Australia is currently experiencing a summer storm. These weather conditions definitely helped relieve certain emergencies such as the many bushfires that are now under control. However, those storms can turn into extreme, devastating storms that could result in floods in some areas. These leave beekeepers wondering how to help the bees during a storm?
What Do Bees Do During Storms?
Bees don’t usually fly when it’s raining. Even if it’s just a drizzle of rain, the small droplets can interfere with the bee’s flight, making it dangerous for them to do so. The water will weigh the bee’s body down and interfere with their wings speed rate.
If the bee is out of the hive when rain starts to fall, she will try to seek shelter and stay there until the rain stops. When a bee is inside the hive when rain hits, they will usually stay in.
So if they can’t fly, what do they do?
Staying in means the bees do housekeeping activities that will help them survive the rain. There are several things such as filling in any holes and crevices in the hive with propolis. The propolis acts like a glue to help secure the hive. This will prevent any chance of water coming into the hive. Since the foragers can’t fly out, they will try to manage the humidity and temperature in the hive.
How to Help the Bees Survive a Storm
Helping bees during a storm depends on your area and how often you get storms. Most of the time, the bees will be able to take care of themselves. However, you might want to consider making a safety plan when strong storms arise.
There are different ways we can help the bees through the storms. One of the biggest threats to the bees during a storm is to have it fall off or have the lid fly off, which lets rain in the hive. A full hive with full honey stores and brood is heavy, however it can still fall victim to strong winds!
Secure the whole hive by using a beehive strap. Most beekeepers use the EMLOCK style straps. This will prevent your hive stack from detaching from each other. Add more weight to the hive by placing a brick or stone on top to keep the lid from being detached.
If you have noticed your boxes have holes and the timber is starting to deteriorate, replace the boxes with new ones. If time doesn’t allow, place a temporary extra roof to prevent the timber from getting wet.
The most important part is ensuring the bees have enough food supply. Foragers wouldn’t be able to fly out to gather resources, which means their supplies will be limited. You can proceed with providing the bees with a patty feed or a sugar syrup mixture feed to keep them going. Make sure you have internal feeders available to make this easily accessible to the bees!
What are some of your best techniques on how to help bees during extreme storms? If you’re a beginner, we hope this article has provided you with enough guidance on how to support your bees during a rainy day.
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