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This year I went from 3 colonies to 11. Today I had to feed them for the first time, wow what a change, i cannot imagine feeding dozens or hundreds of colonies!

I mixed the syrup in a 5 gallon bucket, at a ratio of 1 gallon of water to 16 pounds of sugar, which is 2:1 by weight, using a paint stirrer on a drill to mix. First surprise - 3 gallons of water plus 48 pounds of sugar does not fit in a 5 gallon bucket! I think I will start with 2 gallons of water in the 5 gallon bucket next time.

I mixed 8 gallons of syrup, enough to feed the ones i intended to feed. I need to get a second bucket (maybe a third) for next time, so that I am not pouring into smaller containers in order to mix it all.

I managed to not make a big mess, but would like to improve some more. What else can I do to make mixing 5-12 gallons more efficient?

Greg
 

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Larger quantities can be made up in a 55 gal. barrel.Draw hot water from your house is the easiest way for me but a burner under your barrel will work as well also.You dont need boiling water but the warmer the quicker it will mix.Now you dont really have to use hot water but mixing will take longer.Add water to your barrel and use an old trolling motor in the barrel for your mixer.Garage sales and pawn shops have good deals.You can use the one from your jon boat if you want to.Clamp it to your barrel with water and add your sugar.Turn on your trolling motor and let it work.I have a 3/4" ball valve on the bottom of my barrel to quick fill jugs.I need to make up a drum full tomorrow.Make sure you have a good lid for your barrel because piss ants will be there trying to get in.
 

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I have found about 2 gallons of water and 25 lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon bucket works well and about fills the bucket. you can easily get 1.5 gallons of water and 25 lb of sugar for a 2:1 ratio in the same bucket, but it takes more work to mix it up.
 

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To make 2:1 without weighing or measuring...

Make a mark inside the bucket, about 4" from top. Fill with sugar to line. Fill with HOT water to line. Stir until well mixed. Top up to line with HOT water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Makes 65% syrup every time.
 

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Check the restaraunt actions in your area. I bought a 40 qt pot with lid for around $15. Put that on a fish fryer burner and you are good to go for 8 gallons at a time.
 

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MIchael,
How many pounds of sugar is required to fill to 4" below top?
To make 2:1 without weighing or measuring...

Make a mark inside the bucket, about 4" from top. Fill with sugar to line. Fill with HOT water to line. Stir until well mixed. Top up to line with HOT water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Makes 65% syrup every time.
 

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For ease of not haveing to heat water, and my back, I mix like elmer_fud with 25# bags and 2 gal of hot tap water to a 5 gal bucket.. makes 1.59:1 and its thick enuff it doesn't spoil.
worth noteing were are in a very dry clime, might not work as well in high humitiy areas
 

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I make 2:1 in 5 gallon buckets. I buy the Wal-Mart bags of sugar @ 25lbs. Pour one bag of sugar in the bucket and then add 1.5 gallons of water.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To make 2:1 without weighing or measuring...

Make a mark inside the bucket, about 4" from top. Fill with sugar to line. Fill with HOT water to line. Stir until well mixed. Top up to line with HOT water. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Makes 65% syrup every time.
I like this, and may copy it. What is "65% syrup?"
 

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Here's a little trick to quickly estimate how much syrup you'll get.

  1. Add the weight of the sugar and the water together.
  2. For 2:1 syrup divide by 11.
  3. For 1:1 syrup divide by 10.

That will give you the amount of mixed syrup in gallons.

That's all you need to know. You can stop reading unless you want to look under the hood to see how the trick works:

Dividing the weight of anything by its density gives you its volume.

2:1 syrup has a density of 1.3 kg/l or 10.85 lbs per gallon. Round that to 11.

1:1 syrup has a density is 1.2 kg/l which is 10.06 lbs/gallon. Round that to 10.

One gallon of water = 8.34 lbs.

48 lbs of sugar + 25 lbs of water = 73 lbs.

73 ÷ 11 = 6.6 gallons.

So you can do that and tell right away that you need to start with less sugar and water.

What about 32 lbs and 2 gallons?

(32 lbs of sugar + 16.6 lbs of water) ÷ 11 = 4-1/2 gallons. Its going to be close for a five gallon bucket, maybe a little too close to mix on high speed.
 

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MIchael,
How many pounds of sugar is required to fill to 4" below top?
It should be about 31 lbs of sugar.

Michael's bucket trick works because it is exactly the reverse of what I just posted above with the beauty of having no math and no weighing and no futzing over whether the bucket is big enough. Its all about the volume and density. But if you're wondering, or you just want to make sure you bought enough sugar, then four inches down is the four and a quarter gallon spot on a typical 5 gallon bucket. 4.25 * 11 = 47. So its a 47 lb mix of syrup. Two parts syrup and one part water is 15.6 lbs per part. So you'll need 31 lbs of sugar and a little under two gallons of water. If you dump in a 25 lb bag and a five pound bag you'll be so close it won't matter.
 

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If you wanted to make an even gallon you need 3.6 lbs of water (about 7 cups) and 7.2 lbs of sugar.

There is an easier way. Sugar is sold in 4 lb bags at the supermarket. Walmart Great Value 4lb bags are also usually cheaper by the pound than the bigger bags. Add 1 quart of hot water to the 4 lb bag. That way you don't have to weigh out the sugar. It makes two liters of 2:1 syrup and you can store it in a two liter soda bottle. Double the batch for 4 liters, which is just a little over a gallon.

edit: I started wondering, this time of year why mix just one gallon? When I start my winter prep feeding I want them to get loaded fast. A strong hive will put away a gallon in less than a day with any kind of fast feeder (top/frame/rapid). I only make small batches if I have a nuc to feed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Today I mixed up more, using 2 gallons of hot tap water with 32 lbs of sugar (8x4 lb bags), and mixed with the paint mixer in the drill. It was about right for the 5 gallon bucket, without making a mess.

Had to do it twice, I am starting to think towards a barrel with a ball valve and a trolling motor if I expand more next year. Either that or get several more 5 gallon buckets; either way I would mix larger batches at a time.

I always mix 2:1, I believe that can be stored indefinitely? Assuming it is sealed and the bugs are kept out.
 

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For that sort of quantity a tea-urn/ coffee-urn - the sort roadside vendors use. Here's a link to one: 35 litres - that's 9 gallons in your money. Ebay (UK) #302814057811 There must be similar urns in your neck of the woods ...

You'd still need a stirrer of course.
LJ
 
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