Beginner Beekeeper - Questions About Feeding Bees
I'm having trouble finding info about feeding the bees. Some books mention an inner cover with one or two holes, but it's been difficult trying to track down whether that is the same as the cover you refer to above or whether it is something different.
Also, my inner cover arrived without holes and I need to know how big to make one. And, if I make two, how far apart makes sense.
Finally, I'm assuming the feed has to go in another super, but it would be handy if that was explicitly discussed somewhere.
After all those criticisms, I feel bad -- your site has been a great resource! Without you, I'd never have been able to build my hives at all.
BTW, I bought pre-fab hives that I had to assemble. I stored them flat, but am now finding that about 2/3 of them are warped. If you have hints as to how to prevent warping or deal with it once it happens, that would be handy.
Thanks for all your assistance!
Good questions - I'll do the best I can with them.
To start with, yes, the inner cover referred to on my website and in beekeeping literature is always more or less the same thing (to my knowledge). It's usually constructed of Masonite, and usually does have a hole in it. Virtually all of the inner covers that I've purchased over the years have had the hole.
The one that I built for the page that documented the construction of a bee hive did come with a hole in the center, as you can see in the photo below.
The reason for the shape of the hole in the photo is to accommodate a Porter Bee Escape, allowing the inner cover to also serve as a bee escape.
But unless you want to be able to use your inner cover for this purpose (and that's really not the most effective method for using a bee escape), then no hole is necessary.
If you want to have a hole in the inner cover to use when feeding your bees, the size and shape of the hole is not critical. I'd just make it roughly equivalent to what you see in the photo.
I don't know of a reason for having 2 holes in the inner cover. Perhaps someone will add a comment to this page and educate me about that. :)
You can then overturn a feeder pail or jar over the hole in the inner cover. Then put an empty super on top of the inner cover, and the outer cover on top of the super (no need for another inner cover).
Another method of feeding is to use frame-shaped feeders. You just temporarily remove a frame, replace it with the feeder, and refill the feeder as necessary. If you use this method, be sure to buy a feeder that has a roughened inner surface so that bees don't drown in the syrup.
The above feeders can be purchased from most any bee supply company.
And one of the simplest of feeding methods is to simply pour the sugar syrup in a Ziploc baggie, and place the baggie directly on top of the frames. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the bag to give the bees access to the syrup. You can make room for the baggie(s) with just an empty shallow super, or even a cut-down super.
All of the above feeding methods work fine. The primary advantage of placing a feeder on top of the inner cover is that it allows you to check the status of the feeder without disturbing the bees, or exposing the cluster to the cold.
Sorry - I'm not much of a woodworker, and can't help you with a method of straightening your hive pieces. I've not encountered that problem myself.
To prevent that from occurring, I wonder if you could store the pieces in a dry place stacked under a flat, heavy weight?
Perhaps someone will add a comment to this page that will help you with that problem.
Hope this helps a bit, and best of luck with your bees!