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Author Topic: Hurricane Proofing Beehives?  (Read 3017 times)
allisono
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« on: August 22, 2011, 09:36:22 PM »

Hi All,

Anything I should plan to do for my beehives if the hurricane decides to visit Florida later this week? I of course NEVER go to the store to get batteries, bottled water, etc. for myself.  But, my animals (& insects now) that is a whole other ball game, so I want to make sure I am at least thinking about anything I might need to be doing by Friday Smiley  Wondering if I should move my hives to a more protected place, maybe block off part of the entrance, not sure what is typical at all here?

Thanks in advance,

Allison
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David McLeod
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2011, 10:16:15 PM »

Hives  when full of bees and not light are surprisingly wind resistant, especially when fully propolised. I have one bunch of ladies here that I would think all four boxes would be blown away as a unit before they came apart. They did go through an F2 tornado this year without incident. As for hurricane force winds I would prep by first removing any extraneous equipment like empty supers or any other light unneeded equipment then get the hives down off of any stands and down on the ground. Get the weight down low on the ground, as long as it is not flood prone. Maybe a low cinder block or cap block under it to let rain drain without entering the hive. I would also also consider using ratchet straps or staples to tie everything together. Maybe consider strapping them down to ground stakes if they seem top heavy and prone to going over in a wind. Any nucs I would cluster together on a pellet and again tie them down. That's just my thinking on it if I expected really nasty weather but I wouldn't really try moving the boxes unless I had to.
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kedgel
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 10:27:04 PM »

Your preparations will depend on the strength of the storm.  If it isn't a CAT 3 or above, a cinder block to keep the lid on and straps staked DEEP in the ground should keep them safe.  Pushing your hives together will help some too.  One of the guys in our local beek assn. only put cinderblocks on top of his for hurricane Jean and they were fine except for one lid blew off.  If it's going to be a stronger hurricane, I would try to move them into a solid garage or else against the leeward side of a building.  Of course, you'd need to seal the opening to keep them inside unitl you can move them back.  Just like when youre scuba diving, the current is less at the bottom, the wind speed is less closer to the ground.  Also, be aware that a bigger threat is falling trees and flying debris clobbering the hives.  You may need to move them out of harms way if they are close to trees that could fall on them.  Stapleing them together isn't a bad idea, either.  You can also strap them together with those ratcheting cargo straps.  One final consideration:  storm surge/flooding.  Be sure they are plenty high off the ground so they don't drown. I'm just South of Ft. Myers, so I think it will miss us.  Good luck!

Kelly
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 03:04:55 AM »

Just what the news media is waiting for, a hurricane!  I agree with the guys above, a hive loaded up with honey can take a lot of wind before blowing over.  Youíre talking about a couple hundred pounds of weight or more.  Thatís like a fat weatherman.  How many fat weathermen do you see blow over and go rolling into the woods?

If you want a little math, the forces on the hives are pretty simple to compute.  You just need to know the surface area exposed to the wind and the wind speed.   Letís assume youíve got a deep and 2 mediums. 

Thatís going to give you a surface area exposed to the wind of about 1.66 square feet. 

Next you need to know the pressure from the wind.  Thereís a calculator for that here:
http://www.cactus2000.de/uk/unit/masswsp.shtml

Letís assume a Cat 3 with 120mph goes directly over your hives.  This is very unlikely since the peak winds only hit a small geographic area, and die down quickly after they move inland, but letís suppose youíre having the opposite luck of the guy who just won the lottery.

120mph winds = a pressure of 38.836 pounds force per square foot.

So the force from a Cat 3 exerted on the hive = 64 pounds of force.

Thatís about like a 9 year old boy running into your hive.  Is that going to tip it over?  It might if itís not loaded with honey and propolized together real well.   If loaded with honey, the hive doesnít budge. 

If I was concerned about a Cat 3 going directly over my bee yard, I would cut some vertical strips of wood and screw them to the hive bodies so the only way for the hive to move is as a single unit.  I would screw down the top if possible and then throw a couple of cinder blocks on the top cover just for good measure. 
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 09:32:07 AM »

Appears to be a lot of theory and bunkum in the above posts, apparently by people who have never been in a hurricane/tornado !

Here's a picture of my hives after the tornado, also did $67,000 damage to our house, we got by easy.



For reality about a tornado Google; Joplin, Mo. Tornado , about a third of the city, population 50150 destroyed !

Bee-Bop
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allisono
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 11:58:21 AM »

Thanks to those who provided helpful information Smiley  Bee-Bop, I'll have to agree with you about those folks who don't live in hurricane areas!  So sorry about the damage to your house and hive loss Sad  I know I have weathered a number of hurricanes in the past living in FL, most recently would have been the mega round in 2004.  And if trees/buildings/and many other can suffer a lot of damage I imagine my 2 hives can too!  Espeically when it's over a few day span!  I'm definitely going to use some straps and move them off the hive stand my Dad made me.  I also worry about the area they are in front of, i.e. a bunch of pine trees (pine trees never hold up well!)...  We'll see how the week goes though...  Maybe it'll blow right over, never know!  I know I would love some rain, just not the winds Smiley

Allison
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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 12:09:54 PM »

Lived in Florida in 2005, the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record.  Had two hurricanes go over the house.  Michigan has lots of high winds and tornados too.  Itís about physics, forces, and surface areas folks.  Hives do not have a large surface area for the wind to act on, houses and garages do.  Sorry for your losses Bee Bop.

If the wind blows some big piece of debris into your hives, then that is another problem (more force).

The Joplin Tornado was a F5, that is much more powerful than a hurricane.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 12:18:46 PM »

also some difference in the actions of a tornado and a hurricane. 

having observed the aftermath of both, multiple times, i would say that if the winds are not a problem...and strapped down they probably won't be, the next biggest problem is the tremendous amount of water that might inundate your area in a very short period of time.  you might want to think about where your hives are and are they at risk of flooding if you have 3 or 4 inches of water in an hour. 

in every hurricane area i have worked the wind did some damage, but the flooding was far worse.  even katrina and rita areas were less damaged by the wind than by the water.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called ďthe government.Ē They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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David McLeod
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2011, 12:30:21 PM »

Appears to be a lot of theory and bunkum in the above posts, apparently by people who have never been in a hurricane/tornado !

Here's a picture of my hives after the tornado, also did $67,000 damage to our house, we got by easy.

For reality about a tornado Google; Joplin, Mo. Tornado , about a third of the city, population 50150 destroyed !

Bee-Bop


Bee-top, sorry for your loss. Been there myself, the April 18th, 1998 Oak Grove, AL F5 that killed 37. This is almost the exact same area that got hit again this year, Tuscaloosa and Concord/Pleasant Grove. The 98 storm destroyed my childhood home and nearly killed my parents. The recent storms destroyed the homes of several friends and missed the track of the 98 storm by only a couple miles.
Alabama also deals with the aftermath of hurricanes as well. I have experienced Frederick, Opal, Trina andany others of lesser strengths. I know the power of these storms both on the landfall coast and 300 miles inland as we also own property close to the gulf.
You are correct there is a lot of theory involved but then again so is most attempts at preparing for the unknown. All we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. At least with hurricanes there is time to prepare. If it is ever possible to predict a tornado my advice would be to hell with the bees and get yourself underground.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2011, 02:31:35 PM »

Forget hurricanes!  Apparently it's earthquakes we need to worry about.  Quake felt here in NC about 40 minutes ago.  Several strong shakes but my bees seem to be ok.   grin
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kathyp
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2011, 02:35:45 PM »

i have a friend in VA and she was completely freaked.  she sent me a text because she knows i'm from CA.  i told her to enjoy.  they can be a fun ride...if no one gets hurt.....
love the rush smiley
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called ďthe government.Ē They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2011, 03:30:31 PM »

Do I need to break out the calculator for earthquake proofing hives?  grin

The local radio guys reported feeling it up here in Michigan too.  I didnít feel anything. 

I wonder if the bees can sense Earthquakes like other animals supposedly can?
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