Beehives and summer shade
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    39

    Default Beehives and summer shade

    I know keeping hives in sun vs shade is a controversial topic. I don't want to open that can of worms in this thread.

    After moving from acreage to town we got bees again. As space is limited the bees must be docile and not sting often otherwise I won't be allowed to keep them. My hives are currently under deciduous trees, they get some shade in summer and sun in winter.

    I read recently that if a hive is in the shade in summer the bees will be more irritable and more likely to sting. Is this true?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    4,137

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    I keep my hives in full sun, until later in the afternoon when they get shade from tall pine trees. Full sun seems to help control small hive beetles. The hives get plenty of ventilation with screened bottom boards. I haven't noticed the bees stinging more or less when in full sun as opposed to being in full shade. Any hives in full shade had small hive beetle issues all the time, the only hives I lost to beetles were in shade. There are a lot more variables involved like time of year, whether a dearth is on, whether a flow is on, is the hive queen less, etc. that affects the disposition of the bees and whether they will sting, in my opinion.
    "Sometimes the best action, with bees, is no action at all."

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    >I read recently that if a hive is in the shade in summer the bees will be more irritable and more likely to sting. Is this true?

    I have never noticed any difference in temperament between bees in full sun and bees in the shade. I usually have some of each. I have noticed that bees in the sun are more productive. People in small hive beetle areas say bees in full sun have less issues with SHB.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    More of the same. I have kept bees in the shade and in the full sun. I now keep them all in full sun. Primary advantage is it helps control SHB, which is very common in my portion of the Southeastern United States. I have never noticed a difference in temperment between sun and shade.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    My 2cents worth. You need morning sun to get them out of the box early and some afternoon shade will keep the hive from cooking I use oil pans under a SBB to manage SHB and I try not to work my bees when neighbors are in the yard. I don't think shade/sun makes any difference to the bees. Putting your hives in a dog fence with 6-8 foot high fence will make them fly higher, give you some security, and maybe make them a little less visible. It works for me with grandkids and dogs running around. Also, a close by water supply so they don't try to swim in your neighbor's pool.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    Thank you all, I had assumed (and hoped) this was the case.

    I have the bees in my chicken run which is surrounded by 7 foot tall fences that are either solid or covered in shade cloth so bees have to fly over them. They still seem to fly in at waist height, fly back and forward a few times near the fence, and then fly up and over it to go to the hive. I find this rather irritating as all advice is that the fence should keep them above head height for some time, but it doesn't seem to be the case.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,467

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    I have some hives that only get sun for 2 hours and they are the same as those that get 10. I work them in a t-shirt.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Beehives and summer shade

    Not too sure about 'irritability', but my experience has been that hives in the shade suffer GREATLY from SHB.

    Not saying that 'full sun' will prevent this, far from it.

    But nearly every hive I've had 'in the shade' has SHB, a minority of those in the sun do.

    Just my $ 0.02, YMMV.

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