How to Feed a Top Bar Hive

Feeding your top bar hive can be done quite easily using a number of methods. Most beekeepers feed in the spring upon installation of package bees, or in the fall if the colony is low on honey stores. Swarms usually don't need feeding as they are full of honey upon leaving their hive, and they generally choose to swarm when the weather is warm and dry enough to forage and gather nectar and pollen. 


What to Feed

If needed, most feed 1 to 1 sugar water in the spring, and 2 to 1 sugar water in the fall. We recommend pouring pure cane sugar into the container (a jar, for instance) and then very hot tap water while stirring with a spoon until the sugar dissolves. If you've got honey from hives you trust, you can also feed honey to your bees. Honey is superior to sugar water, and we recommend feeding it if you've got it. 


Jar Feeders

Our double jar feeders or entrance feeders can be used on the floor inside your hive. Many ask, "Won't the liquid pour out once you flip over the jar?" It will pour out for a split second, but due to the vacuum that occurs, the rest of the liquid will remain in the jar(s) until the bees reach up with their tongues (proboscis) and suck out the feed.

We recommend you place your jar feeder on the floor of the hive toward the back, either on the same side of the divider as your bees, or you can cut a hole in the bottom of one of the dividers and put the feeder on the opposite side. During this time you'll want all of the bars installed on the hive so it's harder for robbers to access the feeder. 

The double jar feeder is just wider than the floor of the hive, so it sits slightly elevated and the bees can access the underside and feed. The entrance feeder has a door the bees can enter to feed.