Tying a Hive Down

Using bungee cords and ratchet straps to tie down bee hives at Bluebird Gardens.

Tying a Hive Down

Not that beekeepers have a derth of topics to discuss but if you want to start a lively conversation, ask a beekeeper how he/she ties down a hive.

When I first started beekeeping, I was told a rock was required to keep my hive lids on. I love rocks, I collect them on walks but having a big chunk of the earth sitting on top of my beautiful white topped hives doesn't quite fit with my hive aesthetic.

I did use rocks for my first years, then graduated to red bricks I had in my garden. The bricks were ok but I still wasn't too settled on the idea. Besides, I was short of red bricks and now I had a mish mash of rocks and bricks on my hives. Sheesh, that was worse.

Now I am a hobby beekeeper. I don't "run" my girls to make honey, I like having them in my garden and appreciate having a little extra honey but it wasn't my primary motivation to get bees. Which is another way of saying I do care how my hives look in my garden and I am willing to take the time to make them look nice.

Enter a non-beekeeping friend who prides himself on coming up with solutions. MacGyver has little on this man, and I appreciated his suggestions, especially about things I can't resolve to my own satisfaction.

On this particular visit, he noticed my hive rocks lined up on a wall. I told him I was trying to make them blend in better into my garden landscape. A few days later, he gave me a ratchet strap and suggested that may be the solution.

Do you know what I'm talking about? These are heavy duty straps with a belt-like contraption that helps tighten the straps. My challenge is how to make the straps loose, especially without breaking off my nails to pull back the little levers.

After several training sessions, my friend politely suggested this may not work. By then I had invested in several red ratchet straps and winter was just around the corner. No more time to play around with matching rock sizes or coming up with an alternative for holding down my hive lids.

During the same shopping spree, I had also purchased yellow and black bungee cords in various sizes. Yes, I bought them for the color to tie the black insulation I wrap around my hives to give them some wind protection.

I now hook ratchet strap ends to my bungee cords to hold my hive lids on.

I now hook ratchet strap ends to my bungee cords to hold my hive lids on.

Oh, I still use the ratchet straps, only instead of forcing the belt side I hook the ends onto the bunge cords. Easy to take off and put back on, and no further damage to my nails.

MacGyver would be proud.