I have been struggling for some time about the “sugar water” issue I have and will have on my hands this year. Making so many splits requires a lot of feeding, both pollen patties and sugar water. The pollen patties I will just buy, no issue here other than money… but the syrup is an issue. Not only do I have to buy the sugar, I have to mix it, haul it, and of course fill feeders with it.
Currently last Sunday I fed 160lbs of sugar or about 40 gallons of syrup all by carrying a 5 gallon bucket and dipping a cup… this is time consuming, a pain in my hind parts, and messy at times which is not something I have once late July gets here… so I sent out a request for info per Bee-L and got some great responses some on-list and some off-list.
It boils down to TWO solutions for me, one more expensive than the other. Of course the most expensive one is the easier all the way around regarding mixing AND delivering. One solution a friend uses up North is a 5 gallon sprayer with the nozzle removed filling it up using a drummed pre-filled with sugar water via a spicket at the bottom. This is pretty cheap costing only for the morter mixer ($90), the drum and spicket (free?), and the sprayer (4 wheeler mounted or backpack ($90)). But this requires possibly heating water etc which is time consuming.
The other solution is using a gas powered trash pump, large tank, delivery hose and handle (like a gas pump handle), and a by-pass hose back into the tank. What this system does is recirculate the syrup to mix it via the bypass hose. I have been told even 2:1 will mix in cold water this way. These pumps range from the cheapest at $250 to about $1,000, then the hose, tank etc. I expect id have about $500-$600 in this system at least. But the time savings is a huge thing as I wont have to mix the syrup or heat the water!!!!
We shall see what I do this year, as I will be eventually feeding about 120 gallons a week at times to build foundation etc, so the gas system is more practical but more costly. I will also have to dedicate a truck to it as well for the most part…
Here are a few pics a friend Bill Lord in NC of his trash pump system, he eventually changed to a larger tank with the large “water” cap on top making pouring the sugar in easier.