Hurricane Preparation in the Beeyard
by Donald Ray Burger

We usually have some amount of notice when a hurricane is headed toward the Texas coast. Even so, the time required to get ready seems to rush by.

Thus, it makes sense to think about how you are going to prepare your bee hives for a hurricane well in advance of the storm warnings. Fortunately, hurricane preparation for your bee hives does not require a lot of time.

The bees help a lot by gluing everything together with their propolis. Also, because hurricanes usually come in fall, the supers are usually loaded with honey. That means you have a very heavy tower that is well glued together. Although a tornado can certainly knock over a bee hive, the category of hurricane required to do the same will cause such widespread disaster, that your beehives will be the least of your problems.

Some beekeepers talk about strapping down their hives or putting eye bolts into the ground and tying the hive to the bolts. Most commentators think that strapping is unnecessary.

However, there is one part of the bee hive that is not glued in place with propolis. The telescoping cover is specifically designed so that the bees cannot glue it down. That design also means that a hurricane force wind can easily lift the telescoping cover off. Because rain usually accompanies a hurricane, the absence of a telescoping cover might be disastrous.

The easy solution to this problem is to put an 8x8x16 cement block on top of each telescoping cover. These cinderblocks are widely available at box stores, and usually weigh between 35 - 40 pounds each.

If you place them so that the center holes are horizontal to the hive , the wind will blow right though them. Also, it will be easier to move them by sticking your hands into the holes than trying to grip them from the ends.

If we have flooding, be sure and check the small hive beetle trap to make sure that rising waters have not washed out all the oil in the tray.

This article originally appeared in the August, 2015, issue of The Skep, the newsletter of the Houston Beekeepers Association.

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