Beekeeping: Are Top Feeders Death Traps?

My bees love me. I give them a nice place to live. I provide water. I try not to bother them too much. They have this really cool feeder on top that sometimes has water and sometimes a special treat like honey water. They have to love me…. right?

Well, not if I’m killing them! I thought I was giving them a treat by putting the honey water in the top feeder. This honey water was left overs from our first honey extraction. We boiled the crushed comb to melt the wax. The water that was left over was just deliciously sweet so as not to waste it I poured it into the top feeder.

Now stick with me for a minute to follow my thought process. See… before I added the honey water I was propping up the back of the cover so there would be some extra ventilation in the hive. It’s hot here so I thought that would be nice. Well, the day after I added the honey water I went out to see how things were going. and I found a top feeder full of dead bees. Oh NO!!

Top Feeder with dead bees.
Top Feeder with dead bees.
I just KNEW that this was my fault. I left the cover propped up and they must have been flying in from that open space rather than coming up through the hive. To fix my problem, I placed the cover flat like it’s supposed to be so I wouldn’t kill anymore bees.
Here’s my challenge. The day after “fixing” my problem I went back out to find this.
Bees inside even after closing cover?
Bees inside even after closing cover?
There were still bees in the top feeder? How? The cover was down flat. Are they getting around the screen? Is this top feeder a DEATH TRAP?
Until I figure out why this is happening I have removed the Top Feeder altogether. For now I’m still going to prop up the cover for ventilation, but no feeder to put my girls at risk any longer.
Propped Top Cover for Ventilation.

I’d love your feedback. What are your experiences with Top Feeders? Are they too risky? Is mine just faulty?

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