Greetings, with all my idle time with the bees sleeping I thought I would try to build some kind of honey warmer or at least get all my honey harvest gear in order.
I just got back into the bee thing after a 4 year break so right now I only have 6 hives. This was a build up year (started with 2 hives) so essentially no real surplus honey. The question is.. Is there some kind of cheap honey warmer I could make to warm up the honey in my settling tank to make straining and bottling easier?
Like plywood and lite bulbs or something?
Also, does anybody know where to get a cheap uncapping tub?
Thanks a bunch,
Several people have done it with a light bulb for the heat, an old refrigerator for the enclosure and an incubator thermostat to control the temp.
I was talking to my wife about this and she had this idea:
Buy two or three heating pads from the drug store. Buy some wide elastic cloth from the fabric store. Sew it all together in a hoop. Wrap it around the metal drum. Plug it in. Walla!
Beware the fire marshall... If your house burns down you didn't get this idea from me!
Bee suppliers sell tank warming cables. I extract in winter with electric heaters aimed against my extractor and capping spinner. They both pour into a Dadant hot water bath pump sump. I can warm the honey to temp desired.
[This message has been edited by odfrank (edited December 04, 2003).]
After reading that last post I guess I should add that I am just a hobbiest so all the really cool stuff like hot water sumps and capping spinners, etc, etc, are out of my reach. not that it wouldn't be cool to have all those toys but I guess I'm looking for the poor boy techniques. I really like the idea of the heating pads. How long would they take to warm the whole drum?
Howdy All --
Stand a Medium on end or side about 8 inches from tank. Put ordinary small portable electric heater in it. Throw a plastic drop cloth (plastic) over the tank and heater.
The plastic holds the heat in the enclosure
and warms the entire tank. Works fine.
I use a couple of seedling mat warmers that I found on clearance. They are basicly small versions of waterbed heaters. Mine are 20 watt with no thermostat. A waterbed heater is much high wattage but has a thermostat. Advantages: water proof, inexpensive, and the best part is the heat is very dispersed with no 'hot' spots.
There are plans on this site. I made one with an old fridge and put 2 150 watt bulbs in the bottom. I found a thermostat at a heating supplier and wired it up. The stat was the most expensive item.It goes up to 170%. I just used it to melt some combs and it worked fine. It will take 2 5-gal buckets of honey. The nice thing is that I can hold the heat at 100 or 110 and really baby the honey. Before extracting I can put 3 medium supers in it and leave them overnight. Once extracted I can bottle at anytime. I have also reheated bottles of honey. If I've got many to do, I stack the supers over a light bulb and let the heat rise through them. I also have a few quartz radiant heaters I can shine on the boxes or on the extracter. When not in use the space isn't wasted because one can store stuff in it. My next adjustment will be to figure out how to make it hold at 57 degrees to make creamed honey.
Honey heater is easy. Dick has the same idea as I do, but I use 6 60 watt light bulbswith a thermostat. 60 watts don't get hot really fast, and the heating is more even. I built an insulated plywood box, that holds 2 5 gallon buckets. Set the thermostat to 105 degrees, and that way you don't cook your honey, and it retains the raw flavor. Buying the adustable thermostat like Dick said is great. If you plan ahead, and use a little thought, it can double as a wax melter. It won't bleach like a solar one, but it will strain out the garbage, so it can be bleached in the solar one. It works great, when you cull your not so close to 4.9 cell size combs. Just watch your thermostat setting. I have been told it can catch on fire.
If you are only using it as a honey heater at one temp, buy a wafer thermostat, from a hatchery/reptile supply company. I think I paid about 25 bucks for the wafer and switch.