FYI for those wondering how to get mass quanities of hot water out of your domstic hot water heater. The normal hookup for your washing machine is garden hose threads.
take 50' hose into the house, hook up to were your washer normally does and turn it on. 40 gal of hot water right from the hot water tank.
If i had this job id cut a 6" hole in the top of a 200gal tote. place to pour sugar and place to drop sump pump. use the sump pump to mix as shown above. use standard ball valve on bottom to pour into buckets or tractor to feed location and use sump pump to dispense directly into feeders.
We use to use an old washing machine. It agitates perfectly for the job. Filled the pails straight from the hose
I purchased a 55gal plastic drum with a removable lid ($20 on Craigslist). I have a hot water spigot on my house. I dump sugar in, fill with hot water and put on lid. I then knock the barrel over and roll it to my hives, thus mixing it in route. Wait a while for it to cool the then just dip the feed out with a bucket. Next year I will pump it out straight into the feeders.
Looks like many of us are doing the same type of mixing. I use a 55 gallon stainless steel drum and tig welded a bung fitting on the lower part of the tank and installed a Maxant no drip valve.
My mixture consist of mainly 1/1 solution based on weight starting out with about 30 gallon of water and add 240lbs of sugar while mixing with a long paint paddle mixer that I extended and placed on a heavy duty drill. I place a heating strap around the drum and heat overnight. The next day the syrup is hot and I remove the heating strap and let cool. After tis is done I add my secret formula of bee PED.
I top feed through 5lb jars, my feeding requirements are a bit different than some because of my warm location. The Maxant valve eliminates messy fills and is quiet speedy in filling. I try not to store a lot of mixture, just keeping about 100 gallons is good for me, then I mix again.
Thanks - Lots of good tips and ideas here. Beekeepers are a resourceful bunch. It looks like I can make use of what I have on hand to do what I need. I believe I'm gonna have a bung for a boiler drain faucet (on hand) welded into the bottom of the side of a 55 gal honey barrel that I bought sugar in, and mix it with my mud paddle and drill using hot tap water. I can either fill it and mix it in the bed of my truck or just fill my bucket feeders at home - probably the second one because my Italian robbers just cake up on open syrup right now.
Other tips like filling to the same level as the original dry sugar for 65% mix instead of even measuring water sound like great time savers.
Thanks to everyone - but keep them coming if there are more.
If I were convinced that there were no sizable apiaries within my area, and I had a bunch of hives/nucs to top off I would seriously consider open drum feeding, or feeding in a trough like Cleo Hogan does. Imagine the labor saved in not having to fill buckets, tubs, or other feeders.
So, I got a 1/2" npt fitting welded into my honey barrel as low on the side as they could get it, set it up on a pedestal made of concrete blocks in my garage and started using it a few days ago. Big time saver, but as usual there are a few things I would do different.
I would have a larger fitting installed and use a faucet with larger passages. It takes a few minutes to fill a 2 gallon feeder 3-4 I think - I haven't timed it. Faster would be good though.
Since I don't have a trolling motor, utility pump, or convenient source of really hot water I end up with about 3" of undissolved sugar in the bottom. Not a big problem - very little of it comes out with the syrup, and it will just get mixed into the next batch, but I'm sure it's part of the weak stream issue. So I would probably have a second (bigger) fitting installed about 4" off the bottom.
Now I really need to get in the habit of keeping the garage door closed.
So how are you mixing it? With a canoe paddle? Have you thought about putting a hot plate under the barrel?
I'm using a heavy duty construction drill with a mud mixer paddle bit - which I had on hand. If I mixed it for long enough I guess it would eventually all dissolve. Apparently I don't have sufficient patience. Or a washing machine... Well, I do... Nah, my wife would kill.
I've thought about a lot of things (although not a hot plate) but I really don't want to over complicate it. Or burn down my garage. What I'm doing works - works pretty good for that matter - it's a freaking technological breakthrough for my operation. Works great compared to mixing 5 gallons at a time on the kitchen stove - which makes excellent syrup but just takes too long, and results in a sticky floor more often than not. I was just pointing out to anyone who might be reading the thread and thinking about doing something like this what I would do different If I knew than what I know now.
When I am finished feeding for the year I will probably have another threaded fitting put in, because it occurs to me that then even if one or both was a little slow, I could fill two feeders at once. If I hadn't had any of the materials on hand I would probably just get a utility pump and use it both for mixing and filling feeders. But I had all of the tools and materials, and I traded a quart of honey and $10 for the expert welding.
Are you putting the water into the bottom fitting? Injecting it into the bottom will help to agitate the the sugar/syrup.
A hot plate under a metal barrel would help heat the mixture. We used to use a tractor that didn't have a block heater, in the winter months and used a hot plate under the oil pan to get it started.
Wonder what would happen if you created a closed loop with a small pump. Draw water from the top and inject it into the lower tap??????????
Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!
I know a family which used to heat their bulk honey tank w/ hot plates. Some how never burnt any honey.
For a loop, wouldn't it be easier to tap off the bottom and pour in the top?
Mrs.B has been using the washer. But I have a tank, which holds more than a drum, w/ a mixing propeller near the bottom. I may have to find my hot plate. Or aim the salamander at it.
How does one do that? Wouldn't one need a second outlet/inlet? Besides the spout?
You could just put female ends on both ends of a garden hose, but I can agitate the snot out of it with my drill. For that matter I could wheel my drill press over and run the mixer with that - That's actually not a bad idea. But the layer of sugar on the bottom is not a problem - I could just add a little more water to the mix and get it to dissolve - or heat my water to boiling with my turkey frier - might do that next time. Anyway, none of this is a problem. All I am saying is that if your faucet taps a few inches off the bottom of the barrel it will be less of a problem. You don't need a utility pump, or a trolling motor, or a heating widget - all of that would be additional handiness, but you don't need it. At least I don't.
I was going to mix up a batch of syrup in my 80 gallon stainless steel tank w/ the propeller inside, but when I put water in it I found it leaks. Shoot. I don't think the leak is at the flanges where the pipe elbow meets the tank. I think it's a hair line crack in the elbow. But I can't see it. All I can see is the casting of the elbow.
If it is the elbow, I hope I can get it braised. It seems to be bronze. It's such a small crack, if it is a crack, that I thought some epoxy might take care of it. Maybe? It's a pretty steady drip. I guess I could time it and see how long it takes to fill a one gallon bucket. Maybe I could get the syrup mixed before the bucket overflowed.
Can you take off and replace the cracked fitting? That would probably be best. But If you can get it to a welding and fabrication shop it's probably a minor fix - if they will do it. I fortunately have a friendly neighborhood shop that will do $20 jobs - they all won't. You might be able to fix it with epoxy or some other goop, but if it doesn't fix it or isn't reliable then your time and goop are wasted, and it probably has to be removed somehow before it can be properly fixed.
In the mean time you could just keep emptying the bucket back in the vat. Or use a bigger bucket.
I fixed a small leak in my syrup tank using J-B Weld...easy and inexpensive.
Ya'll are still talking about syrup right? All this talk about barrels, hoses, sugar, and propane burners and its beginning to sound like one of my families former endeavors.