Why Bees Are One of the Most Challenging Flatbed Loads

In the last couple of months we have seen an up-tick in demand for our bee nets (bee hauling tarps). It happens every spring. Beekeepers looking to transport large colonies over long distances rely on truck drivers and open-deck trailers. The bee nets we sell are intended to keep bees with their colonies and offer some protection against dirt and debris.

In thinking about it, we realized that hauling bees is one of the most challenging jobs in all of flatbed trucking. Right off the top, bees constitute live cargo. Truckers are not just hauling inanimate objects that could easily be replaced in the event of unforeseen damage. They are dealing with living creatures that beekeepers cannot afford to lose.

Dwindling Bee Populations

Honeybee populations have been dwindling over the last couple of decades or so. All around the world, researchers and beekeepers alike have been struggling to find out why colonies are collapsing. In the meantime, they have also been working to restore populations to previous levels. That is the reason truck drivers have to be so very careful when hauling bees.

Beekeepers cannot afford to lose even one hive. They certainly do not want to load a flatbed full of as many as 400 colonies only to have them all collapse before they reach their destination. As such, they are extremely strict guidelines beekeepers and truckers follow for preparing, loading, transporting, and unloading beehives.

From the Trucker’s Perspective

As you know, truck drivers are ultimately responsible for the safety of their cargo from the moment it is loaded until the moment it comes off the trailer. It is a lot of responsibility under normal circumstances, but the responsibility is even greater when a driver is hauling bees.

Truck drivers have to take great care to make sure hives are loaded gently and safely. He or she has to calculate weight to make sure the loaded rig falls within federal and state guidelines. The driver then has to check the height to make sure stacked hives are low enough to accommodate height restrictions. Finally, he or she has to tie down the load with straps in such a way as to secure each one without damaging the protective wood around it.

A bee net is put over the top of the load for reasons mentioned earlier in this post. If the beekeeper has done his/her job, very few bees will escape the hives during transport. Those that do will be kept in the general proximity by the bee net.

Once on the road, the driver has to stop at regular intervals to inspect the load. There can be no room for load shifting as this could upset the colonies. The driver also inspects the bee net to make sure it is still firmly in place. As for the driving itself, the trucker has to take it easy. He/she has to be easy on the gas, easy on the turns, and is consistent as possible with speed.

Good Driving Benefits All of Us

Provided the truck driver does everything by the book, we all benefit. Beehives reach their destination intact and full of healthy bees just waiting to get to work. Those bees are released to pollinate both farmlands and wild nature alike.

Did you know honeybees are among the most prolific pollinators in all of nature? They do the majority of the heavy lifting, so to speak, which is why we cannot afford to allow bee populations to fall any further. Those truck drivers who haul beehives do a difficult job for which we should all be grateful.


Tips for Finding the Right Cargo Control Supplies

Mytee Products sales personnel take a lot of pleasure in helping new flatbed truck drivers stock their trucks with cargo control supplies. We take immense pride in the fact that we have just about everything a trucker needs to keep cargo in place. Yet we get the fact that figuring out cargo control is a learning process. Drivers new to flatbeds may not necessarily know what they need.

We obviously want you to make good purchase decisions. It helps neither you nor us when you buy cargo control equipment you do not really need. It also doesn’t help you to be caught in the field without the right equipment. So to address both potential problems, we have put together a list of tips for finding the right cargo control supplies.

Figure out Your Loads

The very first thing to do is figure out the kinds of loads you are most likely to carry. As a new driver, you are probably willing to take just about anything that will fit on the back of a trailer. But realize that newbies do not have access to everything. It takes a while to work your way up to the more complicated loads. As a new driver, the bulk of your work is likely going to be things like lumber, pipe, building supplies, and other types of easy-to-manage cargo.

Visit Online Trucking Forums

Online trucking forums are a great resource for helpful information. You should join as many as you can even if you are not looking for cargo control advice. Having said that, feel free to post questions having to do with everything from tarps to ratchet straps and using blocks.

Veteran truckers should be happy to share their knowledge with you. And make no mistake, they are a wealth of information. The most generous among them will tell you everything you need to know down to brand name preferences. Some of them might even recommend us as a preferred supplier.

Ask Shippers Direct Questions

Next, do not assume to understand what a shipper expects. Instead, ask very direct questions about how they want cargo secured and protected. Some don’t really care as long as the load gets to its destination safely. Others are very particular. They expect you to use a specific number of straps, a particular kind of tarp, and a certain number of edge protectors.

Check out Other Rigs

You are going to encounter other flatbed rigs during your travels. Pay attention to them. Check out how other drivers are securing the same kinds of loads you carry. Not only will you increase your knowledge of cargo control equipment, you will also learn some of the best trade secrets. Always remember that observation is a great tool.

Talk to Our Sales Professionals

Lastly, we recommend speaking with Mytee Products sales professionals. We may not drive trucks for a living ourselves, but we have decades of experience in this industry. We know exactly how every piece of equipment we sell is supposed to work. We know what each piece of equipment is intended to do. We also know how to use our equipment and supplies according to federal and state regulations.

If necessary, one of our sales professionals can even demonstrate how to use a piece of equipment on your truck. We are more than happy to help if you need that kind of assistance.

At the end of the day, we have everything the flatbed trucker needs to keep cargo secure. It’s just a matter of figuring out what your loads require and then stocking your truck accordingly.


Summer is Mesh Tarp Season at Mytee Products

Some of the items we sell are considered seasonal for stocking purposes. Among them are mesh tarps. Although we sell these tarps year-round, we seem to sell more of them during the spring and summer months. If you are a regular mesh tarp buyer, you understand why.

Mesh tarps are particularly good tools for certain kinds of jobs. Four of those jobs are described below. If you ever have need of high-quality mesh tarps to go with the rest of your cargo control supplies, rest assured that Mytee Products has what you need. All of our tarps are made with high-quality materials and constructed to be tough and resilient.

1. Mesh Tarps for Dump Trucks

Dump truck operators appreciate a good mesh tarp as a means of containing loose loads. We carry a number of different tarps that are ideal for this job. For the record, we also carry a complete dump tarp kit intended for smaller trucks.

Getting back to mesh tarps in general, dump truck operators appreciate that they are lighter than solid tarps. That makes them easier to deploy – whether it is done manually or with a roll tarp mechanism. Mesh tarps are easier to fold, easier to store, and easier to move from one truck to the next if necessary.

2. Mesh Tarps for Hauling Bees

The fact that mesh tarps are quite breathable makes them ideal for hauling bees. For these kinds of jobs, we carry a number of different mesh tarps. We have purpose-built bee nets for tractor-trailer loads involving hundreds of colonies. These are large tarps designed to cover the entire length and back of a flatbed trailer.

Smaller loads using pickup trucks or light-duty cargo vehicles can be covered with one of our standard mesh tarps. These tarps are the same as bee nets for all intents and purposes, except for being smaller.

3. Mesh Tarps for Shade

Some of the tarps we sell have absolutely nothing to do with cargo control. Take our green shade mesh tarp for example. Along with its black counterpart, this mesh tarp is ideal for providing temporary shade during the sunny summer months. It is light enough to be deployed just about anywhere yet strong enough to withstand summer weather.

Green tends to be a better color for shade in that is doesn’t absorb heat; black does. Even so, our black mesh tarps can be used for shade as well. Use either one at home, on the job site, out on the lake, or down on the beach.

4. Mesh Tarps for Visual Barriers

Finally, mesh tarps are a great tool for erecting visual barriers. We sell a lot of these tarps to construction companies for this very purpose. A mesh tarp can obstruct a person’s field of vision so as to prevent seeing what is happening on a job site. A visual barrier might be installed for aesthetic or security purposes.

The nice thing about using mesh tarps for this sort of thing is that they are breathable. You do not have to install an excessive number of posts to keep them in place, and rain and wind doesn’t bother them either. With a well-planned installation you can set up visual barriers and then forget about them until the job is done.

Mytee Products carries a complete inventory of black and green mesh tarps. Our mesh tarps also come in a variety of sizes. Feel free to browse our website to find the perfect mesh tarp for your application. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


How to Secure Cargo with an E-Track System

Most of what we talk about in terms of cargo control pertains to flatbed trailers. That said, we do not want to leave dry goods trailers out. Although cargo control to a certain extent pertains to trailers with four walls and a roof, cargo still needs to be kept in place during transit to prevent damage.

Cargo control is undoubtedly a bit easier when you have walls to work with. In fact, drivers can use those walls to their advantage by way of the E-track system. Most of your modern dry goods trailers come with E-track built-in so drivers don’t have to worry about it.

An E-track system consists of at least one track running along each side of the trailer. Sometimes there are multiple tracks. The tracks take their name from the shape of the receiving holes. Those holes accept a locking mechanism that, when looked at from the side, resembles the letter ‘e’.

Deploying the Shoring Beam

The easiest way to secure cargo inside a dry goods trailer is with something known as the shoring beam. This is an adjustable aluminum decking beam that fits into the E-track on both ends. You simply slide the beam into the track on one side, extend it across the trailer and connect it the other track.

The shoring beam represents the fastest cargo control method in dry goods trucking. Its weakness is that it is limited to certain kinds of cargo. It works well with large carts that might hold linens, paper goods, etc. It does not work well for palleted goods that might shift during transport.

E-Track Ratchet Straps

The dry goods equivalent of ratchet straps for flatbed trailers is the E-track ratchet strap. It works exactly the same way as its flatbed counterpart except that it is held in place on either end by the previously mentioned E-tracks. You simply hook both ends into the tracks and tighten down the strap with a built-in ratchet.

The straps are very convenient and quite effective for loads that will not remain stationary with the shoring beams. And because the straps can be woven in and around pieces of cargo, you can get a really tight fit.

Heavy-Duty Cargo Nets

From time to time a driver might carry a load that is naturally loose. An example that immediately comes to mind is dirty laundry heading from a depot to a laundry facility. A workable solution for keeping the laundry in place is the heavy-duty cargo net.

Heavy-duty cargo nets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are generally made of webbing material and include hooks or D-rings at key anchor points. They can be attached directly to tiedown points on the cargo or to the E-track using hooks and ropes.

J-Hooks and Tie-Offs

If all else fails, a driver can attach either J-hooks or tie-offs to the E-track on either side of the trailer. Ropes can then be used to secure cargo as needed. This is the most flexible solution when you are carrying a load that just cannot be secured in any other way. Having said that, these sorts of loads are not the norm for dry goods trailers.

If you do a lot of dry goods work, you are probably familiar with all of the items described here. The question is, what do your toolboxes look like? Do not be caught off guard by a shipper who calls you to pick up the trailer without properly securing the cargo. Have a good supply of E-track J-hooks and tie-offs just in case the shipper doesn’t provide any other means of properly securing the cargo.


How Well Do You Know Your Winch Options?

Winches are synonymous with cargo control in the trucking industry. No matter what kind of open-deck trailer is being used, a truck driver relies on strategically located winches to die down the cargo using webbing straps. A trailer needs enough winches to meet federal tiedown standards dictating the required number of straps for each load.

How well do you know your winches? If you have been a flatbed trucker for at least a few years, you are probably familiar with all of them. If you are new, that may not be the case. Suffice it to say there is more than one kind of winch. In fact there are four kinds that we carry at Mytee Products.

1. Standard Welded Winch

The industry standard is the tried-and-true welded winch. It comes in a variety of sizes and is remarkably simple in its construction. It consists of a main body along with the winch axle, ratchet, and gear. There is a hole in the axle just outside the main body designed to accept a standard winch bar.

This particular winch gets its name from the mounting method. In other words, it is welded directly to the rail of the trailer. It can be mounted horizontally on the outer edge of the rail or vertically on the underside. The obvious benefit here is strength. On the downside, welded winches are fairly permanent.

2. Bolt-On Winch

The bolt-on winch looks a lot like a welded winch except that the rear plate is slightly larger to accommodate heavy-duty bolts. It works the exact same way as a welded winch in function. The main difference is that it is bolted to the rail rather than welded.

The advantage of this sort of winch is that it can be moved around if necessary. But there is a downside. Every position you might want to locate this winch requires drilling bolt holes. And of course, moving winches around when you are trying to get a load tied down can be aggravating.

3. Stake Pocket Winch

The stake pocket winch offers the flexibility you do not get from welded and bolt-on winches. Considered temporary winches, you use them by sliding them into the stake pockets along the rail of the trailer. Wherever you have a pocket, you can insert one of these winches.

Stake pocket winches are deployed in seconds thanks to a spring-loaded hook built-in to the bottom. Retract the hook, slip the winch into the pocket, and let go. The spring-loaded hook will return to its normal position and lock the winch in place.

4. The Slide Winch

Last but not least is the slide winch. The slide winch looks a little bit different in that it has a purpose-designed plate that slips into a rail already mounted on the side of the trailer. Upper and lower lips built into the rail hold the winch in place. By the way, there are both single and double sliders. The double slider utilizes a double rail with upper and lower sections.

The biggest advantage of this kind of system is flexibility. Winches can be adjusted to accommodate any load configuration. The downside is having to mount rails on the trailer. Both the winches and rails also have to be inspected more frequently. More can go wrong with this sort of system.

As you can see, there is more than one kind of winch. It is up to you to determine which ones are best for you. Note that we have everything you need here at Mytee Products, from winches to webbing straps and ratchets.