Review of Multi-Duty Hive Top Feeder

Multi-Duty Hive Top Feeder

I was luckily enough to win a Multi-Duty Hive Top Feeder from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm at the MSBA annual meeting.  The idea is the bees crawl up the center and can access the sugar water or pollen without drowning. The feeder  is actually pretty simple to put together and use.

When it arrives you have to cut the gates and plugs out of the feeder before the first use. Use a sharp excato knife and cut slowly. Below is plastic gate and plugs removed.

The plastic gate which is cut out.

The round circles are plugs for the bottom and wide Us are the gates. Brushy recommends not opening up a hole in the bottom as it produces a place to generate leaks.

Small Gates installed

The feeder comes with gates that can be reversed. One side of gate  lets bees access to the holding chamber, the other side of the gate prevents bees from getting into the chamber. The gate on the right has been installed on the small setting. There is no gate installed on the left.  This will allow sugar water in but keep the bees from the chamber. You can see the round circle which can be punched out.

Brushy recommends putting small sticks to help the bees not drown. The sides of the plastic are textured to help the bees climb them. I found you should add the syrup first and then add the sticks. If you add the sticks first they can become stuck in the bottom.

Feeder installed in the hive.

Here the feeder is installed on a hive. The white plastic plug needs to be placed in the opening.

I used the feeder for about a week before the temperatures became too cold and had good success.

Pros:

I found the bees were able to easily access the sugar water. It holds two gallons of sugar water, 1 on each side. It allows you to easily feed the bees without disturbing the hive. This would be beneficial for new packages and requeening.

Cons:

I did find one bee who had drowned in the sugar water. It is also difficult to put the cover onto the feeder and ensure no bees are trapped inside.  Removing the hive when it still contains sugar water can be a bit tricky. You have to make sure to keep it level. Unlike buckets you can not transport the feeder while full.

The feeder clearly works and seems like an improvement over the older styles.  I’m not sure if the feeder is worth $25 compared to normal feeder buckets. The real test will be in the spring to see how quickly mold develops on the sugar water. Brushy claims the plastic will prevent mold from growing.