During Cyclone Winston we learned that almost all the hives in the hardest hit areas topple over. The main difference between losing only 10% or 20% of bee colonies and losing 70% or more was whether the beekeeper roped or strapped the hives so that the hive bottom, boxes and lid all stayed together with the frames inside. Photo: John Caldera

Caring for bees after a cyclone in Fiji

Caring for bees after the storm

  1. Be prompt to clean up dead hives. Hundreds of dead bees will stink after just a few days. Don’t hesitate to clean them up. If bees have American Foulbrood Disease (AFB) this is a major issue that may impact on your entire apiary.
  2. Don’t bother your bees too much. Put them back together, but leave bees to settle for a week or so as the bees will likely be cranky, hungry, and defensive after a storm. Be ready to use full protective equipment, including gloves, a bee veil and suit and footwear.
  3. Feed your bees. After a storm, flowers, vegetation, and other things that the bees eat may have been blown away. Keeping sugar and water on hand for sugar feeding can prevent starvation after the fact.
  4. Watch for robbing afterwards. Dearth created by all the flowers and plants being blown away will affect all hives (including neighbouring and wild hives) in the area.
  5. Reach out to your local bee associations and departments. If you need help with your bees after the storm, your local bee association is usually a great resource. Or you may be able to offer a helping hand to another beekeeper in need in the aftermath
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