How important is it to have the hives facing east.What if they are not exposed to the sun before 9 or 10 in the morning? What will the difference be?
The issue of which way to face the hive and getting sun are two different ones.
The direction the entrance faces is better if it's away from the prevailing wind. In other words, you don't want the wind blowing right into the door. If the entrance is not facing away from the wind, it will be a little more drafty near the entrance on a windy day. Probably the queen won't lay brood as close to the door and they will have to generate more heat on a cold day.
Getting morning sun can make a difference in production. The sun warms the hive on a chilly morning and the bees don't fly until the feel the warmth, so if it's in the shade until 9 or 10 the bees won't go to work as soon. It's not the end of the world. Bees often pick such places and do fine, but they will not be as productive.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 24, 2003).]