North/South vs East/West TBH
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Olympia, WA
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    15

    Default North/South vs East/West TBH

    If this question has been asked before, apologies. Two of our current TBHs have entries on the end of the hive. Currently they have the entry facing northerly and they are doing fine BUT the primary morning sun they get comes from the south easterly direction. During the winter months what little sun we get in the Pacific NW is almost exclusively from that direction and lasts from what serves a sunrise until about mid day heating as best as might be expected the opposite short side from the entry. This will be their second spring here and they originally arrived in May when sun is much less an issue as is general heat. I am giving some serious consideration to turning without moving total location both hives so one side is angled more SSE which will give one side more time to absorb what sun they might get. On sunny days even with temps below cleansing flight temperatures the opposite short side is noticeable warmer to the touch than any of the other three sides. Peak summer heat and timber areas adjacent to our property protect us from the worst of our summer suns to some degree and anything around here once it approaches 90 or more is considered HOT day. Really long way of asking, will the bees really care all that much to the change in entry direction?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,572

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    Just an opinion from someone on the other side of the continent. Look at where the brood is in the winter. This will be the warmest side of the hive in most situations. That is where the entrance should be located.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    2,134

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    That is where the entrance should be located.
    on a "square" hive maby...

    but the dynamics of a long hive are different.. I think the op will be better off with thier plan putting a long side to the sun, I have had hives maintain there cluster by the entrance as the solar gain on the long side larger surface area allowed them to break cluster and move honey.

    I run mostly south entrances on my KTBH

    Edit I said south entrances, meant long side to the south and east entrance
    Last edited by msl; 02-22-2020 at 09:40 AM.
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,572

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    I agree. I thought the entrance of a TBH was on the side. I.missed the part about two of his hives having entrances on the end. I meant the hive should be turned so that the long side with the entrance was facing the direction that got warm first. On my langs, the hives that are building up fastest are facing south and west, more foraging activity. The hives facing north and east are a little behind them, but not too far as I am feeding pollen sub patties.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    2,134

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    "most" long hives have an entrance on the short end to keep the brood nest nest up front and honey in the back. Like any outer beekeeping equipment there are all ways some od balls (Gold star, Chandler)
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,822

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    I have more than 7 topbar hives in my yard and they all have entrances facing different directions. It would appear that the bees don't care.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,812

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    I have more than 7 topbar hives in my yard and they all have entrances facing different directions. It would appear that the bees don't care.
    Even though I don't run Top Bar hives anymore - I agree. (It's really a Horizontal Hive issue rather than having anything to do with how the combs are attached ... )

    Whenever possible I provide entrances at both ends (one open, one closed) - because - as msl said:
    "most" long hives have an entrance on the short end to keep the brood nest nest up front and honey in the back.
    And so that's how things are during the season ...

    During winter, the bees migrate towards the back where their stores are located. Come Spring, they'll then be positioned at the end farthest from the entrance, and may even have begun to start a brood nest at that end.
    Two ways of dealing with this - one is to open-up an entrance at that end, and eventually close the other (which is what I do) - or - re-arrange the combs so that the brood nest is then closer to the original entrance.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    2,134

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    It would appear that the bees don't care.
    perhaps in your clime they don't
    I have a much colder winter temp, 50% more sunny days, and at my altitude I get 2x the solar heating hiting the box as sea level.

    For me hives put long way to the south do better then short end to the south, hives in winter shade often struggle.
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    Thanks ALL for our insights. The list of things I am still learning is long but one for sure is just because it sounds like a good idea, don't mean diddly. And starting with TBHs makes it a whole lot different than what almost everyone in our local club has to offer for advice. Our future TBHs (2) have entries on the long side and still going to max our sunshine to the extent possible. And I really appreciate folks recognizing the differences locale and winter weather can have on placement.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: North/South vs East/West TBH

    I have 6 top bar hives and am about 1 hour north of you. My entrances face in every direction. The bees could care less what direction the entrance faces. I have seen no difference in survival based on direction nor have I seen any difference in build up or honey harvests. Face the entrance in whatever direction is best for you and the layout of the property.

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