Wild weather hive prep

Hey beekeepers,

With all of the wild weather we’re experiencing here, and hearing about from customers in other parts of the world, it’s raised the question “how do you prepare your hive for wild weather?”

In particular I’d love to hear from beekeepers in very different climates to ours, such as those who deal with hurricanes. How do you secure your hive adequately without splitting the timber? When we had a bit of wild weather here, a ratchet strap was sufficient for my hive, but I’m not sure this would withstand a hurricane/tornado! …Thoughts?

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Not long after flow hives arrived on the scene, I wondered why people were using bricks & tying roofs down because in 28 years, 33 years now, I’ve never had a roof blown off during high winds. I’m using migratory lids with hive mats, so therefore the bees propolize the lids to the honey supers, holding them firmly in place. You need the leverage of a hive tool to remove them.

At the time, it dawned on me that with a flow hive, which uses a crown board, or any other hive that uses a crown board, for that matter, the bees will propolize the crown board to the super, which leaves the roof vulnerable to high winds. If beeks could remove the crown board & replace it with a hive mat, that will allow the bees to propolize the roof down to the super or brood box, whichever the case may be.


I agree @JeffH, bees will propolize (or is that propolise?) boxes or lids together with such success that it usually takes a lot of effort to separate them. A new box or lid can be different matter but after a short time the bees have done thier job. But an unstable stand or a hive with multiple supers could be a high risk of falling over in high wind events. I do have trouble with double 5 frame nucs as they can be unstable due to their weight distribution and smaller footprint. Thankfully I only keep these hives in this configeration for a short time.

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Thanks for your thoughts Jeff and Felmo,

I tend to agree - I was imagining these crazy tornados that can pick up houses, but maybe that’s movie stuff…

The hive does become pretty solid pretty quickly though.

Having lived in “tornado alley” I can tell you that it is very real. The houses don’t get picked up whole very much - usually shredded before becoming flying debris - frightening storms.

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Wow that sounds utterly horrifying.

Were you keeping bees back then?

No bees back then. But honestly, not much you could do if your beehive was hit directly by a tornado. Even the most fortified buildings suffer significant damage with direct hits from strong tornados, but fortunately, because the paths of the tornados are relatively narrow (compared to hurricanes) chances are pretty low for a direct hit.

Hurricanes present different challenges, I would think. There’s still a debris issue but also more flooding. Having the hive off the ground strapped down securely to concrete with a study surrounding windbreak would probably be your best bet. If the neighborhood goes, the hive is probably going to go too…

Being strapped down would certainly help with most very windy conditions. I’m sure people with hives in very windy locations and on rooftops do this routinely.

Fujita Tornado Scale

Tornado intensity wiki


Thanks Alok, that all makes sense. We’re so lucky not to deal with those conditions here, it must be terrifying.

Don’t worry Jeff, the bees also propolize the crown board to the underside of the roof! Most of the time I’m ending up prying them off as a unit :sweat_smile: …but I still strap them down if using them over winter.

About tornadoes, there may have been a small handful that developed in rare conditions over the past 100 years in my area - but on 9/1 we had an EF2 come through here that wrecked a neighborhood two miles away - mature trees shattered and and uprooted, fallen onto houses, killing a resident. It was one of 7 in this region that day, and then there was massive flooding in places near rivers. Even strapped down my hives wouldn’t have a chance in a tornado.


Hi Eva, I think my theory is only correct if the crown board hole is left closed. The crown board was propolized to the roof of the hive that got slimed, of the one I recently fixed up, which had the hole open. I modified the crown board by cutting the ply out & gluing the outer frame to the roof, so I can successfully use a hive mat, seeing as I’ll probably end up managing his hives.

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Oh that makes sense - I do generally leave the crown board hole open, so of course the bees have at it. An important consideration for beeks in windy areas!

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