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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone just started a new method for making sugar syrup. Having close to 50 hives has changed things a bit. I recently purchased a 1500 watt immersion heater to do everything in 5 gallon buckets. The method I'm using is:
2 gallons of hot water from the tap.
30lbs granulated cane sugar.
Stir everything thorough in 5 gallon bucket with auger.
Insert immersion heater stir every 10 minutes or so heat for 30 minutes.
Temps get to about 150F and sugar is dissolved at that point.
Let cool and use.
What do you think of this method? I can make 50 gallons in a less than 6 hours of easy work.
Thinking of buying another because it worked so good. Cuts down on the mess and when you need a lot it is efficient enough to do on need. With two can cut this down to less than 3hrs. What do you think? The immersion heaters are for water but I see no problem using them this way. Longevity may be an issue but remains to be seen..
 

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2 gal of hot tap water will dissolve 25 pounds of sugar making 4ish gallons of 1.5:1 in under 5 min with a auger... I can't imagine spending 30 min a bucket, you way seems like a large time commitment, even if its easy time

I only heat and make 2:1 if its late season an the hive really needs it

you might look into a 55gal barrel and pump.... put in the water, turn on the immersion heater, come back in a few hours when its hot and dump in the sugar and mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
2 gal of hot tap water will dissolve 25 pounds of sugar making 4ish gallons of 1.5:1 in under 5 min with a auger... I can't imagine spending 30 min a bucket, you way seems like a large time commitment, even if its easy time

I only heat and make 2:1 if its late season an the hive really needs it

you might look into a 55gal barrel and pump.... put in the water, turn on the immersion heater, come back in a few hours when its hot and dump in the sugar and mix.
I've tried that method with no heat just hot tap water and the sugar will settle out later in the feeder without extra heat. I believe 30lbs and 2 gallons is a little more than 5:1 and less than 2:1 in the middle' It makes 5 gallons that works for me except lifting Ha!. I may with 100 hives or more God willing use the 55 gallon & pump like you say but then you would have to move the 55 gallons or pump into buckets anyway. But yes that would be the way to go. Still would take a couple hours filling and refilling and a pump cost. What pump would you recommend with the temps and syrup consistency? This is something for next year for me to consider with more hives.
 

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As has been mentioned in other threads, local variations in water will affect the saturation point. I am surprised at there being problems dissolving and staying dissolved at the ratios you mention. I am using very similar ratios with stirring only into hot tap water and seeing no problems. The immersion heater would work ok and should not overheat the coil but it is an added complication and require cooling before use. I think I would try leaning the mix just a bit and see if that flys. I dont think the bees would feel cheated;)

Edit; I think Kamon Reynolds has a setup video using one pump to both stir and dispense. There are other vids too. I dont think heat should be necessary and sure simplifes things. A pedestal rather than a submersible sump pump would be my choice. Presently I am using just the shaft and impeller from one chucked in a LI Ion drill.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As has been mentioned in other threads, local variations in water will affect the saturation point. I am surprised at there being problems dissolving and staying dissolved at the ratios you mention. I am using very similar ratios with stirring only into hot tap water and seeing no problems. The immersion heater would work ok and should not overheat the coil but it is an added complication and require cooling before use. I think I would try leaning the mix just a bit and see if that flys. I dont think the bees would feel cheated;)

Edit; I think Kamon Reynolds has a setup video using one pump to both stir and dispense. There are other vids too. I dont think heat should be necessary and sure simplifes things. A pedestal rather than a submersible sump pump would be my choice. Presently I am using just the shaft and impeller from one chucked in a LI Ion drill.
I've tried the one above 25lbs to 2 gallon and it settles. Guess my water heaters not hot enough it's a tankless and gets to about 125f the sugar quickly cools it off and it will settle so I went back to the heating it up you might get it to work if you stir and stir and stir with drill and auger. With heat you basically just mix it about 30 seconds in between. 25lbs bags are now hard to find around here and it only does 4 gallons. So been buying the 10lbs version. Funny cause the sugar cane fields about 70 miles from here. Dominoes sugar a popular one caught fire from a hurricane and guess sugar may be short with the covid19 and everything going on.
 

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I guess it would be easier and quicker just to boil some water on the stove. If you boil 1.5 gallon to add to half a gallon of your hot tap water (or adjust the amounts as needed) I reckon youd come out pretty close to 150F after mixing in the sugar.
 

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Amibusiness "to boil some water on the stove" I do this to take care of the morning chill whiel making coffee. I pre 4 - 5gal buckets with 25 lb. of sugar in each. I have a "calibrated" pot that hold 12.5 lb. of water. I boil it and take it to the sink and pour over the sugar. With my uniquely designed stirrer I have 2:1 by weight syrup solution in about 3-4 minutes - may be less. Go grind my coffee beans, make coffee and put on another calibrated pot of water to boil. After the first cup and a little reading I make another batch and pour another cup of coffee.

I have to measure the post stirred temperature but think it is around 120 -130F by touch but I will verify; sugar comes in cold (50-60) from the garage.
 

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Had a buddy that mixed in 55 gallon barrels and used a trolling motor to stir it up.
 

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Boiling water on the stove is a no go for me when making a lot of syrup. That's a lot of boiling water to be packing and don't slip. Not to mention I'm in the south with 80 to 90 degree temps outside. Heating up the house is not desirable and then the wife with my boiling in the way. So no have to do it outside the immersion heater takes care of the heating and with two I'm thinking making 10 gallons in about 35 minutes is pretty good. I don't need 50 gallons all the time right now just supplementing light hives I'm doing about 10 to 20 gallons before going out to each apiary. I usually do 1 or maybe 2 apiaries a day with 50 hives. I can feed 4 hives with 5 gallons most of my apiaries are 10 hives or less. So I guess whatever works for you. Next year that pump and drum sounds like the way to go.
 

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I've been thinking on this here's the plan now.
Put 4 gallons hot tap water in one five gallon bucket.
Bring it up to temperature say 180 to 190f with the immersion heater.
Pour half into another bucket and then mix in sugar.
Two for one heating. I will try this out pretty sure it will cut some time and work with only one heater.
 

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You live in Louisiana and don't have a big pot and a propane burner to boil crabs or crawdads?:scratch:

If it takes 30 min to heat 2 gals of water with the immersion heater, it will take an hour to heat 4 gallons. I do 20# of sugar and 10# of water in a pot on my stove, takes about 15 min per batch or about twice as fast. Just got a 30,000 Btu burner and hope to cut time even further.
 

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You live in Louisiana and don't have a big pot and a propane burner to boil crabs or crawdads?:scratch:

If it takes 30 min to heat 2 gals of water with the immersion heater, it will take an hour to heat 4 gallons. I do 20# of sugar and 10# of water in a pot on my stove, takes about 15 min per batch or about twice as fast. Just got a 30,000 Btu burner and hope to cut time even further.
Oh! yea! you know I have a big pot and a propane heater crab boiler you forgot turkey fryer. But don't want to spend the time that way propane not cheap me cheap lol to much to set up! I talking plug and go ha! Would rather do it in the 5 gallon bucket. The immersion heater heated five gallons in 30 minutes. I had the whole batch mixed with sugar and water. I think the water alone should heat faster. I will see and report.
 

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What I find without enough heat it will settle and form a hard layer on the bottom of undissolved sugar whether left in a bucket or in a feeder. Takes a day or so the dissolved sugar will remain syrup what does not settle to a brick and bees don't do much with that leftover brick or hard sugar.
 

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Do you have a jacketed honey bottling tank? With fifty hives you should. I mix twenty gallons of sugar syrup in my twenty five gallon bottling tank. It’s a whole lot easier, in my opinion, than making five gallons at a time. Anything from 1:1 to 2:1.
A video of my process. You can probably go directly to about 3:30 to get past the preamble.
https://youtu.be/I2xNHzX9PfA
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Lots of good thoughts here on the sugar syrup how to handle it and all. Haven't had a chance yet to mix another batch headed on vacation so maybe in a few weeks. Love all the ideas. One thing I found there is always more than one way to do things and to think on the other methods helps. Experience is a great teacher also and If you like to mention your way of handling sugar syrup for the 10 to 200 hive beekeeper then please do. Thanks for the input so far. Me I don't think I would have more than 100 hives because that's all I would care to work by myself gettin too old and slow ha!.
 

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My ultimate low tech method- quart mason jar filled 3/4 to the top with sugar, hot tap water to cover, shake while walking to hive. Partially fill rapid feeder.

In a pinch this is fast.
 

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beemandan - thanks - "I mix twenty gallons of sugar syrup in my twenty five gallon bottling tank." I just acquired a free old, 25 gallon, St. St. tank with heater and stirrer. Think I will setup in my work shop as I typically use up 500 lb. of sugar - not a lot but it is work for this old guy and I do not like carrying hot water around lately. I knwo somebody who will be much happier if I only make coffee.
 

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I use air with a 1/4 inch copper tube that will go to the bottom of a barrel with a ball valve and some of the tubing sticking out the top I smashed the end some so it makes the air come out under pressure I have a regulator set at about 90 psig. put only enough water and sugar to fill the bbl about 34 full. the amount of water to sugar will be set by the ratio that you want. turn on the valve to regulate the amount of air you want in the barrel. the water and sugar will boil like it was on a stove, but there is NO heat involved, after a few minutes the mixture will be incorporated, and most of the sugar will stay suspended. More than 3/4 full will result in the mixture blowing out of the bbl. T
he only bad thing is you need an air compressor large enough to keep the mixture boiling, with air not heat
 
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