In my opinion, that should be fine. You want them to be in the shade around noon when the day's heat is bearing down on them. If the trees are deciduous, then the hives will get a little more sun in the winter months.
In my opinion, full sun is best. I know their are a lot of old timers and those stuck in their ways of doing things the way they have always done, and they will disagree with me, but here is my reasoning:
Full sun provides more radiant heat to the hives obviously, therefore raising the internal temps which will evaporate more moisture out of the nectar allowing the honey to cure faster without the need for the bees to fan it. As long as there is an exhaust port in the top of the hive, the colony will function more efficiently, by allowing convection to move the humidity out of the hive and letting foragers continue to bring back more nectar.
If the hive lacks proper ventilation out the top, the heat will build up and not be exhausted, causing the bees to work harder to cool the colony, and eventually cause the comb to collapse. This is true even if you have a screened bottom board, as heat can not be pulled from the top to be exhausted out the bottom.
Walk into a tin top shed when the temp is 90+ and the sun is bearing down. Even with vents along the roof line, you won't stay in there very long on a hot afternoon.
I think you need to rethink your thinking, don't you think?
Am planning on moving my hives a little further from the back door--some visitors are scared of bees--now the hives are less than a hundred feet and in full sun. Planning on moving them about a hundred yards into a setup like buford is having, even have an old claw foot bathtub connected to a wet weather spring for water. Will move them this winter after we get a good bear proof fence built. Hope the girls like it.
Those who say full sun are absolutely right, and those who clamor for afternoon shade are also absolutely right.
It depends on what your temperatures are like. I expect down south, where temps are high for a large part of the year, afternoon shade is ideal. In my area where extremely high heat is much less common, but cool temps can happen any time, full sun is probably the better situation.
I heard somewhere that you should grow castor bean plants by your hives. The beans are tall enough by mid summer to provide some shade, but when the weather cools off in late summer you can cut the plants off to give full sun again. I may try it next year -- the seed is cheap.
You might want to think over the idea of planting a Castor been plant. They are a beautiful plant especially when in bloom but the seeds are poison to both human and animals and they could become a huge liability. In some places I believe it is illegal to grow them.
I grow castor beans sometimes near my patio for the dramatic effect. They look great. I don't worry too much about the toxicity. On the other hand, I own a greenhouse business and I would NEVER SELL castor bean plants. There's just too much potential for liability.
I had never grown them by the bee hives and sunflowers sound like a great alternative. Maybe I'll try those instead.
I have a good understanding of convection, and the taller the hive gets the more the heat will rise out the top, acting like a chimney, and pull cooler air up from the bottom, until the outside temps get above 95 degrees or so. Which means of course, this method would not work well in a tropical location.
I do have ventilated attic boxes on my hives also, to allow for more air volume to exhaust out the top, as well as provide a buffer from the direct radiant heat from the outer cover.
I performed side by side studies on my hives before completely changing over to this method of management. Colonies were of equal strength and volume, all consisting of a screened bottom board, and all hives had a remote temperature monitor. I installed my vented attics on the half in full sun. In every case, the hives without full sun did not produce as much honey, and they continued to beard and fan the entrance. The internal temperatures of the shaded hives still averaged 15 degrees warmer. The shaded colonies also seemed to be targeted by SHB moreso than the hives in full sun.
While keeping each colony in it's original location, I then switched the tops. The hives which were still bearding in the shade, suddenly went inside. The hives in full sun, now started to beard. This was enough proof for me.
BB, you're experiance is consistent with mine and virutally every expert I've read on the subject. Possibly Phoenix may be dealing with a specific climate area impact due to being so far north. I'd be curious to see the average mean temps (night and day) in his area vs. mine, yours and some farther south. Of course if it is a climatic influence there must be many other beekeepers who should be aware of his research results.
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