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Three Types of Bee Feeders

Updated: Apr 30

Whether you plan to feed your bees strategically, or just for survival when necessary, having the right tool for the job will make your life easier. Below, I will share the three types of bee feeders that we use and share some pros and cons of each.

Entrance Feeders

One type of feeder that often comes with beginner kits is a Boardman Feeder or Entrance Feeder. These look like little mason jars that sit just outside the front entrance of your hive. I do not include them in this comparison and do not recommend them as they tend to attract wasps, ants, and robbers.

Sleeve Feeders

Pros: Comes in with many beginner kits, internal (doesn't attract pests)

Cons: Replaces frames, must open hive to refill, many drowned bees, small capacity

Pail Feeders

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to DIY, holds lots, no drowned bees, doesn't attract pests.

Cons: Must protect with empty super, must open hive to refill.

Top Feeders

Pros: Best capacity, can refill without opening hive

Cons: Must be VERY careful to seal well, most expensive option

In truth, there is no PERFECT feeder. We use all three at different times of year and for different purposes. If I had to choose, I would say the pail feeder is the most low-maintenance option, and bonus that it's also the least expensive!

Looking for more?

Looking for more beekeeping education? You can find my virtual, on-demand beginner and intermediate courses at

Or if you'd prefer a more tailored experience, you can join my mentorship group at


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