I suppose you mean putting syrup in combs so they can then be given to hives to feed bees.
During dearths, I use one quart plastic containers with small holes drilled in their lids. I normally use these, inverted, as feeders, but to speed things up and save time, I will use the feeder to squirt syrup into empty combs, then give the syrup filled combs to nucs that need it.
I don't kbnow how House Holder does it, but I used to use a pretty low tech method that was shown to me by a friend.
All you need is a barrel of syrup, a large coffee can and your combs. Punch holes in the bottom of your can. We did that w/ the corner of the hooked end of the hive tool. Lay your comb on top of the syrup and scoop up syrup w/ the can and rain syrup down onto the comb. Turn it over and do the same again. Put it in an empty deep box and do the next one.
Walter T. Kelley has a frame filler on wheels. It had a tank w/ pvc pipes facing each other and syrup circulating through the pipes and back into the tank. Dip your frames between the two streams a cpl of times and the comb will be full. I don't know if they still sell this unit or not.
There is at least one thread that I remember here that discusses filling cells with syrup. Also, in the POV section Walt Wright discusses his low tech method. All methods involve velocity (through spraying or gravity.) Soaking has been deemed a failure by those who have tried it.
For the small-time guy, the easiest way I have found is a 1 or 2 gallon CLEAN fruit tree sprayer. (Don't use the sprayer you spray pesticides with.)
I have found that I do a better job of filling cells with a fine mist on the spray. If I have it pumped up too much, it sprays into the combs so hard the syrup sprays back out of the cells, and if I don't have it pumped up enough it doesn't want to make a very good mist. I have had to play with it to find the sweet spot.
I have tried both those methods, both work but are very slow, how do guys like Householder do it?
Householder uses a bottling tank to heat up the syrup to 150-160 degrees. This allows him to spray a really thick syrup. His combs are extremely old, comprised mainly of old cocoons and very little wax - these combs can withstand syrup of this temperature. Young combs WILL MELT if you spray 150-160 degree syrup into them. (I make my syrup with hot tapwater, and can spray that temp into young combs ok.)
Householder started out with a 2 gallon fruit tree sprayer. Pumping up the sprayer was taking too much time, so he added an air fitting to the plastic fruit tree sprayer. The combination of hot syrup and high air pressure made short work of a plastic sprayer tank - it swelled and then burst.
Householder now uses a custom stainless steel tank that probably holds 20-25 gallons of syrup. He fills it with syrup, and then screws in the cap on the tank. He then opens the valve on the air line from his air compressor to keep the tank pressurized. He has a standard wand from a fruit tree sprayer to spray the syrup.
He can do about 40 deep boxes a day with this method.
I have no idea what was used in it before you got it.
After you clean it out, would you be willing to drink water out of it? Would you be willing to let your children drink water out of this sprayer?
If you're worried about possible pesticide residue affecting yourself or your loved ones, I'd be worried about residues affecting your bees.
You can buy a basic sprayer at Lowe's for $20. Are you willing to risk sickening/killing your bees, or contaminating combs just to save $20?
I have a backpack sprayer. When it is full, I don't want to bend over to pick things up. In my opinion, a backpack sprayer would be a royal pain to use to fill combs with syrup. When I spray combs, I put them in a plastic tub and I lean over while spraying. I keep the sprayer tank sitting on the floor where it is easy to pump it up.
A deep box can hold 2-3 gallons of syrup, so you have to keep filling the sprayer tank. Having to take off and put on a backpack sprayer frequently would only be more of a nuisance.
Yes, that's what I meant. But I've been wondering, if one could attach the soaking tub to a vibrating device of some type, could that defeat the surface tension problem, simply allowing the beekeeper to immerse a number of frames for some period of time?
Back in my early drafting career, we used to clean ink from our pen tips and plotter pens by putting them in a cleaner filled with a solution and it would vibrate very fast. I'm guessing that surface tension would have been preventing the solution from penetrating cracks in the ink surface and that the vibration worked to overcome it.
That's an interesting hypothesis. You could test out the theory by attaching a piece of drawn comb onto the end of a vibrator (no laughing) and submerge into syrup. I would probably submerge first without vibration and then teat with vibration to see if there is any difference. The story about the ink makes sense because the agitated liquid would collide more with the ink and help it go into solution. A cloths washer works by the same principle but I am not sure the motion would overcome that much surface tension. If you do this let us all know. Maybe you should record this on a camcorder and post it
Sprinkle granulated sugar into the cells on each side. They don't have to get full. But then use the plastic sprayer and mist each side heavily. The sugar will absorb the water quickly and capilary action will take it all the way down.
Been there, done that, and won't do it again. The sugar crystallized in hard blocks in the cells, and the bees tore down cell walls to throw the sugar out as trash. The bees chewed up the combs pretty bad.
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