When fall arrives, special care of honey bees is important. Preparation for winter will ensure the survival of the bee and the honey supply. Bucket feeders are useful as a food source for the winter months. The bees can eat from the buckets at an elevated level without leaving the hive, keeping them safe from the cold ground elements. A bee bucket feeder can be made simply and inexpensively at home from pails or buckets that have lids.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 1-gallon bucket with lid
- Hole punch tool (such as an ice pick)
Punch the lid with a hole punching tool (such as an ice pick) to small holes all over its surface. Space the holes about 3/4 of and inch apart. If you make the holes too close, the integrity of the lid will be lost and it could rip the plastic, causing a leak.
Put sugar syrup honey, corn syrup or sugar water into the bucket. Fill it to the rim to eliminate dripping syrup; air pockets will cause the syrup to drip. Put the lid on the bucket. When making sugar water, check the sugar ingredients. Do not use sugar containing starch because this can harm the bees.
Remove the hive's top cover. Place the bucket upside down over the inner cover hole at the top of the hive (the hole in the top shelf of the hive). This is the highest hive compartment above the bees. The elevation helps to keep the bees from freezing. Heat rises, so the feeder will be warmer the further it is off the ground. Bees do not hibernate, so they need to feed in a stable environment to survive the winter months. This compartment also allows the container to be filled without disturbing the bees.
Put an empty super (the box frame that houses the honey) over the upside-down bowl, on top of the feeder bowl. This will be a layer just like those below it, where the bees live; this will lay stacked on top of the other supers. Doing this helps to insulate the feeder bucket from the cold.
Place the top cover back on the hive.
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