Begin Beekeeping

Feeding Your Bees

Types of Feeders

There are three main types of feeders you can use for starter colonies:

  • Tray Feeder — This is a large box type feeder that sits on top of your hive. Access for the bees to the syrup is either on the end or in the middle. This is a large capacity feeder which can hold thirty (30) pounds or more of syrup and is recommended for use in fall feedings.
  • Feeder Pails — Come in two sizes: fifteen (15) and thirty (30) pound size. Has a stainless steel mesh in the middle of the cover. This pail is inverted over the hole in the crown board (inner cover). This provides access for the bees. If you are using feeder pails, you must place an empty super over the pail and then cover it with an outer cover.
  • Frame Feeder — This is usually a plastic frame-sized container that can be inserted in the hive in place of a frame removed from the deep super (brood chamber). This type of feeder must have some kind of flotation that allows bees to reach the syrup without drowning. A piece of wood cut to fit makes a good float. Remember as the colony grows to remove the feeder and replace the frame removed.

Your package or nucleus colony should be fed sugar syrup to help them build quickly. As well, these bees are stressed either form a long trip or being removed from a parent hive and are susceptible to nosema disease. The feeding of Fumagilin-B as a preventative measure helps to ensure a healthy colony. As well, Terramycin (Oxytet) can be added to prevent foulbrood disease.

The recommended dosage is:

  • Fumagilin-B — 1 rounded teaspoon per gallon
  • Terramycin (Oxytet TM-25) — 2 teaspoons per gallon

The sugar syrup may be either 2:1 or 1:1; that is, two parts sugar to one part water, or one part sugar to one part water (by weight).