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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I pulled two 8-frame medium supers and got almost exactly 5 gallons of honey. I filled every bottle and jar I had, but I have about 8 more supers to pull, so I will need at least 4 buckets. (There are more supers, but I am leaving one on each hive, so I won't have to feed during the summer dearth like I did last year.)

Went to shop for buckets and got sticker shock. $25-$40 for a bucket with a spout?!??

My wife found 5-gallon food-grade buckets at Tractor Supply Co: .Tractor Supply 5 gal. Food Grade Pail, White at Tractor Supply Co.
I ordered 4 of them, and it was $32.79 including tax, local pickup.
I found the pour gates for $3 each: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TB2ZRCW

At about $11 each, this seems like a good deal for a lidded bucket w/ gate. I'm wondering if I should get more before prices increase.
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Before I do, is this a good or bad price for a honey storage bucket? Any better places to buy?
 

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Make sure the ones from Tractor Supply really are food grade. That price seems low. Dadant was $10:50 last year if my memory has not failed.

Crazy Roland

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Cheapest I found was at Farm and Family at about $7.00 with the lid, minus the honey gate. They are food grade though. So yes, looks like you are on the right track for the cheapest. White Gouse Farms had 5 gallon buckets used for a buck a piece which are also food grade but I seem to miss out every time I go there to get any. They are always gone,gone,gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Wow, $1 each? Nice! Keep trying, that would be worth it to score a few.

The TSC buckets are definitely food grade. It's even labeled on the outside of the bucket. Here is a link: Tractor Supply 5 gal. Food Grade Pail, White at Tractor Supply Co.

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I wash them in hot soapy water with a shot of bleach added, just be sure they are clean and sanitized before use.

I'm very happy with the honey gates too, by the way. Have not leaked a single drop after about a week of being filled. You do have to tighten the screws to the proper torque before using. Basically, tight, but not so much that it's hard to operate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Dadant is $10.65 for a bucket with lid, which isn't bad at all. But with a honey gate, it jumps up to $37.95, and you have to install the gate. Ouch!

Seems like Farm & Family is the best so far, at $7 for a new bucket and lid, but maybe buying clean used ones is not a bad way to go, especially if you need a lot of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From what I have seen, gate or no gate doesn't matter with storage, as long as they aren't leaky. I like the gates, as it makes bottling so much easier. Just put up on the counter and fill jars or bottles to your heart's content.

I've never had problems with honey crystalizing, but they do make bucket warmers, if needed. Mine is never around long enough to worry about that, so I'm sure there are others who can give you better answers.
 

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I have stopped buying 70 mil buckets. They are fine for 2 or 3 seasons of use, maybe more. However, the bottoms will ultimately fail under the weight of 60 pounds of honey year after year. If you have ever had the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of honey crack and leak for days undetected, you will never trust a 70 mil bucket again. I buy 90 mil buckets. Perhaps it is overkill. But I sleep better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not looking for better answers from others, wanted to know your answer, which after hearing will most certainly change over time.
Yes, things do change with time and experience. I just put up my first CL ad up for local honey. Will be interesting to see if it sells, or if I end up with a big surplus and have to store long-term. If I can't sell the honey, I will sell some hives off to reduce the time and cost of keeping so many. Four hives plus maybe a resource nuc seems about right for me. Having 11 is more work than I want, unless it's profitable enough to warrant it.

I have stopped buying 70 mil buckets. They are fine for 2 or 3 seasons of use, maybe more. However, the bottoms will ultimately fail under the weight of 60 pounds of honey year after year. If you have ever had the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of honey crack and leak for days undetected, you will never trust a 70 mil bucket again. I buy 90 mil buckets. Perhaps it is overkill. But I sleep better.
In my experience (as a contractor) regular buckets are good for 3-4 years if kept out of the sun. After that, they are better to plant tomatoes in, as they will crack or break at the worst times. The heavy gray paint buckets are UV protected and last for many years. Those are the ones we put HD handles on and store tools and bolts in. I'm guessing those would be similar to the 90 mil buckets you refer to.

I have never needed more than 1 or 2 buckets with gates. Honey for storage works fine in a bucket without a gate. I just pour it into a gated bucket when ready to bottle the honey.
That makes sense, Ray. No need to have gates (and possible leakage) on all of them. Since I only need a few, it just worked out that way. I just ordered a few more. I think I'll keep those buckets untapped and save the gates for later, in case they get brittle or fail after awhile. They are the exact same gate as on my extractor, so it's not a bad thing to have spares. I haven't had them long enough to know the long-term reliability.
 

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thill said:
"That makes sense, Ray. No need to have gates (and possible leakage) on all of them. Since I only need a few, it just worked out that way. I just ordered a few more. I think I'll keep those buckets untapped and save the gates for later, in case they get brittle or fail after awhile. They are the exact same gate as on my extractor, so it's not a bad thing to have spares. I haven't had them long enough to know the long-term reliability."


Sounds like a good plan to me. No need to have possible leakages and always good to have spares. Indeed, I have experience with honey gate leakages, had to replace the carpet in a room once.
 

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I have stopped buying 70 mil buckets. They are fine for 2 or 3 seasons of use, maybe more. However, the bottoms will ultimately fail under the weight of 60 pounds of honey year after year. If you have ever had the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of honey crack and leak for days undetected, you will never trust a 70 mil bucket again. I buy 90 mil buckets. Perhaps it is overkill. But I sleep better.
Probably very wise advice, honey is heavy, wet and valuable. For lighter dry food safe uses :whistle: we have had the best luck with Home Depot buckets. Lids do not seal as well with Tractor Supply or Lowes buckets. Plus had lids crack with one... Wife will remember which. So HD is the best of a bad lot situation. Unfortunately they are very hard to catch in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like a good plan to me. No need to have possible leakages and always good to have spares. Indeed, I have experience with honey gate leakages, had to replace the carpet in a room once.
Yikes! Hot water and a wet vac followed by a carpet machine couldn't get it done?
That's a shame.

FWIW, my craigslist and FB ads this morning are gaining traction. I have several people lined up to buy honey. Not bad...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hopefully, your wife was looking forward to new carpet.

BTW, I've been crazy-busy selling honey today. These people are like a swarm of robber bees! I'm glad it's selling, but it's kind of sad watching the honey disappear. At least I won't have to worry about the durability of the buckets.

What is surprising to me is how much demand there is for comb honey. I'm really glad I use wax foundation in my supers. Slice between the vertical wires, and it makes perfect slabs to put in the jars.
 

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I use the food grade buckets but the gates can be tricky. Really check with water for leaks to the bucket and on the gate because if not tightened correctly they will leak.
ALSO be sure to not tighten the gate up when the bucket has been cleaned and dried. If you leave the gate closed tightly then the seal will tend to deform and leak the next time that you use them. I have learned to check them before each use. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good tip about storing the gates a little loose. Thanks for that info.

That kind of fits with how I use the gates. I loosen the screws 1/2 turn, dispense as needed, and then tighten back up after I'm done. I figure that will lessen wear to the O-ring.
 

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Even the 5 gallon buckets sold in Lowes and Home Depot are food grade. Just to be sure, check the bottom of the bucket for the different symbols that are stamped there. You will be looking for a triangle with a number inside of it. The number will indicate if it is food grade or not, or what type of food can be stored in it. Just google "what do the numbers on the bottom of 5 gallon buckets mean". This way you won't have to order them online if you need a bucket in a hurry.
 
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