Hivetop Feeder Preparation Instructions

Your new hive-top feeder can give you years of reliable service if properly protected and cared for. In order to prepare the feeder for use, you need to purchase a spray can of exterior polyurethane (Minwax spar urethane works well. It’s available from our beekeeping store as well as hardware stores and building centers) and give your feeder three coats, inside and out, following the instructions on the can. It’s very important that you don’t wait too long between coats. Urethane can be sprayed right through the 8 mesh screen in order to coat the wood behind it. It is not usually necessary to apply any urethane to the inside of the tunnels or to the bottom of the feeder, but if you have plenty of time before your bees arrive, it certainly can’t hurt to coat those areas as well. Urethane must then be allowed to dry for at least 48 hours (a week would be better) before using the feeder. Once the urethane has cured enough for you to handle the feeder, setting it in the direct sun will dramatically speed the curing process. As long as the urethane is well cured when you put the feeder in service, it will not harm your bees in any way.

Note: When placing your feeder on the hive, make sure that the feeder’s tunnels are parallel with the top bars. This seems to help ensure that the combs will be drawn straight and in the correct direction.

Please also watch the feeder preparation video by clicking here.