Yesterday we had 50 mile per hour sustained winds with gusts up to 60 mph. Those are the strongest winds we have had in the 13 years we have lived at this location. We suffered some damage to our house roof, a decorative windmill, a tree on the buck barn roof and minor damage to my old greenhouse which serves as part of the windbreak for the hives by the house. Here is my not so pretty, but effective windbreak across the street at my neighbor's house. For the first few years I kept hives over there we didn't have a windbreak at all. The overwintering there was not as good as my other locations and often the top would blow off the hives. I took this picture today after all that wind. Without the windbreak this hive (the short one is just housing a sugar water feeder) would have been blown over and scattered all over the field. Instead, it is just sitting there like yesterday was a nice sunny day (which it was, strangely, just with all the wind). The other surviving hive is also looking great. The greenhouse and the fence which act as windbreaks took a bit of the brunt and were pushed around a bit, but the hive is fine. The greenhouse lost its door and the decorative windmill out front of it lost three blades. So, the bottom line is this: Don't skimp on windbreaks. You never know when it may save the life of your hives.