and have pictures showing that they were.  I plan to email the company and ask if this is normal or if there is some trick to the feeder that I am missing.  It's hard for me to understand how so many bees could have drowned in such a short time.  In the photo below, you'll see sticks that I was using to try to save a few half alive bees after removing the feeder.

If anything positive can be said, it seems that the bees have begun to draw out comb in the second super.  I do a full break down inspection on Thursday, so I will post an update and more photos then.

The feeder and floats before I installed them last Thursday.
The hive after putting on a second super and the feeder.

What I found today when checking the feeder.
This is the feeder after I removed it from the hive today.

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