Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Hurricanes and bee hives...

2867 Views 29 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  HopCar
I am new to beekeeping with 5 hives. I live in Florida and may be in the path of hurricane Dorian. What do I do to protect my hives? 2 of them have a double brood chamber and 2 supers, 1 has a deep and a super and the other 2 are new and have just a brood chamber. When Irma came through we had 90 mile per hour winds...would rather not do that again!

I figure that I will need to put ratchet straps around the hives. Any ideas on how to keep them from blowing over?

Any and all advice is appreciated.

Thank you,
Steve in Central Florida
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Ratchet straps attached to auger style shed anchors. Anchors are on amazon....

Stay safe during the storm!
I use dog stakes/auger anchors with a ratchet straps to keep my hive from plowing over. When I lived in Virginia and I still use them here in the south west corner of Oklahoma with tornado strength winds. You could put a jar of 1:1 syrup on the hives before the storm hits. They may be locked up for a couple of days from the rain.
Same concept, but I use T-posts driven into the ground and strap my hives to them, pinning them down.
I'm not from hurricane country, but if I was, I'd try to build up some kind of high ground, then put a hole in the top of the hill big enough and deep enough for the bees and a deck to slide over it. I'd run plenty of drain pipes down and out. I don't know if it would necessarily work, but that's my best guess as to what might survive a hurricane. A hill with a storm cellar.
Keep them up above any possible standing water. I remember reading last year various people's disasters with flooded out bees.
Do you have a study garage? Maybe just close them up with mesh and feed them for a few days.
I have lived within 100 miles of the Gulf of Mexico my entire life. I strap down my hives because I am 70 miles inland and hope to stand a chance so long as I am not directly in the path. But those directly in the path of a Cat 3 or higher hurricane probably don't stand a chance of protecting their hives. Hurricane Michael's eye missed me by about 150 miles. I got 40 mph sustained winds with higher gusts, but that was nothing. The utility company I work for had 80 foot poles buried 12 feet deep where the eye passed over. We still haven't found a lot of those poles. I am lashing down my hives again for Dorian. However, if I knew I was directly in the path of the eye (which you never do know) I would not bother.
I think I'd go with garaging them like AR1 suggested if you can and then make sure they were elevated in the garage in case it took some water.

If a garage isn't an option then if you have a truck ratchet strap the stacks together and put them in the back of it, that will get them up out of rainwater and they won't be blowing over. Two adult men can lift a double deep that is ratcheted together, you may have to stack up the supers individually. If they've got honey in the brood chambers to keep them fed during the storm then maybe you'll want do de-super them until the storm passes. At least partially de-super the ones with more than one super. If the worst happens to the hives at least you've still got the supers. That will reduce the surface area the wind is blowing on.

Whatever option you choose, get yourself down to Harbor Freight or Home Depot or Lowes or Ace or Walmart today and buy up enough ratchet straps before they are all gone - they'll be in demand right now and forward thinking people are already going for them.

I don't live in a place that will ever have a hurricane. But I do live at the pinch point between two valleys and we get a lot of wind. Every year we have a couple of storms that produce sustained winds of 70 to 80 mph for a few hours. Ratchet straps around the hives keep them together and running the strap under the hive stand keeps them all in place. What we don't ever get is a large amount of rain, plus I live on a slope of a mountain so I'll never have to contend with flooding like you may have to.

Finding the silver lining: All that rain is going to bring a load of pollen and nectar in two to three weeks.
See less See more
Water should not be an issue. We are well out of the flood zone. I ordered some 30" ground tie downs. I think I will also put a strap around each hive. That way they are tied down and tied together.
Water should not be an issue. We are well out of the flood zone. I ordered some 30" ground tie downs. I think I will also put a strap around each hive. That way they are tied down and tied together.
Good call. Stay safe!
I am right there with you Steve, but am a bit farther north in Jax. Here is my plan of attack for all storms: i place a pallet on top of cinder blocks in an area that has as much protection from the wind as possible. Then I put the closed hives together on the pallet and place cinder blocks on top of the cover. Finally I slide ratchet straps thru the top and bottom blocks to make a super sturdy beehive sandwich. Just make certain to open the hives back up as soon as the storm allows. Hope this helps 🤙
That sounds as good as any plan I can think of. Good luck Rhop.
How far are you from the east coast srockey? Looks like it is tracking to West Palm Beach this morning. But that will likely change.
I am in the middle of the state. About 80 miles from the Atlantic and 45 miles from the Gulf. The path seems to be moving slowly to the west. I will have 2 30 inches ground stakes with a ratchet strap holding the hives down and a ratchet strap going around the whole hive.
Why do you close the hives?
You would only need to close them if you moved them.
I close the hives because I move them about 75 ft and don’t want to lose those brave bees that go out looking for their old hive location.. it could be an over reaction, but I close my hive with hardware cloth and it’s never for more than 24 hours.
Be careful if you go with garaging them. They can overheat easily in Florida. I am in central Fl and I strap the boxes down and let them ride it out. I am not in a flood or surge zone. All I have to deal with are falling trees.
Hello Everyone,

Just wanted some quick feedback. We have planned to use shipping containers in the event of another hurricane. Are there any things that we need to keep in mind or plan for with the use of shipping containers?

Thank you for your feedback =)
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.