This late in September, while there is a nectar dearth shaping up in the Pacific Northwest, I have put out an open feeder for my bees. It's working out really well, so I thought I would share this with you.
It's important to put your open feeder at least 50 yards from your hives. 100 yards is even better. Mine is about 90 yards away.
Fill the feeder with a mix of sugar and water. 1 part sugar to 1 part water is the normal syrup mix, but this late in the season I up it to a 2 sugar to 1 water ratio. Mix your syrup well, making sure the sugar is totally dissolved. Allow it to come to room temperature and put it in a bucket.
This is VERY important. Add a bunch of straw or hay or dried grass or tall weeds. This gives the bees something to hold on to all the way to the bottom of the syrup levels fall. It keeps the bees from drowning. Put in several sticks, making sure they are taller than the container, so the lid rests against them.
Your open feeder will attract a LOT of bees. In fact, it will be a surprising number of bees. It will also attract wasps, bald-faced hornets and all kinds of other insects and critters. Place it away from people and traffic. If ants become a problem, sprinkle cinnamon around the feeder.
If bees don't find your feeder right away, put some honey on the tall sticks and on the lid of the container.
I fill this with about three gallons of syrup. Believe it or not, it's totally empty in about eight days. That's right - eight days.
It's a lot of fun to watch and it's good for your bees. Enjoy!