Bracing For Hurricane Igor


This is pretty much what both of my hives look like at this moment (5:00pm, Sept. 20):

Think I should go out and add a concrete block to each of those outer covers? (UPDATE: Bad shelter design. Not a good idea to block the normal flight path to the entrance.)

When I started up my hives 64 days ago, I made sure the bottom boards were raised a little so any rain that got inside would pour out the entrance. But I’ve noticed with some crazy wind and rain we’ve had recently that the rain has been pooling a bit too thick near the entrances. And now we’ve got a hurricane coming that’s being described like this:

“If the worst case scenario pans out [UPDATE: it’s happening], and the storm tracks just east of the Avalon, winds could gust to near 150 km/h across the Bonavista and Avalon Peninsulas [where I live]. This would do significant damage and would cause widespread power outages… Rainfall amounts between 50 and 150 millimetres are expected by Tuesday evening [24 hours from now] with the highest amounts expected over the Burin and Avalon peninsulas [that’s me!]. This is a warning that significant rainfall is expected in these regions.”

I can’t angle the bottom boards any more than they already are without pulling the hives apart, so as a temporary measure, I’ve placed boards over the entrances to keep the wind and rain out. You can’t tell from the photos, but the rain is already pouring down fast. The bees are hunkered down. I plan to keep the boards over the entrances until the hurricane has passed.

The next 24 hours are going to be fun.

UPDATE (Sept. 21, 12:25pm): Streets are flooding around the city. Bridges are washing out. Towns are declaring states of emergency around the province. It’s bad. I’m at work in downtown St. John’s and the lights are blinking once in a while. We’ll probably loose power soon. More info and photos at

UPDATE (1:50pm): The boards were disorienting the bees, so I re-jigged everything and made a little roof over the entrances instead. I’ve decided for next year, I’m going to design a top cover that pours water off the non-entrance side of the hive, and a bottom board that drains out the front better (I might just switch to screened bottom boards). The worst of the hurricane has yet to make it to St. John’s. Honey bee hives in the Clarenville area of the province (where a state of emergency has been declared) are likely to be washed out with half the roads. This is not a good day.

UPDATE (6:50pm): All the apples got knocked off the tree behind our shed. Leaves and branches are strewn all over the place. Everything in my vegetable garden got flattened down to the ground. Hive #1 has a large number of dead drone larvae pupae on the bottom board again. I still don’t like that, but I guess the bees know what they’re doing. Hive #2 looks fine. Neither of the hives blew over. If they can make it through this weather, they can make it through anything.

11 thoughts on “Bracing For Hurricane Igor

  1. The bees are taking a beating. They’ll be stuck in the hives all day. Hive #2 looks fine. Hive #1, again, is discarding drone larvae, though they’re not piling up too high. A few dead bees too. Hive #2 still has a frame feeder full of syrup. Hive #1 will have to due with honey stores today.

    And my poor leaky shed is in hard shape. What a mess.

    Jeff, how are you doing in Clarenville? I don’t imagine it’s much better there.

  2. Going to check shortly. Trying to deal with shingles coming off the room and some localized flooding with neighbors.

    Going to go check on the bees soon. On a good note the hive entrance is on teh opposisite side the wind is blowing.

    I’ll get back to you shortly.

  3. Checked on the bees. Seem to be doing good. Not much sign of dead bees. I tapped the box and one cam out for a quick flight. Discovered it was raining and headed back into the hive. Can’t blame the girl.

    Also a good bit of the fill and top soil placed around the hen pen was washed away. Looks like I’ll be filling that back in again.

    • That’s not too bad considering the extremity of the weather. The forecast is calling for sun until Saturday, and then it’s rain again. Hopefully, the bees won’t be any worse for the wear. We’ll see.

  4. Today, the day after the hurricane, wasn’t too bad. A high of 16 C, some sun and clouds. I got home around 2:30 expecting to see the bees out and about, but they were barely moving. The wind is still a bit brisk. That probably didn’t help.

    I decided to put a medium super on Hive #2 so I could put some sheltered Boardman feeders on the inner cover, keep feeding the bees until they’ve drawn out their remaining frames. I removed the double frame feeder. It was completely empty and probably had been for a few days (I meant to remove it during a full inspection some time in the past week, but was too busy and didn’t have the right weather for it). I installed the last two frames (foundationless) for that hive. I hope the bees fill them in before it gets too cold. I had to pull out one frame to remove the feeder. It was foundationless and looked great, fully-drawn and on its way to being filled with honey. I didn’t look closely at any other frames, but what frames I could see looked okay. There was a lot of burr comb on the bottom of a couple frames, packed with honey. I had to break it up to install the last two frames, placing them between drawn comb.

    The outer cover was loaded with earwigs. About 30 of them. I flicked them all away. Earwigs don’t eat honey or bother the bees, do they? I don’t think they do.

    I still need to do one last full inspection of Hive #2 for the season. I might do it tomorrow.

    I also put a medium super on top of the inner cover in Hive #1 and placed two Boardman feeders inside.

    I hope to see Aubrey, the one local experienced beekeeper I can talk to, on Saturday. I want to find out about when and what to feed the bees for the next 6 months, and whatever he does for wintering his bees, that’s what I’m doing. Summer is definitely over in Newfoundland.

  5. Well I’m glad you weathered the weather alright, I saw on the news about telephone poles knocked down, lots of damage, power outs ect. I still wouldn’t worry about dead drones, in bad weather the bees can’t keep house as well so they don’t move the trash very far. You are feeding for six months? Here in Oct/November our flow is finished with the frost and by Dec we might be getting snow. I have no idea what seasons are like in Atlantic Canada

    • Yeah, I’m not going to concern myself with dead drones larvae anymore. It never looks pretty, but that’s it. The bees are in charge.

      I’m not feeding the bees for the next six months, but I know I have to feed to up to a certain point and start up again maybe six months from now. Not sure about any of it. Whatever info I get this Saturday, well, I plan to do exactly what I’m told.

    • Not for sure. He has family visiting, and he’s usually pretty busy anyway. We’re sort of playing it by ear. I’ll call him again tonight and see if I can confirm for Saturday.

  6. Only 13° today but I noticed there were a few bees bringing in Pollen. I guess there is still a little food out there yet for them.

    I think I need to make a boardman feeder to put in so they can fill up the last frame.

  7. The bees in Hive #2 were active yesterday. The bees in Hive #1 were more focused on fight other bees or kicking out drones, I’m not sure which. They were also fending off more wasps. I saw several wasps walk right into the hive. More wasps now that I’ve seen all year.

    Too bad I didn’t get to see Aubrey. I had too much work on the go, and I’m off again today. See ya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *