Last night brought the first really heavy rains of the season to western Washington. It reminded me that beekeepers should keep their hives tipped slightly forward so rainwater doesn’t run into the hive.
This is especially true if you are using a solid bottom board. If you are using a screened bottom, the water will run through even if you have the “drawer” in place because most Varroa drawers fit only loosely. But if your bottom board is watertight you need to prevent puddles inside the hive and at the entrance.
In any case, excessive moisture in the hive is a bad thing. If you live in an area with much rain, a simple roof made of a piece of plywood secured in place with a ratcheting tie-down goes a long way toward keeping a hive dry. You can also keep your hives under a permanent roof.
Many urban beekeepers have their hives on a covered porch or balcony which can provide excellent rain protection. Or you can build a covered hive stand.
What you do—if anything—depends on how much rain you get, how water tight your hives are, and how much time and effort you want to spend. But tipping the hive forward is both quick and easy—and provides lots of benefit.
Honey Bee Suite