Hurricanes And Honey Bees

by in News & Information September 5, 2019

Preparing Apiaries For Hurricanes

If you are a beekeeper on Florida’s coastline, it is just a matter of time until you have to deal with the inevitable; HURRICANES! This was our first hurricane since having our honey bees and it certainly added some extra preparation for us. We just pulled all of the supers (where the honey is stored) off of our hives which made it easier for us to secure the honey bee hives for the approaching hurricane. Fortunately, we had plenty of time preparing apiaries for Hurricane Dorian due to the storm moving up the coast at such a slow rate. The images below show us strapping down the bee hives at our Nursery apiary to protect against the winds.

The video below is a time lapse video of us placing an inner cover lid on our Alpha honey bee hive. We took the opportunity to treat the hives at our Shores apiary for varroa while waiting for the slow approaching hurricane. The heat treatment allows us to protect honey bees from varroa mites without using chemicals and the weather conditions were perfect. The super (top blue box) has been modified with screened holes for ventilation. The inner cover lid protects the colony from weather conditions like rain and wind while allowing them access to the sugar water on top of the hive. Honey bees can eat up to six pounds of honey on a rainy day, so it is very important to ensure that they have plenty of food. It is equally important to remove the sugar water jars during the hurricane, so they do not become projectiles in the intense winds.

We are a few weeks away from placing the supers back on the hives to allow the honey bees plenty of time to build up for the Fall harvest. The image shown here is our Charlie hive at our South apiary before the hurricane, which has two deep boxes (the two boxes at the bottom) and two super boxes (the two top boxes at the top). Preparing for the hurricane would have been more difficult with the additional boxes on the hives, as the profiles are bigger targets for the wind during this time period.

Fortunately, we didn’t get the brunt of the storm as predicted. However, the Bahamas did. If you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas click on the link below for a list of organizations.