Bucket feeder problem

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colhills
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Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by colhills » September 18th, 2017, 1:10 pm

The bucket feeder I installed yesterday leaked it's entire contents into the hive overnight. It holds 9 liters and I had filled it with 5. The cap was on tight, the lid was on tight, I upended it and waited for the stream to slow to a trickle, then a slight drip, then nothing. I noticed that syrup was leaking out the tiny ports around the edge of the lid, but that had also stopped before I put it over the inner cover hole. I'm looking for thoughts as to what I did wrong or what may have failed.

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Allen Dick
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 18th, 2017, 1:25 pm

What sort of bucket feeder was it? Purchased? Or home made?

Does it use a screen or pin holes?

And, was it level?
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colhills
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by colhills » September 18th, 2017, 6:28 pm

Ahhhh, level? I do not know...probably not! It's purchased, has two small holes quite a lot bigger than pinhole size, with a screen over top of them.

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BDT123
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by BDT123 » September 20th, 2017, 2:03 pm

In the op, you say it was leaking from the tiny ports around the edge of the lid. That indicates the lid is not sealed. Does the lid have a gasket? If not, it is unlikely to create the seal you need.
Some of these bucket feeders take a great deal of force to seal, in my experience anyway.
Will the bucket fit inside an empty medium or deep box?
I use 4 litre buckets that fit inside a medium box. With a couple 1/2" shims beneath the bucket I can offset the feeder from the inner cover hole. If there is a leak or serious temperature rise, the syrup doesn't all go into the hive.
Best regards,
Brian

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Allen Dick
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 20th, 2017, 2:44 pm

Atmospheric pressure keeps the syrup in the pails as long as no air can enter above the syrup.

Any change in ambient temperature or barometric pressure will result in some expulsion of syrup, but not normally a significant amount.

Interestingly, though, atmospheric feeders are not suitable for air transport because the large cabin air pressure changes between cruising altitude and ground level pump out a lot of syrup.

In your case, the problem has to be a vent of some sort that is not at the exact same altitude as the screen. Likely suspects are a pinhole in the pail somewhere (unlikely), or leaks around the lid seal as already mentioned.

Lid seal leaks, however, are not usually a problem if the pails are on a level hive lid and any leaks at the pail rim are at the same altitude as the screen. Slight leaks are not unusual and bees can often be seen feeding the join between the lid and pail on neighbouring hives.

Problems occur, however if the pails are on a slant and one side is higher than the other. In that case,unless the seal of the lid is not perfect, air can enter on the high side and break the vacuum, resulting in the syrup running out.
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colhills
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by colhills » September 22nd, 2017, 9:22 am

Thank you both very much for the input. With careful consideration, I will try again.

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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 22nd, 2017, 10:01 am

Test the bucket overnight with water.

Also, I did not ask what thickness of syrup you are feeding at this time of year. In the fall of the syrup should be as thick as you can mix it in hot water. Then if it is cloudy it should sit until clear so any sugar granules settle out. Then it's ready to put into the bucket and feed.
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colhills
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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by colhills » September 22nd, 2017, 5:20 pm

Tested it on the counter all day with water, brushed the screen with my fingers a few times, and all seems good. I also propped up one side just to see what would happen, since I do indeed have my hive tilted slightly forward. Brian's comment on the force needed for some buckets makes me think I didn't have it sealed well enough, so I also borrowed some muscle to reseal. I'm doing 2:1 syrup. Tried making 3:1 since it's getting late, but I couldn't get the sugar to dissolve. Was afraid it would crystallize.

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Re: Bucket feeder problem

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 23rd, 2017, 8:39 am

I didn't have it sealed well enough, so I also borrowed some muscle to reseal. I'm doing 2:1 syrup. Tried making 3:1 since it's getting late, but I couldn't get the sugar to dissolve. Was afraid it would crystallize
People with many to close use a rubber hammer. If you use a steel hammer, hold a piece of wood on the rim to spread the impact. A foot or so of 1x2 is ideal. Hold one end. and hammer on the other.

2:1 is the highest concentration that will stay in solution at normal outdoor temperatures and even 2:1 will precipitate out a bit over a year or so outdoors here in Alberta.

2:1 is an ideal concentration for fall feeding. Bees take it readily and there is not much excess water to evaporate to get it to 82%.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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