The 10 Best Bee Feeders for Healthy & Happy Bees

As one of nature’s hardest workers, honeybees require a helping hand now and then. Beekeepers often want to supplement their diet, but opening the hive too often can hurt the hives. What’s the solution? Using the best bee feeders.

Bee feeders work by holding sugary syrup or water in easy-to-reach places for the bees to feed off of. Some feeders are placed at the hive entrance, or placed at the top of the hive. Some even replace a frame of honeycomb within the hive itself.

But the one thing they have in common is, they are a vital tool you need to keep your hives healthy, hydrated and happy.

But why do bees need feeding? Can’t they find food themselves? What about honey? Whilst bees are incredibly independent insects, there are key times throughout the year where nectar and pollen are scarce and they need additional support.

This is especially true coming up to the cold winter when bees can’t forage and must depend on food stocks. Supplementing their food is pivotal.

We’ve hand-selected 10 of the best bee feeders for you to consider. Every single one can easily find a new home in your hives, help them survive tough weather or sparse food conditions, and bring your beekeeping to new heights.

10 of the Best Bee Feeders:

1. Front Entrance Honey Bee Feeder and Lid for Feeding Bees

Front Entrance Honey Bee Feeder and Lid for Feeding Bees

This 4-pack bee feeder from Foxhound Bee Company is versatile, easy to install, and can deliver a constant stream of nutritious food to your hives over a long period.

What we love about these feeders in particular is how flexible they are. You can use them at the entrances of your hives, or inside the hive as a top feeder. The feeders are perfectly sized, with each one measuring 5.5″ long, 3.25″ wide, and 7/8″ tall, and they fit most jars snuggly.

These jars are very straightforward to use and are an especially great purchase if you are a beginner beekeeper. They are transparent, meaning you can monitor the syrup levels from the outside of the beehive, without having to open the hive up and cause undue stress to workers.

The optional and removable snap-in bottom also makes the feeders easy to clean and remove when not in use. And because these feeders come in packs of 4, you can save time and money by placing more than one at the entrance of a hive, or above the crown board, providing twice as much food with only half the effort.

Lastly, this feeder is suitable for a multitude of hive boards, including Langstroth bottom boards including Mann Lake, Flow Hive, Honey Keeper, Dadant, and much more. If you already have established hives, these feeders will no doubt fit well with them.

Things we love:

  • Transparent design makes it easy to monitor syrup levels
  • The ideal size of a bee feeder & is suitable for several broad types
  • Can be used as an entrance feeder and top feeder
  • Comes in a pack of 4 for extra value
  • Snap-in bottom is very easy to clean and maintain

2. Little Giant Frame Feeder Beehive Frame Syrup Bee Feeder for Beekeeping

Little Giant Frame Feeder Beehive Frame Syrup Bee Feeder for Beekeeping

Keep your honeybees well-fed when nectar sources are scarce, with this frame feeder from Little Giant Store.

This feeder takes the place of a traditional frame inside your hive’s brood box. The inner ladders and grooved sides help your bees across the syrup whilst preventing drowning.

These feeder frames are simple to place in and take out and examine. They also come fully assembled and ready to use from the box. Simply fill the feeder with syrup, and place it back into your hive – and done!

Because this frame feeder is inside your hive, it won’t be poached by robber bees or annoying pests such as wasps. However, that does mean you’ll have to be confident in opening a hive to check on its syrup levels.

The entire feeder measures 19” x W 9” x H 2.25” and can hold up to 3-quarts of nutritious syrup – the perfect amount to supplement your bee’s diet during extreme weather or scarce food conditions.

Things we love:

  • Easy to install and ready to use from the box
  • Prevents drowning with ladder system along sides
  • Ideal for beginners and pros alike
  • Protected from predators and robbing bees by being inside
  • A perfectly sized frame that will suit most beehives

Things to consider:

  • Can only check the levels of syrup left by opening up and examining the hive

3. Boardman Entrance Feeder

Boardman Entrance Feeder

Monitor food levels easily in any one of your beehives with this easy-to-use feeder from Honey Hive Farms.

This versatile bee feeder can be used to establish new hives or help bolster an existing one to survive harsh winter conditions.

Thanks to its practical design, it is incredibly easy to use and install. All you need is a standard mason jar. Simply insert the feeder into the front of the hive and let it do its work. Use a simple syrup concoction (1 or 2 parts sugar to water) to keep your bees hydrated and well-fed.

Because of its external glass jar, you don’t need to open the hive to check on any food levels. This means you will disturb your hives less, whilst still being able to accurately examine food stocks and general hive health.

Whilst these feeders will suit a variety of hive types, they work best with Langstroth or Warre-style hives.

Things we love:

  • All you need is a mason jar to use
  • Suitable with Langstroth or Warre-style hives.
  • Transparent design makes it easy to monitor syrup levels
  • You don’t need to open hives to check food

4. Little Giant Plastic Bucket Bee Feeder

Little Giant Plastic Bucket Bee Feeder

Keep bees well-fed throughout a tough season or supplement their food source with this giant bee feeder from Little Giant Store.

We love that security is central to the design of this feeder. The bucket features a tightly fitting lid that can be securely closed to ensure you won’t lose any syrup from invading pests or robber bees. It also ensures syrup mixture won’t run out and annoy the interior of your hive.

So how does it work? This feeder fits atop the inner cover of the hive and allows bees to access the syrup with tiny holes in the lid. It’s designed to be easy to use because when you examine the feeder, you won’t technically be opening up the hive.

As the crown board will still stay in place, you can safely inspect bees, making a top feeder an ideal choice for beginner beekeepers.

This feeder also features a sturdy metal handle for easy carrying and holds an impressive 2 gallons of syrup at any one time. This huge capacity also means that the feeder can work for a long time without having to be refilled.

Things we love:

  • Huge capacity at 2 gallons
  • The secure, tightly fitted lid prevents spillage or invading pests
  • Easy-to-use and aimed at both beginners and experts alike
  • Sturdy metal handle

Things to consider:

  • Can only check the levels of syrup left by opening up and examining the hive

5. Swess Bee Rapid Feeder, Round Beehive Water Feeder Beehive Drinking Bowl for Beekeeping Supplies

Swess Bee Rapid Feeder, Round Beehive Water Feeder Beehive Drinking Bowl for Beekeeping Supplies

Whether it’s at the beginning of summer, or preparation for a harsh December, you can nourish your bees in half the time with these compact beehive feeders from Swess.

We love how easy these feeders are to use, which takes only a few short steps in full to install and put to work. First, you can place the bee feeder either at the entrance of the hive or underneath the roof.

Pour in the appropriate amount of water/syrup. Cover the top of the feeder and patiently wait for thirsty bees to investigate!

We like this model of feeder because you can refill the water without removing or disturbing the hive. The transparent lids also mean you can monitor the feeder from a distance without having to remove it.

They’re made of high-quality plastic and can be reused time after time once cleaned, making them a lifelong investment. Lastly, these feeders are suitable for medium (shallow) 5,8 or 10 frames of super pulp.

Things we love:

  • Easy to use, reuse and clean and made of high-quality, non-toxic plastics
  • 2 bee feeders are included
  • No robber bees or pests can take the syrup
  • Can check food levels without disturbing the hives
  • Transparent lids make it easy to monitor syrup levels

6. Pierco 9 5/8 Deep Frame Feeder 1 Gallon – with Cap & Ladder

Pierco 9 5/8 Deep Frame Feeder 1 Gallon - with Cap & Ladder

Easy to assemble, easy to fill, and easy to clean, this bee feeder from Pierco is a straightforward and practical way of improving your hive’s food stores in an instant.

As a frame feeder, this product takes the place of one of the frames in your hive and thus will require you to open up the hive to install, monitor, and replace. Bees descend the ladder set inside the frame for food.

The frame is made of high-quality plastic which makes it both easy to clean and wipe down. When you need to refill it, it’s very simple to lift out. And because this bee feeder stays inside your hive, it eliminates rival bees or pests from trying to steal food away, too.

This bee feeder includes everything you need, including a cap, ladder, and base. It has 1 gallon of capacity which can hold a huge quantity of food for a long period, without the need to be refilled.

Things we love:

  • Easy to assemble, fill, and clean
  • Made of high-quality plastic
  • An inside feeder helps eliminate robber bees and pests

Things to consider:

  • Can only check the levels of syrup left by opening up and examining the hive

7. Mikimiqi 2 Pack Beekeeping Water Dispenser/Entrance Feeder

Mikimiqi 2 Pack Beekeeping Water Dispenser/Entrance Feeder

Get peace of mind and feed your hungry bees in an instant, with these reliable, durable bee feeders from Mikimiqi.

The first thing we love about these feeders is how well crafted they are. The feeders are made of high-quality, durable, and lightweight plastic. This plastic is non-toxic and environment-friendly, meaning it will not introduce any harmful chemicals into your hive or spoil the taste of honey.

It’s easy to clean and helps prevent drowning when feeding bees. The feeder is easy to operate, and installation takes mere seconds. Simply fill the bottle with your desired liquid, cover the yellow pad and leave a gap of about 2-3mm. Pour the bottle up and let the liquid flow into the yellow pad.

This feeder has a wide set of applications, including building up your hive’s stocks in time for summer or bolstering food supplies during harsh winter conditions. And in particularly warm, sunny days, they can become a vital source of hydration for thirsty hives.

Placing it at the entrance will allow thirsty bees to replenish themselves. You can even squeeze the bottle gently to apply more substance to the floor of the feeder to attract more attention to it.

Finally, this feeder comes in a set of 2, which we think you’ll agree is of great value. You can then tend to multiple hives with a single purchase, without ever disturbing them. And because the feeders are transparent, you’ll always be aware of how much liquid is left and when you need to refill it.

Things we love:

  • Easy to assemble, fill, and clean
  • Made of high-quality, non-toxic plastic
  • Don’t need to disturb the hive to install and monitor

Things to consider:

  • Might be prone to robber bees or pests, depending on placement.

8. The Bee Bar No Rust Caps for Mason Jar

The Bee Bar No Rust Caps for Mason Jar

Say goodbye to rusty lids and stuck jars, thanks to these high-quality, durable bee caps from The Bee Bar.  

The standout feature of these caps is that you can transform your jars into bee feeders in a flash. The caps are all compatible with a huge range of traditional sizes and are simple to put on and remove.

Each cap is reusable and made of high-quality, food-grade plastic; no BPA is found, and the material is UV stable meaning it is durable even when exposed to direct sunlight. And as each one is reusable, they’ll make for a lifelong investment into your beekeeping career.

Additionally, these caps are dishwasher safe, making cleaning up and maintaining them incredibly easy. Most importantly, these caps are also rust-resistant, which is a huge concern for many beekeepers using traditional caps.

Things we love:

  • Rust-resistant
  • Made of high-quality, food-grade plastic
  • UV resistant
  • Dishwasher friendly
  • Reusable, and comes in a variety of value packs

Things to consider:


9. Airsnigi Round Bee Entrance Feeder

Airsnigi Round Bee Entrance Feeder

If you’re looking for a quality bee feeder, then might we suggest these round tops from Airsnigi which are sure to improve hive health and happiness this coming season.

Made of high-quality and durable plastic, these feeders are environmentally friendly and non-toxic to bees. They fit comfortably under hive roofs on existing crown board feeder holes, or equally at a hive’s entrance. Expect a quick and easy installation with no fuss or problems.

Since the feeder is placed at the top of the hive or outside the entrance, checking its syrup levels and refilling it is very straightforward. You won’t have to open up the hive and disturb the colony at all.

Instructions to use this feeder are straightforward; simply place it over the inner cover and the central hole. Bees will have no problems getting into or out of the feeder. And because the cup is transparent, you can easily spot how quickly the bees are feasting on the syrup.

Lastly, this feeder comes in a pack of 2, meaning you can feed more hives for better value, or plan an extensive feeding program for a hive in need of some TLC.

Things we love:

  • Transparent making it easy to monitor syrup levels
  • Placed at the top of a hive – no need to disturb the inside
  • Made of high-quality plastic that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • Suitable for many hives – simply place on a crown board
  • Comes in a pack of 2

10. Little Giant Beehive Entrance Feeder Glass Jar

Little Giant Beehive Entrance Feeder Glass Jar

This bee feeder from Little Giant Store has everything you need to supplement your hives, improving their health and resilience in tandem.

We love the accessible design of this jar feeder. Measuring L 6.5” x W 4” x H 7.375”, the jar can easily find a home at your hive’s entrance with no fear of blocking traffic. The extended tray makes food more accessible and creates enough space for bees to come and go efficiently.

We love how easy this feeder is to keep clean and maintain. Firstly, the base is made of high-impact plastic, which can be wiped clean in an instant. It also has extra resistances against wear-and-tear, and outdoor weather.

When the jar itself needs cleaning, simply replace it with another mason jar to continue feeding your hives. Zero downtime guaranteed.

The base of this feeder is colored a neutral white. Many scientists believe this color relaxes bee behavior because it contrasts with their natural predators.

The glass feed jar holds a generous 1-quart amount of syrup, which will require less refilling. And being see-through, the glass allows you to see food levels at all times without disturbing the hive.

Things we love:

  • Easy-to-clean jar and tray
  • The base is made of high-impact plastic
  • The accessible design prevents traffic blocks at the entrance
  • When placed at the entrance, no need to open up hives

Bee Feeder Buyer’s Guide

Which Type of Feeder Should I Get?

Always buy a feeder that matches both your experience and confidence.

Because opening up a hive can cause bees undue stress, consider a feeder which requires less maintenance and refills. This way, you can leave the hive for as long as possible without having to open it.

For example, top and entrance feeders can be installed and monitored with little fuss. You can even refill them without disturbing the bees.

Frame feeders, on the other hand, require you to open the hive and remove frames – these should only be reserved for experienced and confident beekeepers who can time precisely when they might need refilling.

How Often Should I Refill It? Does Capacity Matter?

Whilst the bigger the feeder ultimately means less refilling, consider matching the feeder’s size to the size of your hive. Big buckets have the potential to hold too much syrup, and bees might drown as a result.

Always tailor the size of the feeder to the size of your hive.

Suitability? Board Types

Certain bee feeders advertise that they are compatible with hive brands or board types, including Mann Lake, Flow Hive, Honey Keeper, Dadant among others.

Before buying a feeder, especially internal ones, make sure your purchase can fit! Compare measurements, and if in doubt, consult the manufacturer of your hive/frames for requirements.

New Colony Soon? Buy Your Feeder Now

Especially if you are new to beekeeping or receiving your first hive in the future, you must plan a bee feeder.

When baby hives (nucs) arrive, foragers will need some time to scout for food, and the entire colony will be no doubt be very hungry. It’s important to have a food source they can access from the get-go.

Honey

It’s generally not advised to use a bee feeder when a hive is strong and there are plenty of food sources for them to avail of. Feeding them a supplement of sugar, combined with natural sugars found in the wild, can contaminate future honey production.

This may result in a reduction of quality and texture. When you’ve harvested honey in the late summer, then it might be time to reintroduce a bee feeder and prepare the hive for winter.

How Many Feeders Do I Need?

Some of our feeder recommendations come in multiple packs, offering great value for money. If you have more than one hive, this is a great way of saving time, energy and money!

But do remember that in most cases, a single hive will only require a single feeder. If you’re new to beekeeping and only have one hive, it’s best to invest in quality over quantity.

Drowning

A topic many beekeepers want to avoid is bee drowning, which can arise from a misplaced or faulty bee feeder.

Not only does this show your purchase was in vain, but drowning can cause huge damage to bee stocks. Drowning occurs when worker bees are trapped in the syrup and can’t free themselves.

If your feeder has a low depth, then drowning is virtually impossible. However, particularly for frame feeders and ones with a large capacity that holds syrup suspended, bees may fall in and have no way to escape.

For this reason, you must always install these feeders with the utmost care. Check them regularly ( especially in the early days!) to ensure bees can access food and safely move away.

Some beekeepers suggest putting debris such as straw or pebbles into the mixture, to allow bees to float on the syrup or pull themselves off. Always consult with the feeder’s instructions before doing this.

High-Quality Materials

The best bee feeders will always be made with non-toxic, food-grade materials that will not damage or affect your colony’s health.

When washing your feeder, always avoid harsh chemicals or disinfectants.

If your feeder is outside the hive, be mindful of how it will fare against the weather. Ensure it is well-made, sealed, and can survive frost, wind, rain, and/or UV exposure.

Bee feeder

Frequently Asked Questions

How do bee feeders work?

There are many different types of bee feeders which vary with every hive setup, preference, and beekeeper experience.

Frame feeders replace a honeycomb frame inside your hive. Bees use a ladder on either side to consume the syrup.

Top feeders are bowl-like structures, usually placed at the top of the hive above the crown board hole. Bees can crawl in and consume the syrup.

Entrance feeders are bottle-like structures placed at the hive door, and slowly drip food mixture onto a tray for passing bees to replenish.

Jar feeders typically fit on mason jars and similar to entrance feeders, allow syrup to run down onto a tray below.

When should I use a bee feeder?

There are generally two reasons when a beekeeper should use a bee feeder.

Firstly, to supplement food when and if foraging is scarce. This is especially evident in the run-up to cold, winter months where flowers are rare. If the temperature is too cold, it’s best to supply bees with candy/fondant, then syrup.

Furthermore, some beekeepers may put a feeder on a hive ahead of summertime, to bolster numbers and promote honeycomb building. This helps prepare the hive for independent foraging during summer.

It’s not a good idea to use bee feeders when honey supers are on your hive, as honey may become contaminated.

Will feeders lead to robbing?

Robbing occurs when bees from another hive invade and steal honey, resulting in food shortages and many bees dying during the conflict.

It’s especially common during the latter parts of the summer when food becomes scarcer and bees fancy an easy meal from their neighbors.

If robbing is a common occurrence, entrance feeders outside or around your hives may make the problem worse. The syrupy smell will entice more robbing bees and potential predators. In these instances, consider switching to an internal feeder.

What syrup mixture should I use?

Whilst recipes may vary between beekeepers, a good ratio to keep in mind is:

  1. Summer – 1 part sugar, 1 part water.
  2. Autumn – 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.

Dehydration during the summer can be an annoying problem for many hives. Especially during the hot summer months where bees may have plenty of food sources you can simply have water in the feeders to improve hydration and keep bees feeling cool

Conclusion

Bee feeders are an essential safety net you must invest in for the care, quality, and benefit of all your beehives.

The best bee feeders do so much, with so little, including helping hives survive tough cold winters where foraging is impossible. They can also help you early in the beekeeping season by bolstering your stocks before flowers are plentiful.

And during the hot summer months, they can help keep hives hydrated with a source of water close to their homes.

Ultimately, bee feeders are the VIP of beekeeping tools. And it stands to reason then, that you must always invest in the best.

We recommend always buying a feeder that suits your beekeeping style. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally best to open your hives as little as possible, only when necessary. Many of the best feeders operate independently, at the entrance or just underneath the roof.

Remember, the best bee feeders are easy to install, maintain, and clean. Many are transparent, allowing you to gauge how much your bees are feeding and when they need a refill.

With the best bee feeders, your hives will be healthier, happier, and nourished, which will have a knock-on effect on every single aspect of your beekeeping.


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