I was trying to get at that they are distant ancestor of wasps. According to my beekeeper handbook Bees appear to have evolved from predatory sphecicd wasp ancestors about 100 million years ago So yeah it has been a while. It says the change in diet from animal to vegetable protein and the presence of branched hairs seperate bees from wasps. Perhaps I was wrong in my thinking that the hives are gray in the wild that is just how I always pictured them. The honeybees living in trees is more accurate according to what I'm still in the early phases of learning about. Please bare with me. I still kind of think of trees as being a textural brown gray brown sort of in the middle as far as shading. Thanks for pointing out about the bees not being wasps I didn't word it the way I should have. My intent was to try to word that they evolved from wasp even though they are bees now.
Ultimately though I'm curious if a middle shaded color between dark and light would be preferable to white. VW
I guess my worry would warming the hive enough in winter with a black hive would give the bees the feeling it would be warmer outside then it really is. and in the summer mine were bearding with my white hive.maybe we should mount shade brackets on the front and change the shades with the seasons.i have been using 2inch blue board around my hive but i only have 1 hive not a bunch. blue board not the cheapest way to go. i take it off in summer. i was thinking of doing camo to hide from bears but then i would also have to make the hive smell like a skunk, and i don't like that smell either.
moo - I share your concern about artificially heating the hive (with dark paint, tar paper, whatever) to the point that the bees think it's warmer out than it actually is, venture out for a poop flight, and get 'caught' out in the cold. personally, I have a hard time believing (in principle, I've never experimented/measured) that tar paper transfers the heat it absorbs to/through the wood of the hive body where it then radiates over onto the cluster in significant amounts (I do think it probably functions in draft control and can therefore be useful, although many people report mold problems in humid applications). regardless, if there is any benefit to be had by dark colors in winter, it is only on the south side of the hive, at least here in the northern hemisphere. here in NY, in mid winter, the sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest, only getting 23 degrees above the horizon, so it doesn't really matter what color the E/W/N sides of your hive are. in summer, the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest, only crossing into the southern sky for a bit in the middle of the day, so moo is right, shade overhangs can easily and effectively protect that southern face (the passive solar heating folks have this all down to a science...my house has a sunroom and greenhouse on the S side, no windows on the N).
A delayed comment about Reflectix (just noticed this thread)-- check their web site www.reflectixinc.com. They're pretty clear that it should have some dead air space between the foil and whatever it is you're trying to keep warm for full effect. It does not work like normal insulation. Without that air space between the hive and Reflectix, you're basically just using bubble wrap. Not useless, but not what you think you're achieving.