My rain gauge tells me that we have had 85mm (about 3.5 “) of rain in the last couple of days and I can hear it chucking it down as I type. Flood levels in the village are creating new records. I’m a bit worried about some hives. One at Frampton, about 3 miles downstream from me is within 50 yards of the river, which I know has burst its banks. The field it is in is very flat so there’s lots of spreading room for the water but, on the other hand, it is in a very rushy, gushy mood.  My hive is on a stand giving about a foot of clearance but I very much doubt if that’s enough.  A friend shares the site and has more hives there than I have.  The field is regularly grazed and so the apiary has wire netting around it so it is possible that this will prevent stuff being washed downstream.

Another site at Kingcombe is not much higher than and about 20 yards from the River Hooke. This one should be ok as it is a top bar hive and its stand raises it so the top bars are about belly high.

I’m rather worried about my site at Ourganics at Litton Cheney, not about the hive as much as the other hives and, most of all, the people! This hive, again, is a TBH and should be ok, but other people have hives there as well, much nearer the ground. The land used to be water meadows and has a river passing by top and bottom and a stream running through, as well as a couple of ponds. It’s very flat. My friend Pat lives there in a wooden shed with no mains services and a lass who works for her occupies a tiny vardo next to the stream. The adjacent field is a fishing lake anyway. It’s likely to get very moist there. The river is the Brit and on the news (and facebook) much is made of the flooding at Burton Bradstock only a couple of miles downstream on the same river.

Pat’s main living is from her permacultural garden and massive polytunnel.  I wonder how they’ll fare with all the water.  I shall try to get there tomorrow to see if she needs a hand.

Updating, this morning’s check on the rain gauge raised the 2 day total to 110mm or almost 4.5 inches.  Those of my own hives that I checked were ok but, in the same apiaries, at Litton, Pat’s WBC was completely overturned.  I righted it for her and saw the queen but most of the workers were gone. At Frampton, one of Glenn’s Nationals had been washed off its stand and was 6 feet or more away, against the fence. Bees were flying strongly from a vent in the roof.


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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9 Responses to FLOODS

  1. Robert says:

    My allotment was flooded last week. It didn’t get hight enough to affect the hives – it never does – but it played merry hell with everyone’s veg, not that anything but weeds is growing anyway at the moment, and everyone’s really discouraged.

  2. Randy says:

    Hope things do not get as bad as you suspect they will. Best of luck to you and your bee buddies. I’m in the southeastern US dry as can be here. Today I secured one of my hives against wind, it had became top heavy and we might get bad storms tomorrow.

  3. Emily Heath says:

    What a pain in the butt all this rain is for most of us – and devastating for a few of us. Hope everyone’s hives make it.

  4. Margaret E Johnson says:

    I do hope you your neighbours and your hives are ok Chris. Maybe it’s time to make contingency plans for re-homing hives in very wet weather when they are close to streams and rivers. There will be more of this in the coming years. In the 1950s there were many floods and we have built on land that should never have been considered for housing. We have also added to drainage problems in various ways, culverts bridges, not having a proper riverbank maintenance and clearing regime. I feel rather glad that I live on a windswept hill at the moment.

  5. Margaret E Johnson says:

    Glad to see your hive is ok. and how novel and amusing it is too. Will you be able to help recolonise Pats WBC.

  6. I’m sure I could let Pat have a bar or two of brood if needed. It’s strange that in this strange year my TBHs seem to be thriving where conventional hives are lagging.

    • Margaret E Johnson says:

      I wonder if that is something to do with where the hives are situated. I get the impression that your top bar hive is further away from the water. That would make it a little warmer as the drainage would be better it also seems well protected by surrounding foliage.
      I went to a local association meeting on Wednesday where it was suggested that the tray underneath a Varoa floor should be removed to improve ventilation. I removed mine but put it back the following evening as the bees had stopped flying at around 18.30 even though it was a brilliant day and still quite warm for my garden, however there is almost always a breeze and the breeze was cool. I think the bees were keeping the brood warm. I think that having the tray in was reducing cold air intake to a rate that fewer bees could warm. Is there any bottom insulation in your top bar hive or is it as seen?

  7. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the excellent comments on my blog.
    Your book sounds interesting and I have included it on my beekeeping books page!

  8. Discounts says:

    I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve offered to your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for starters. Could you please lengthen them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

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