Apiary hurricane preparedness

As you are preparing for the probable arrival of Hurricane Irma to Florida, your safety, and that of your family and neighbors is the top priority. As long as you are otherwise safe and prepared, please take a few minutes to consider preparing your apiary as well. Below are some recommendations that may help your colonies weather the storm*.

1. Move hives from low-lying areas. Colonies in depressions (even those on pallets) may be flooded. Alternatively or in addition to relocation, colonies may be secured to hive stands.

2. Move hives away from trees. Falling tree limbs can be detrimental to your apiary in a storm.

3. Secure hives with ratchet straps. Positioning straps vertically around an entire hive may keep the hive bodies and lid secured to the bottom board (Figure 1). Stapling the lid to the boxes may also help.

4.  Fasten hives to a post.  Drive a t-post or piece of rebar into the ground near your hive(s) then secure the hive(s) to the bar with a horizontally placed ratchet strap (Figure 1). This may help keep your colonies upright in strong winds.


Figure 1: Secure hives. 1) Tighten a ratchet strap vertically around hives [shown in red] to keep the lids secure. 2) Drive a post into the ground and secure hives to it with a horizontally placed ratchet strap [shown in blue].

5. Tilt hives slightly forward to prevent water from accumulating in the bottom (if you use solid bottom boards).

6. Remove any external hive feeders to prevent them from being blown off, possibly further exposing your colonies to wind and rain.

*Note, the stronger the storm is, the less effective the above precautions may be.

We hope that you, your  family, and your apiary stay safe during this storm!