Entrance Feeders

One of the things I got from BetterBee was a couple of entrance feeders. They are called entrance feeders because you are supposed to stick in the entrance of the hive. For normal, Langstroth hives, this is at the front of the hive at the bottom (you can have entrances in different places though). A lot of beekeepers seem to prefer other types of feeders over entrance feeders (there are many types). As far as I have seen, the biggest complaint about entrance feeders seems to be that they can promote robbing. Robbing is when bees not from the hive come and steal honey store to take back to their hive. Weak hives (like ones just starting out) are more at risk of being robbed, and can be overwhelmed. Once robbing starts, it can quickly escalate. Since entrance feeders are right at the entrance, it may be either easier or more enticing for potential robbers. This is why I designed my hive to take the entrance feeders at the rear of the hive. The only access to the sugar syrup will be from inside the hive. This way any robbers would have to enter the hive and move all the way through it in order to steal any syrup. I think it should not induce robbing this way.

I didn’t yet have the feeders when I was building the hives, so I wasn’t exactly sure of their dimensions. They were described as ‘Designed for 3/8″ bottom board entrance, but can be used on a 3/4″ entrance with a wooden insert‘. I therefore cut the slot for them to be 3/8″ thick. I guessed that they might be 4″ wide. When I got the feeders, it turns out they were 5″ wide. This was no problem, I could widen the slot in the same way I had squared it up (with a hand saw and a chisel). The bigger problem was that they were not 3/8″ thick. They were actually a slight bit over 1/2″ thick. With the hives already assembled, I couldn’t make the slot thicker using the table saw (like how I originally made the slot). The best way I could figure that I could thicken the slot was to use a rotary saw that I have. It’s like a RotoZip. It looks like a drill, but the bit is designed to cut sideways. You can plunge it in like a drill, then cut sideways. Its useful for some things, but I was a little worried because in my experience it had a tendency to catch and jump while cutting (leaving a nasty gouge). I wanted to get a nice straight line, and would rather not screw up my hive at this point. I couldn’t come up with a better idea though.

I took of the clean out doors so that I could clamp a scrap piece of wood on to act as a guide. I did my best to hold the saw steady and started cutting. Happily, I did a pretty good job. 🙂 I enlarged the slot and reattached the clean out doors. The feeders now fit, and there are no nasty gouges in my hive. 🙂

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