Full Sun?
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Thread: Full Sun?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Washington, USA
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    473

    Default Full Sun?

    So, I have been doing some reading and multiple people here on BS have said that hives in the full sun perform better than hives in the shade. I have only ever had hives in full shade, so I have no personal opinion/experience on which is better.
    Can someone add/elaborate to my list of reasons why full sun is better than shade?
    • Morning sun on the face of the hive
    • Fewer pests such as SHB (fewer pests == fewer diseases)

    I want to hear your experiences. Thank you.
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Big time location important question here as in Arizona's desert "full sun" gets ya melted wax in summer running out the bottom, we use trees etc. to get defused sun and avoid creating a Langstroth oven
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  4. #3

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nugget Shooter View Post
    Big time location important question here as in Arizona's desert "full sun" gets ya melted wax in summer running out the bottom, we use trees etc. to get defused sun and avoid creating a Langstroth oven
    I've often wondered about this. Where I'm at in South Carolina, I can't imagine that full sun through the summer is optimal.....at all.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
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    3,404

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    My hives are in the full sun and they do fine in the summer. No screened bottom boards here. It doesn't get "wax melting" hot here. Maybe a few days at 100-102 but mostly 90's during the summer. Seems like we set a record last year with consecutive days over 90, with close to 120.

    Remember, the brood nest stays 93 degrees, year round...
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Joliet, il
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    1,865

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Let me ask this, why do you have you hives in shade?

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billboard View Post
    Let me ask this, why do you have you hives in shade?
    Because I thought it would be better out of the summer heat.
    Around here, the summer highs are usually 110-120f. There are many days in the summer that are north of 100f.
    The commercial beekeeper I know who has +250 hives within several miles of me keeps his hives in full sun all the time.
    I am leaning more towards full sun now.
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  8. #7

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Only partial shade here and we have no beetles so not a worry, mites yes..... Another subject. We see temps 117 and sometimes higher....
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,833

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by m0dem View Post
    Around here, the summer highs are usually 110-120f. There are many days in the summer that are north of 100f.
    As I recall, you are in the Vancouver WA area. As a former Washington resident, I find it hard to believe that "summer highs are usually 110-120f." The article below is from August 2012:
    Temperatures blew past the century mark in Vancouver this afternoon, hitting a record 103 degrees before easing as evening began.

    The National Weather Service station at Pearson Field recorded a temperature of 100 degrees at 4:53 p.m., with a peak temperature of 103 in the six hours previous. The NWS reported temperatures of 101 degrees at 2:53 p.m. and 102 degrees at 3:53 p.m.

    It was the first time Vancouver had recorded a temperature above 100 in three years, said Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

    “We have to go back to July 29, 2009, to see another high temperature above the century mark,” Pierce said. That day also happened to see the highest temperature recorded at Pearson: 108 degrees.

    The previous record high for Aug. 4 was 99 degrees in 1952.

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/a...ark-vancouver/
    My hives in NE Tennessee are in full sun.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Joliet, il
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    1,865

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Well why are you leaning towards full sun are you having problems with the hive in shade? Reason i ask is whats going on that your questioning your initial hive placement.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    frederick, md
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    806

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    We have ours in full sun. In the past four years we have only seen one hive beetle.
    Zone 6b: 18 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,522

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Mine are in full sun in northern NY, and I still have a few hive beetles each summer, though they never reach the problem stage.

    If I lived in the PACNW, my hives would be in the sun, not for SHB reasons, but more for keeping them active and busy in the rainy cool temps. (Though I know the eastern part of WA is different and hotter and drier than the coastal side. Still, I don't think bees in ID, MT, ND, etc., need shade to keep them healthy all summer, either.)

    Don't confuse heat index temps with air temps.

    Enj.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Charleston South Carolina
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    431

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    In in South Carolina and I put them in full sun. I put 4 hives in a shady area near a ditch to run a test and see if it matters. These hives were booming. I pulled 2 nucs off of the four. The nucs got slimed. I left the 4 main hives devoid of any beetle traps. Again they were booming made over 150lbs of honey w each one. The beetle population grew and grew. I pulled honey in July and they were slimed by November. I use solid bottom boards now and full sun. No inner cover. In my area I have some friends who have backyard hives where they can't get full sun and they all contain more beetles. Not enough to take down the hives though.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billboard View Post
    Well why are you leaning towards full sun are you having problems with the hive in shade? Reason i ask is whats going on that your questioning your initial hive placement.
    1. They're dead. (not saying it's related to shade vs. sun)
    2. Most commercial beekeepers [have to] put their hives in full sun.


    I don't think we have any problems with SHB up here in the North.
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Chesnee,S.C.
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    I also live in S.C. (upstate). All mine are in full sun. Very few shb or mites. I don't treat for anything now. When I had them in the shade, I had to treat them but it never worked for long. Back in the 80's, I kept them in the afternoon shade. Ran out of room, so caught 2 swarms and had to put them in full sun. Those 2 hives made 7 shallow supers each, so I started putting them in the sun more often. Then when the shb & mites came I spent a lot of money on treatments, but still lost most of my bees. All my bees have been in full sun for 15 or 20 years now, but the ones facing south & on the hill do a lot better than the ones lower & facing east.
    wishbone

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Washington, USA
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    473

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by WISHBONE View Post
    All my bees have been in full sun for 15 or 20 years now, but the ones facing south & on the hill do a lot better than the ones lower & facing east.
    So, the ones that get a more direct noon sun are better off than the ones that get a direct first morning sun?

    Or is it just because the east-facing hives are lower? (Do they get early morning sun?)
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,417

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    I keep two hives on a very shaded lot and 7 hives in full sun. The two hives in the shade are my most prolific hives and have the greatest honey harvest for the past 2 years. However, SHB are a constant battle for me with these 2 hives. I have them on Freeman-style bottom boards with oil traps. If their populations were not so high, I am sure they would get overrun. The ones I have in full sun are all average hives with decent honey production. I rarely see SHB in them.

    Just my experience.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Washington, USA
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    473

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    As I recall, you are in the Vancouver WA area. As a former Washington resident, I find it hard to believe that "summer highs are usually 110-120f."
    Central Washington. Lot different over here.
    Whenever I hear that Washington is the "Evergreen State," I have a good chuckle. According to usclimatedata.com, we get an average rainfall of 7 and 1/2 inches of rain per year. I didn't know it was that much.
    Yesterday was 96f.

    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications...nAnnPrecip.pdf
    Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
    Zone 6B

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    2,514

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Personally I've got over 40 in full sun. SHB's are there but 5-10 per hive. I've got 8 hives in as full sun as I can in that location. I'd bet 75% sun. Those hives have 50-100 when I pop them open. I'll be taking out some trees or moving the hives next year to try to get the SHB numbers down. I do have a 1.25" hole in a shim between the inner and outer cover and use solid bottom boards so there is some additional ventilation for those hot days.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Chesnee,S.C.
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    37

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by m0dem View Post
    So, the ones that get a more direct noon sun are better off than the ones that get a direct first morning sun?

    Or is it just because the east-facing hives are lower? (Do they get early morning sun?)
    Mine are in full sun all day, no shade at all. I'm sure yours will do different than mine. You just have to figure out what works best for you. My dad & Grandpa always faced there hives east so they would catch the morning sun quicker, but I've had better results from the ones facing south. Seems that what works for some bees does not work for others. I don't use any foundation, and my south facing hives normally build straight comb while my east facing hives normally build crossed comb.
    wishbone

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Verde Valley Arizona
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Full Sun?

    I want to reinforce Nugget Shooter's experience. Here in the Verde Valley (zone 8) the hives need morning sun and afternoon shade.

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