Rapid Feeder: Human Error

A hard lesson I would like to share with you.

When I did my site inspection a couple of weeks ago I was shocked to see a large number of bees floating in the rapid feeder.  The lid was still on the feeder and the inner-cup was still on.  But the lid of the feeder was slightly skew and at that time the crown board still had an open hole.

The bees had come-up from the crown board and climbed-up the exterior of the rapid feeder and entered the feeder through the slight gap in the skewed lid.  The bees were attracted to the syrup and drowned in the process.

In this situation, it was a case of rescuing any bees I could and removing the feeder from the hive to dispose of the dead bodies and syrup.  A  new feeder replaced it later.

I have also had ants visit my feeder as well.


Moral of the story:

Once you have finished topping-up the rapid feeder be mindful to give the lid a firm push.  Simple as that!

12 thoughts on “Rapid Feeder: Human Error

  1. I’ll be sure to make sure my lid is on in future. Thanks for the sad tale and the advice

  2. So sorry. We know how ill one feels beholding something like this. Good of you to warn others.

    1. charltonestatetrust 11 September 2012 — 9:11 pm

      bless you.

  3. Awww…sad. Thanks for the words-to-the-wise.

  4. Oh that is just awful. That happened to me when feeding outside the hives, easily hundreds dead. It’s always good to share our mistakes, it’s how we all learn.

  5. Thanks for the heads up. Sorry about all those bees.

    1. charltonestatetrust 13 September 2012 — 7:04 pm

      thanks 🙂

  6. Oh no 😦 I’ve put a brick on top of my feeder before, after I saw my determined bees actually managing to push up the lid and get in. It sounds impossible but I saw them do it!

    1. charltonestatetrust 15 September 2012 — 8:41 am

      I also had that suspicion of bees pushing up the lid but I was more comfortable blaming myself. Nice to know. Thank-you.

  7. Thank you for sharing this story, because it can happen so easily with rapid feeders. As Emily says above, we put a small brick on our feeders for a while, although no one would believe that we had very strong bees!

    Even without getting the lid off, bees do sometimes fall into the syrup from inside the cup and drown. We fish them out and then throw away the syrup to replace it with fresh syrup. This is because when a bee dies it regurgitates its stomach contents, which often contain nosema spores, and contaminates the syrup. The other bees continue to drink up the syrup and the nosema spores and in this way help spread nosema around the hive.

    Andy Pedley at our apiary has a plastic food bag technique that he swears is full-proof for feeding bees syrup without drowning them. We haven’t tried it yet, but if we do I’ll post a step by step! Sorry about all your bees 😦

    1. Charlton Estate Trust 23 September 2012 — 7:21 pm

      I will watch your site!

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