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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    Default How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    I am new to beekeeping and this will be my first year to give it a shot. I went ahead and built two beehives over the winter and have purchased two packages of bees that will be here on April 27th!! I'm really excited to start this new hobby.

    My biggest concern right now is where to place my hives? I live in a suburb of Salt Lake City so it get's really cold in the winter, and my lot is only about .25/acre. So I only have a few choices as to where to put the hives. My main concern is that the sun doesn't hit my yard until about 10:30AM because I live up on a hill. And then I have some trees that will block the sun in most areas of the yard. So how important is it that my hives are in the sun considering where I live and the climate here?

    So here are my two choices of where I can put them. Which one sounds better?

    1. Set up in a corner against a fence that faces South and the sun will hit them from about 10:00 AM to about 2:00 PM. They will then be mostly shaded by some trees for the rest of the evening.

    Or

    2. Set up against a shed facing South and the sun will hit them from about 11:00 AM to about 6:00 PM.

    Am I over thinking this? I just don't want my new bees to die during my first winter because I put them in the wrong place?

    Any advice would be awesome.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    4,949

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Welcome to Beesource!


    Relax! Your bees are not going to die because you put them in a location that doesn't get full sun.

    Other factors being equal, I would choose the site where they get the earliest sun, particularly considering springtime sun. The biggest plus for early sun is to get the bees out foraging earlier than they would without sun on those cooler mornings. Afternoon sun is of little importance.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    I agree with Rader. Bees don't die because of shade or the direction that the entrance is located. I'm not really sure that either are really that important. I have hives that have almost full time shade along with some that are in full sun and I don't notice that much difference. My biggest honey producer last year got about 2 hours of sun a day. On a small lot, I would really place them in the best place for me and my interaction (or lack thereof) with them and not worry about environmental variables.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    The books, classes and lectures talk about the optimum.

    We rarely get the optimum, so just place them in the best spot(s) you can afford them!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Slidell, LA, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Small Hive Beetles are a big problem in this part of the country. We are told by the local clubs and mentors that full sun and dry ground helps in their control. Most of the people I know will leave the hives in full sun and then use a piece of plywood or pallet to help block the midday sun during the hottest part of the year. If you do not have a SHB problem having them in the shade sure makes them easier to work in the afternoon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Ok thanks for the info and the help. I've been worrying about this all winter. Watching the sun almost everyday to see where it hits in my backyard and at what time. Ha ha ha.. I really thought that not having sun hit the hives in the winter would kill my bees.

    So I think I will just put them where they are more out of the way and convenient for me to get to. Which would be by my shed. That would be the perfect spot because there is a cement slab already in place to set the hives on.

    Thanks again for the quick responses.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,453

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    I think you need priorities and here is the list:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating

    Sun is one of them, and it will help greatly with things like Small Hive Beetle and the general health of the hive.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I think you need priorities and here is the list:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#locating

    Sun is one of them, and it will help greatly with things like Small Hive Beetle and the general health of the hive.
    That's a great resource.. thanks for sharing. It gave me a few more things to think about on one location over the other.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,618

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    On a .25 acre lot you might consider which location puts you the farthest from a property line.

    How is your summer climate?...exceptionally hot?...warm?...cool?...arid?...moist?

    Ed

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,761

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    I look for a spot that gives them the most sun summer and winter, our summers are rarely above low 90's for an extended period so I don't worry about excessive heat melting combs down, the bees know how to ventilate. Bees love the sun, honey production is much better in sunny spots rather that shaded ones period. They used to say that you should have sun on the hives except in the hottest part of the late afternoon when they should be at least partially shaded, personally I don't do it that way, I want as much sun as I can get them. John

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Where the sun shines in this March and where the sun shines next November, will not be in the same exact spot.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,761

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Where my bees are located the sun shines on them every month of the year, no shade at all. John

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,861

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    I have half of my hives in full sun all day and the other half in various amounts of shade, including a few in full shade under fruit trees. The ones under the fruit trees do get winter sun after the leaves fall. I don't see any difference in honey production. If everything else was equal I would put them in full sun. For me as much as them. Seeing eggs in the shade of a fruit tree is very difficult for me and I have to walk out into the sun to see into the cell bottoms. Tree limbs are a pain. But bees do well in both situations.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    livefree, Solid advice above. The only thing I will add is when placing, allow enough room behind the hives so you can work them from behind leaving the entrance clear for the bees to come and go. They don't take too kindly having their landing zone blocked after a day of foraging. Don't ask me how I know that.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: How important is sun for my hives? Where should I place my new hives?

    Wow.. thanks for all the great information!! this board is awesome!!

    After reading all of the above I have decided where to put my hives.

    I am going to put them by my shed because it is easier to access and furthest away from the house and neighbors. There is also a very solid foundation for them to sit on. It will also be a lot easier to put a gate up to block them from dogs and kids. The sun will hit the hives a little later in the day, but they will get sun for a lot longer than the other spot I was going to put them.

    Thanks again for all the great info, this really helped me decided on where to put them.

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