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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Use for the Boardman Feeder

At this time of year, feeding the bees is not something anyone needs to do.  The bees in Atlanta are at the end of the nectar flow, but there is still some nectar to be had.  I haven't fed any bees this year in 2014.  All of my new hives were either nucs and were installed while we were having a nectar flow or the hives had overwintered and were just fine and not starving.

The Boardman feeder is particularly dangerous to use because it is like a billboard on the front of the hive screaming, "EAT HERE.  FREE FOOD!"

It's an invitation to robbing and that is a disheartening thing to happen to a beehive.

Last year at the Morningside Community Garden, we got complaints that my bees were showing up to take a swim at the neighbors' swimming pool.  They have a pool just over the fence from the beehives.  It's like Mr. McGregor's Garden - the bees feel tempted by the chlorinated water and are determined to visit the pool for a treat.  Only instead of going through a hole in the fence like Peter Rabbit, they fly right over it!

So to solve the problem last year, I put Boardman feeders on the front of both hives.  I filled the feeders with water, each with a drop of Clorox in it.  The bees got their water happily from the Boardman's and the neighbor complaints disappeared.

Since that worked so well last year, I've done it again on the Morningside hives.

So far, we haven't heard from the neighbors.  I was away a couple of weeks ago and as I drove home I noticed that the top was off of the hive with the blue markings.  I walked up to check and found the top on the ground at the bottom of the hill.  The hives look in this photo as if they are on flat ground, but actually they are at the top of a hill, the dropoff for which is right by the blackberry bushes on the back left.  

The top was lying face down at the foot of the hill about 15 feet below.  The hive was intact with the inner cover still tightly propolized.  I expect a storm blew the top off, but it seemed weird that it was located where the wheelbarrow and other equipment is kept and not directly below the hive on the ground.  

So far it hasn't happened again, so I feel sure it was the wind.  Maybe someone saw the top and just moved it with the rest of the equipment????


  1. Linda, I love your idea of using the Boardman's for a water supply for each hive. Here in my local farmland the field runoff ends up in the very ditches my bees are drinking from and pesticide loads, particularly the neonicotinoids that are sprayed monthly by the blueberry farmers, are a real concern. But I was not comfortable with community water feeders (cat waterers) either as then the apiary has a built in disease transfer station. Your solution is perfect! As for your lids...those wood and tin outer covers are really heavy. It is hard to imagine them blowing off at all, so I would think someone bumped it off or took it off to have a peek and the cover did not go back on for some reason. I always put a brick on my hive covers, even those heavy ones, just in case! (mostly I use Ultimate Hive Covers, which are lighter, more durable in our rainy climate, and provide better ventilation).

  2. My plan is to put a brick on it, but the hives are up on a hill and I have a torn ligament in my leg - currently wearing an aircast boot - so getting back up there hasn't happened yet! I'll get my son-in-law to help me with it.

  3. I imagine someone took the top off and then got scared and dropped it or put it down at the bottom of the hill!

  4. Linda, I thought you would like to know that I had two meetings in my beeyard with some bee people, one involved with setting up a local farm school under the auspices of a local college, and another who has inherited the (vast) family farm in Uganda and who is struggling with colony collapse issues in the local Scutellata population. Both were taken with the bee waterers I installed as per your design and felt that solved some of their pesticide exposure problems. So thanks for showing me the new use for the Boardman feeders!

  5. PS I did my Master Beekeeper research project on the why's and how's of providing clean water to bees. Because bees are very loyal to their chosen water source, which they either choose early in the season or remember from last year, you can switch their loyalty by baiting your water feeders with a very weak sucrose solution to begin with. As they adopt the preferred water source, reduce the sucrose and replace with a very weak saline (if you can taste the salt, it is too much). Bees prefer weak saline water sources.


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