Hurricane Harvey is making landfall today in the area that I am currently living in. Homeowners all around me are making preparations. The stores are sold out of water and bread, There are no double A batteries or gasoline left in town. Plywood is being sold at a premium and sandbags are being handed out at several areas around town. It is going to be a big one. Luckily, local beekeepers were able to secure plenty of ratchet straps for the bee hives at our local Home Depot today.
“Big storms generally don’t faze honeybees. When temperatures drop or rise, when wind wails, or when rain falls in sheets, bees simply hunker down in their hives, huddle up, and self-regulate. And so during Hurricane Sandy, bees in New York City’s inland areas abided. The apiaries of East New York Farm survived (with extra weights set atop their hives), as did those of Crown Heights’”
As a new beekeeper, you may someday be faced with the threat of dangerous weather heading for their bee yard. What is an apiarist to do?
First, gather all of your beekeeping supplies (smoker, hive tool, veil) into one secure Rubbermaid tub. Secure the lid with duct tape and store it off the ground in your best outdoor storage area. This will aid you in locating your supplies once it is safe to return to the apiary.
Second, make any necessary structural repairs to your hive bodies to ensure that they are sturdy. Leave as much propolis near the joints as possible to keep water from getting into the hive. Use Ratchet straps to secure the lid to the hive.
Third and Most Importantly
Remove hives gently from their stands and place them in a secure location away from the threat of flying debris.
Winds are somewhat diminished right next to the ground. Keeping hives up on hive stands may allow winds to get under the hives and could knock the hives
over or cause internal damage to the hive structure. The design
of Langstroth hives makes them fairly aerodynamic and able
to withstand a surprising amount of wind. You might consider
taking top bar hives off of their legs if possible. – http://texasbeekeepers.org – download pdf Texas Beekeepers Journal
If you have a flatbed or horse trailer, load the hives on to the trailer and strap them down.
If you have a barn, a shed or an unattached garage, close off the entrance to the hive and put the beehives into the shelter.
Do not place beehives inside of your home unless you are sure that the threat of damage to the hive is minimal. If the hives are destroyed within your home or attached garage, you could be attacked by homeless and terrified bees when you return home.
if you are in an area that is prone to flooding, you should place the hives on the highest level ground possible
If you typically use rocks or other heavy objects to weigh down the hive lid, remove them so that they do not become flying debris. Or strap a cinder block to the top of the hive using a ratchet strap to secure it.
As long as your hive isn’t terribly damaged, your bees should weather the storm just fine by using their own instincts.
Check with your local bee club and the bee forums for more tips on Hurricane Beekeeping – see tips below from the beemaster.com forum –
How We Hurrican Bees in the South
#1 If possible move your bees to someplace where the storm isn’t.
#2 Bee hives can be heavy and you may own lots of them so moving them may not be practical. In this case you should secure your hives by doing the following.
#2a. Place them as low to the ground as possible.
#2b. Trim trees around them.
#2c. Keep the area as debris free as possible.
#2d. Secure and anchor the hives. Use strapping to secure the boxes to the base and to each other and to the top. Do not use rocks or blocks on top of your hive as they will fly off if the winds are powerful enough. If you can after strapping the hive bodies drive 18″ spikes in the ground and use eyebolts and aircraft cable and create a 4 point anchor system to additionally secure your hives. –