Bucket feeders are popular among beekeepers because they are both cost-effective and user-friendly, typically used to feed sugar syrup or other food to their colony.
Beekeepers use 1-gallon buckets equipped with plastic Tint Plugs so bees can access their honey through small holes drilled into the lids. Beekeepers can quickly fill them up at their workshops to assess consumption quickly without opening their hives.
1. Easy to Fill
One gallon pails equipped with screens embedded in their lids enable bees to feed through, creating vacuum feeding. Although popular among beekeepers, moving these feeders without smoking or disturbing their colonies may prove challenging.
Frame or Division Board feeders work well in warm weather. A bee trough the size of a Langstroth frame sits centered in its inner cover with a floating sugar solution to help prevent bee drowning; additionally a #8 hardware cloth ladder may also be employed to reach it for accessing it from below. However, due to limited visibility into these feeders’ conditions it can be challenging to determine how well colony conditions have changed in these setups.
Jay Smith designed an outstanding feeder design for bottom boards that works incredibly well. The bottom of the board features a wooden dam that restricts access to syrup while still permitting bees to climb down through the rear entrance. Plus, an empty deep hive body covers it so as to ward off raccoons!
2. Easy to Clean
Bucket feeders operate on the same principle as water coolers or similar containers that use vacuum or air pressure to hold liquid syrup, providing bees with nutrition at the front entrance to their hive. This type of feeder works great for feeding bees at the entrance of their hive and can utilize any container such as quart jar, paint can, plastic pail or one liter bottle – large inverted containers work better since they can store up to one gallon or more of syrup at any given time and don’t need frequent refills from refilling stations or refill stations.
These types of feeders are very straightforward and straightforward, providing easy maintenance with multiple hives at once. A pail feeder features a stainless steel screen embedded into its lid; bees access their syrup through this screen when filling your pail close to its top with sugar syrup close to its level and slowly invert it over the hive or on its inner cover. Your tint plug should contain various sizes of holes depending on your feeding method: more for spring feedings and fewer holes drilled depending on fall feedings.
3. Easy to Monitor
Bucket feeders differ from their frame feeder counterparts in that they sit directly above a cluster for easy bee access. This enables quick checks on syrup levels as well as easy addition of mite treatments or other products as needed.
Commercial beekeepers frequently utilize beekeeping feeders. From simple designs to more intricate varieties, beekeepers use this style of feeder. Common features of such systems are an inverted jar placed atop an adjustable feeding tray at the hive entrance – easy for monitoring while also being non-disturbing for bees when checking or adjusting tray placement.
Feeders are also very easy to use if you need to feed bees quickly but do not have time to open up their hive. Sugar syrup can quickly be filled into it without risk of robbers entering, then closed without disturbing the beehive. These feeders can also be used during summer and fall feedings or when bees need additional reserves before winter sets in.
4. Easy to Move
Beekeepers commonly utilize 1 gallon buckets as feeding vessels for their colonies. To prepare it for feeding purposes, drill a 49mm hole and insert a plastic tint plug in its lid – this will serve as your access point to clean and refill your bucket feeder.
This type of feeder should be placed above the inner cover of your hive and works using a vacuum feeding mechanism. When syrup is poured near its top, slowly inverting pails allows bees to access and lick off its screen surface as more drops down through their beaks as the bees drink up the sweet treat!
Feeding newly hived packages or colonies during spring hive expansions is easy with this style of feeder, making monitoring effortless while eliminating the need for frame feeders at hive entrances. Plus, its design enables emergency feeding – you can even place candy boards directly onto it! Be careful when using an open bucket feeder as this could prompt robbing while, in cold temperatures, the syrup could freeze very quickly if placed too close to your hives.