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The Best Hive Top Feeder For Beekeepers

While honey bees are often very self-sufficient, there are times when they need intervention from the beekeeper.

That might mean you need to provide food for them when there aren’t resources available that they would normally use. The most common way to do this is with sugar water.

There are many different ways to feed bees, but hive top feeders are among the most popular and make the process easy.

Check out this list to learn about the best hive top feeders out there.

Hive Top Feeder

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Hive Top Feeder:
Blythewood Bee Company Ceracell 10-Frame Beehive Top Feeder

Best Budget Hive Top Feeder:
Bee Rapid Feeder

Best Hive Top Feeder for New Beekeepers:
The Bee Bar No Rust Caps for Mason jar

Best Overall Hive Top Feeder

Blythewood Bee Company Ceracell 10-Frame Beehive Top Feeder

Try a hive top feeder that will keep your bees well-fed and is easy to use for beekeepers of all experience levels.

Refilling your feeder can be annoying, especially if your bees are going through sugar water faster than you can keep up with. Beekeepers with a lot of hives might also find refilling sugar water to be inconvenient.

This model holds 2.5 gallons at a time, so it will take your bees a while to drain this hive top feeder. It’s also very easy to refill when the time comes by just pouring fresh sugar water in.

You won’t have to worry about bees drowning when they need to feed with safe access points. They have multiple places they can go so everyone gets what they need.

Cleaning the plastic material is quick and easy, even when it’s been full of sticky sugar syrup. This model is made to sit on top of a 10-frame Langstroth hive.

Best Budget Hive Top Feeder

Bee Rapid Feeder

Bee Rapid Feeder, 1 Pc Round Hive Top Entrance Beehive Feeder for Beekeeping Supplies, Yellow

Beekeeping can be a pricey hobby, but feeders don’t need to be expensive.

This option is affordable and still keeps your bees well-fed. It’s very simple design makes it functional but easy for the beekeeper to use, and it doesn’t have unnecessary features that cost more.

Plastic is quick to clean with some hot water and mild dish soap, so your bees never ingest harmful mold.

With a price this low, you can keep more than one on hand. That way, you can always have one on deck and swap them out as needed to refill without the hassle.

Best Hive Top Feeder for New Beekeepers

The Bee Bar No Rust Caps for Mason jar

The Bee Bar No Rust Caps for Mason jar,Honeybee Jar Feeder Caps (4)

The most important thing for beginner beekeepers is simplifying everything as much as possible.

This hive top feeder is a great way to avoid overcomplicating things while you’re still getting your feet wet. It screws right onto mason jars, which you might already have at home.

It comes in a multipack, so you can easily switch them out to refill with fresh sugar water. It’s made from food-grade plastic and has a very simple design. Cleaning up is a breeze!

Getting this bee feeder set up couldn’t be easier. Just fill a mason jar with sugar water and screw the feeder on. Flip the feeder upside down and line it up so the holes are positioned over the opening on your inner cover.

Place an empty hive body around it for protection and to prevent robbing. To refill, lift the top cover and quickly replace it with a full feeder.

Buyers Guide to Finding the Best Hive Top Feeder

Feeding Bees

When you’re looking for a hive top feeder, consider your specific situation to determine the best one for your needs.

Beekeeping is expensive in general. You don’t need to spend a lot on a feeder, so you may want to save money here to fund other things instead.

Maybe you get tired of constantly refilling your feeder when your bees are consuming a lot of food in early spring. A hive-top feeder with a larger capacity will alleviate that problem for you. If you have a lot of hives, you probably don’t want to have small feeders in all of them either.

Or maybe you want to keep it simple for a backyard apiary. If you’re a hobbyist beekeeper, you can usually avoid more complicated equipment and still raise healthy, happy honey bees.

You should also consider how each feeder needs to be refilled and what will work best for you. Is it hard for you to unscrew a tightly closed jar, especially one that’s glued together with sugar syrup? Would you rather bring your feeder inside to refill than pour sugar water out at the hive?

Knowing the answers to questions like these can help you narrow down your search so you can decide on a hive top feeder more easily.

Hive Top Feeder FAQs


Why do I need a hive top feeder?

While you don’t technically need a feeder at all, you will almost certainly experience dearths or times of the year when there is no nectar flow.

During these times, your bees will still need to eat to keep the colony strong. New hives also benefit from being fed while they’re working hard to build their new hive out.

Feeding your bees at different sugar-to-water ratios can help them prepare for specific times of the year because they mimic spring vs. fall nectar flows. This provides signals to let them know what to do next.

Are hive top feeders the best choice?

Everyone has different preferences and needs, but there are a few reasons why hive top feeders are ideal for many beekeepers.

Hive top feeders keep the feed safely inside the hive rather than outside. This helps prevent robbing because it won’t attract other insects or animals to the source of the sugar water that’s out in the open.

Being inside the hive also makes it easier for the bees to access, so they have something to eat even if the weather isn’t good enough for them to forage. Hive top feeders allow them to consume as much as they need whenever they want.

Some hive-top feeders are easier to refill without disturbing the bees inside, which can be a huge bonus if you have grumpy bees. Many hive top feeders come in larger sizes than other types of feeders and can be refilled less frequently.

Can I make my own hive top feeder?

Yes, you absolutely can! There are a few different ways you can make one yourself.

One popular method is to use a mason jar with a metal lid. To make this DIY hive top feeder, you only have to use a hammer and nail to poke small holes in the lid.

Fill it up, twist the lid on securely, and turn it upside down over your inner cover, and you’re ready to go! Just be sure to test it before you put it in the hive in case you made the holes too big or it leaks.

For a larger hive top feeder, use a small plastic bucket instead of a jar; the idea is the same.

Just poke a series of small holes in the lid and make sure the lid can be sealed and turned upside down without leaking. Turn the bucket upside down over the hole in your inner cover or even directly on top of your frames. Again, test it before adding it to your hive so you know the holes aren’t too big.

Find a Hive Top Feeder for Your Honey Bees

It’s important to see your bees as sentient animals that you need to take care of to keep them healthy.

Sometimes that includes making sure they have enough food to eat when they don’t have enough from natural sources. Hive top feeders are a great way to keep them supplied with food whenever they need it.
Continue your exploration of beekeeping on our honey bee page!