As always during hurricane season, your safety, and that of your family and neighbors is the top priority as a pending storm approaches. As long as you are otherwise safe and prepared, however, 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.
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 hurricane season!