Honey Bee Feeders

Dadant & Sons provides several different honey bee feeders – entrance, hive top and frame feeders – that can make feeding your hive simpler in winter or other times when nectar supply is scarce.

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These feeders fit seamlessly inside your hive and vary in capacity to prevent bees from drowning. Each has its own solution to keep the bees safe.


Entrance Feeders

Entrance feeders offer bees a convenient means of feeding when foraging options are scarce. They can either be installed outside the hive, or integrated into certain designs within it; both options allow bees access without disrupting their hives, making entrance feeders an appealing solution. Furthermore, their presence decreases disturbance to their colonies while remaining easy to monitor, making entrance feeders an appealing solution.

These feeders consist of a tray that fits inside the hive entrance and an inverted jar filled with syrup that is easy to refill quickly, monitor, and help deter robbers from attacking. Unfortunately, their exposed nature leaves it vulnerable against harsh elements, including freezing temperatures which may make refilling time less frequent and monitoring more effective.

Another version involves placing a wick in the jar to draw moisture from the air, helping prevent ice formation. Both types are suitable for use during hot weather and can also be used to provide pollen or sugar syrup mixture in addition to traditional feedings.

Hive Top Feeders

This feeder takes the place of one frame in your hive, protecting it from wind, rain and sun exposure. Our hive top feeder can be used to administer liquid feed or pollen substitute to your colonies when they require extra sustenance before winter sets in, when rearing brood or for any other reason that might necessitate medicating them.

Beekeepers in warmer climates may use it all year. Refilling this feeder requires opening your hive and potentially disrupting bees while also exposing yourself to robbers; however, you can equip this hive top feeder with a screened lid which restricts access to syrup and reduces drowning; making this inspection far less invasive than an entrance feeder which needs to be opened.

Frame Feeders

Frame feeders are an alternative form of hive top feeder that are placed within the colony instead of above it, making them suitable for rapid feeding in cooler temperatures or early feeding in spring. They offer more control than their hive-top counterparts when providing early or rapid food supplies to a colony.

They can hold large volumes of syrup and have an added feature that prevents bees from drowning: the cap and ladder system restricts which areas of the syrup container bees can access, helping prevent excessive drowning in cold temperatures while still allowing bees access to nectar if they fall in accidentally.

One disadvantage of this feeder type is its susceptibility to leaking and dripping onto colonies below, potentially freezing bees if this occurs during cold weather conditions.

Pail Feeders

Pail feeders are plastic buckets equipped with holes at their upper lip that bees can climb into to feed, making this type of feeder easy to monitor and refill. Though suitable for placement either inside or outside hives, pail feeders tend to encourage robbing activity and can even cause sugar syrup to freeze in cold weather conditions.

Frame feeders can provide an effective alternative for both inside and outside use. Constructed of rigid edges to help the bees gain traction when feeding, frame feeders offer superior durability over entrance or top feeders while offering solid perching surfaces to reduce robber attacks during feeding sessions. Unfortunately they can be more expensive.

Open Feeders

Feeding honey bees has always been a contentious issue in beekeeping, with new beekeepers often disfavoring open feeding as either strongly discouraged or outright prohibited.

Open feeders increase the risk of robbing, which occurs when bees from one colony invade another (usually weaker) hive to uncap and remove stored honey, leading to fighting between both colonies that eventually leads to their demise.

Some beekeepers rely on bucket feeders, hive top feeders or frame feeders as food sources for their bees, yet these devices are all open and vulnerable to being invaded by other insects such as ants, wasps and hornets that feed off sugar water sources. Such insects pose a great danger as they bring diseases into hives they visit while depriving the bees of natural sustenance sources.