Last year as I was preparing for my first hive, I did a lot of research, and one of my main interests was feeding methods. After listening to other bee keepers list the pros and cons of a number of feeding methods, I couldn’t decide what would be best for the bees, and I was not happy with the suggestion that I do what what was easiest for me. I finally decided to combine and modify the baggie feeding method I saw online. Primarily, I wanted to eliminate bee deaths from feeding and avoid limiting the bees movement inside the hive.
Here’s what I do:
- Add syrup to quart-sized freezer ziploc bags.
- Place the bags on top of the inner cover (this allows the bees to move freely between frames).
- Poke holes in the bags with a toothpick (cuts down on mess compared to making slits).
- Add a 3″ shim.
- Place a screened inner cover on top of the shim (allows for more ventilation).
- Add the cover.
There are two main downsides to the method:
- the ziploc bags are not reusable
- the method may not scale well. I have used it with four hives, but I imagine with a lot more it could be hard to maintain.
The bees seem to like it, and I have never lost a bee to feeding!
Honey Bee Suite has a great summary of other feeding methods (opens in a new window): http://www.honeybeesuite.com/what-type-of-honey-bee-feeder-is-best/