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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Pompano Beach, FL
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    Default hives and high winds question

    Good afternoon all.

    There is a real possibility that I can be in the patch of tropical storm/hurricane Irene. I have a couple of questions about securing the hive and high winds. I am hoping some of you out there have gone through a tropical storm or other event with high winds.

    I have 2 trains of thought depending on how strong the winds become. My hive is close to my house and the hive can be protected from wind for the most part on 3 sides...one side cement wall, one side a group of thick banana trees and one side screened in patio. If I rotate the hive entrance 180 degrees then secure it with nylon straps to the ground, which will have the entrance facing the house/cement wall..will that throw off the hive and the bees orientation once the wind slows down?

    Second question I have two hives, which allows me to move them from place to place with little problems. IF I would wait till the winds start becoming a problem, if I use some window screen ( have some laying around in the garage) and seal off the entrance of the hive with it, then move it into my garage. how long can the bees go without leaving there hive?

    Right now its a newer hive from a cut out. Each one has one deep/one top feeder, has 3 frames brood and at least one side of one frame with uncapped honey, with some pollen. Will the bees be ok if they sit in my garage for a couple of days? one day for the storm one day for me to get back to my house and move it again? or should I just secure the hive to the ground as is and let them ride out the TS or hurricane.

    PS The hive is on two cinder blocks so its pretty close to the ground about 3feet I would say.

    Regards

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    I grew up in Florida and have gone through several hurricanes and tornadoes. I would opt for the bees in your garage as long as it was nice and cool and there wasn't any chance of overheating. I've seen the sun come out directly after a hurricane and it got hot and humid fast. You could open your garage door just a bit to let air flow in. If you have SBB's you could set up a fan for them although you'll probably lose power. They should be fine for two days behind a window screen but like I said, they could overheat without ventilation.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    2,297

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    The garage will work fine but I would make screens to cover the entire top of the hive for more ventilation. Let the screen hang well over the sides and bungee cord it. Take the lids off and screen the tops and entrance and you'll be all set. Move them back out as soon as the hurricane or tropical storm is gone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
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    203

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    I was just going to post asking this exact same question. Now, what if you don't have a garage? Should I get a pallet and strap them down?
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    I would block the entrance with a piece of rolled up window screen and move them in the house. They can't get out so there's no problem there. I like fish stix's screened top cover idea for keeping them cool inside. Perfect.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Turnbow Hollow, Tennessee
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    If you cannot put them in your garage as mentioned above, strap the hive together securely. If you have more than one hive, after you have strapped each hive together, strap as many hives as you can together, put in a wind protected area if possible and put as much weight on top of the hives as you can......like cinder blocks, bricks, etc.

    Probably too late for Irene but for future reference:

    These work great for summer ventilation and for your storm protection application:

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...oductinfo/373/

    These work great for stopping a robber attack and for moving hives and storm protection application to secure the entrance and still allow good ventilation:

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...oductinfo/517/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    If the bees came from FL I would think they know how to survive the weather. I wouldn't move them unless there was a danger to flooding. Weight down the covers. 5gal pails of water work good.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
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    203

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    There is a definite danger of flooding if I move them off their stands, which I am most likely going to do. Can't bring 'em in the house, hubby isn't that supportive. Lol...

    I was thinking of ratchet-strapping them to a pallet atop some cinderblocks and venting the tops. I'm thinking of the whole "roof blowing off" scenario that happens to houses!
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  9. #9
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    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    If the bees came from FL I would think they know how to survive the weather. I wouldn't move them unless there was a danger to flooding. Weight down the covers. 5gal pails of water work good.
    Bees know how to survive the weather living in their natural habitat, of course. But when they're in a pine box sitting on a hive stand instead of living in a tree, a 5 gal pail of water on the top cover won't do in a hurricane.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Try it. Put a 5 gal pail on a one deep empty box with a cover and see if it will blow off. Because the pail is round, wind will go around it in any direction. The wind is not as strong close to the ground as it is at roof top height. You need to prevent the wind from getting under the hive also. If it is elevated on a stand block the wind from getting under the hive. You could also fill the pail with sand instead of water.

    What does a commercial guy do in FL with 1000 hives? He can't bring them all inside.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Appling, Georgia, USA
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    216

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    There are inexpensive screw in the ground anchors that you can then strap the hive down with. Get the longest ones that you can find. Having been thru 33 hurricanes and many more tropical storms all over Fl (some at sea just off the coast) in the 80s, i can tell you from experience that a 5 gallon pail, with sand or water can become a projectile. While sustained winds can move the pail over time, gusts and debris flying thru the air hitting it can indeed move it rapidly. I have watched a very aerodynamic sailboat (sans sail) go end over end down the main base road in key west during hurricane floyd. Many other times i have seen immovable objects thrown about like a ball. Other things flying into the hive and pail are more to worry about than just keeping the lid on. And no, commercial guys don't bring them all in...Ask Dr Russell what he does, (did), lost some hives according to his accounts. near the house is good for wind break. Move them to higher ground if possible for flooding, strap them down secure, drink an adult beverage and wring things out afterward.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    2,001

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Try it. Put a 5 gal pail on a one deep empty box with a cover and see if it will blow off. Because the pail is round, wind will go around it in any direction. The wind is not as strong close to the ground as it is at roof top height. You need to prevent the wind from getting under the hive also. If it is elevated on a stand block the wind from getting under the hive. You could also fill the pail with sand instead of water.

    What does a commercial guy do in FL with 1000 hives? He can't bring them all inside.
    I believe that from around 10,000' down to ground level the winds decrease about 10%...do you think 30 feet is going to make much difference? Also, as Beezly referred to, at ground level you're in the projectile zone, too. If you're coastal and get a bad storm surge...all bets are off, wind protection doesn't matter then.

    As for the commercial bee keepers...maybe they check to be sure their insurance is paid up?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Try it. Put a 5 gal pail on a one deep empty box with a cover and see if it will blow off. Because the pail is round, wind will go around it in any direction. The wind is not as strong close to the ground as it is at roof top height. You need to prevent the wind from getting under the hive also. If it is elevated on a stand block the wind from getting under the hive. You could also fill the pail with sand instead of water.

    What does a commercial guy do in FL with 1000 hives? He can't bring them all inside.
    You obviously have never been through a Florida hurricane and he doesn't have a 1000 hives, he has two.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
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    203

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Florida hurricanes uproot trees. A pail isn't going to help!

    Beezly, thanks for the idea. I might go with that.
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central mn
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    282

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    I was going to say try the dog tie out that screw in the ground , and a ratchet strap ,, this is what I have used ,, BUT I am NOT in a hurricane area .. If the ground got real soaked with water they may pull out , but at that point not much is going to be held down .. no matter how you tie it down ..

  16. #16
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    May 2011
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    They're predicting Irene will be a Cat-3 hurricane when it hits the East coast. Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds ranging from 111 to 130 mph. I can only say what I would do but all 14 of my hives would be in my living room if I didn't have a garage. If my roof comes off and the house blows away, I'll still know I did all I could to protect them.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44218395.../#.TlMVAzupXo0
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  17. #17
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    Jun 2011
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    Appling, Georgia, USA
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    216

    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Anchors made to strap down mobile homes are good and long. A little more expensive and work to get in the ground, but if i lived near the coast i would make the effort. Put them in the ground at your dedicated apiary. good to go for years and years. There are shorter ones, check out building supply companys. Good Luck.

  18. #18
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    Jul 2011
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    They're predicting Irene will be a Cat-3 hurricane when it hits the East coast. Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds ranging from 111 to 130 mph. I can only say what I would do but all 14 of my hives would be in my living room if I didn't have a garage. If my roof comes off and the house blows away, I'll still know I did all I could to protect them.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44218395.../#.TlMVAzupXo0
    Yeah, it'd be nice to have them inside all nice and dry, BUT.... Houses have sustained extensive damage with people taking cover inside of them. Should the house become damaged and topple over the bee hives in the process then there is yet another aspect of a catastrophic emergency...there will be tens (maybe hundreds?) of thousands of upset bees filling what you have chosen as your sanctuary. I would definitely keep them distanced from my living/hunkering-down area.

    As for a Cat 3 storm...at ground level at the maximum that'd only be, what...129.968mph??? Bird's 5-gallon bucket oughta handle that, hadn't it...especially filled with water?

    Ed

  19. #19
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    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezly View Post
    Anchors made to strap down mobile homes are good and long. A little more expensive and work to get in the ground, but if i lived near the coast i would make the effort. Put them in the ground at your dedicated apiary. good to go for years and years. There are shorter ones, check out building supply companys. Good Luck.
    Those mh anchor screws are what I'm considering to put down for my hive stands. Normally before a hurricane there can be a day or several days of heavy rains before the actual storm comes through. The rain saturates the ground making it very easy for the high winds to push over trees, light poles, etc.,. Hurricane Opal did this back in '95...soaked the ground for several days beforehand then leveled trees 100 miles inland. The mobile home anchors are indeed much better than the dog tie out screws...they are longer and have more surface area of the screw threads to hold in the ground...all together heavier duty. Of course, you still have to figure out how to arrange these to hold the hives down tight and not let them topple over even though they're fastened to the screws. I'm thinking (for the time being) of having one positioned at each end of my multi-hive stand and one in the middle...fashion a 2x6 to lay across the tops of the hives with slots or eye-bolts to connect a strap to each end. Use a strap on the center anchor to draw the center of the (now bowed up) 2x6 down snug. As for two hives, you could push them together, screw a mh anchor on either side of them, and use a single strap to snug them down with.

    If you have someone that has a heavy-duty air-gun (and air compressor) or an industrial drill then you can use those to screw the anchors into the ground....makes life a lot easier. But, for only a couple it can be done by hand without too much fuss.

    Anchors...take your pick! http://www.mobilehomedepotmi.com/par...es/anchors.htm

    Of course, deep post holes with bent pieces of rebar (or the mh anchors) surrounded by concrete might be an easier solution than finding something to screw the anchors in with.

    Best wishes down there!!!! Be safe!!!!!
    Ed

  20. #20
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: hives and high winds question

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    They're predicting Irene will be a Cat-3 hurricane when it hits the East coast. Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds ranging from 111 to 130 mph.
    If I could drive 80-mph down the highway against a 30-mph head wind with a 5-gal pail of paint in the back of my truck I am sure it would not move. If the roof is going to blow off and the house blows down the hive it better off outside against a concrete wall with a cylindrical weight on top of the cover. You can further barricade the hive from the wind with yard stuff like a wooden picnic table, large tree branches, piles of skids, sheets of plywood, bricks, rocks, stone to deflect the wind upward. Think of a jet blast deflector wall at the end of a runway. What is the speed of a jet blast, 300-mph or better?

    Trees blow over because they are tall and their sail area is at the top. Roofs come off especially in FL because the pitch is low making it like a wing shaped airfoil that literally sucks them off the building.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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