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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about to setup my first hive. From what I read, "dappled" sunlight is the preferred amount of sunlight. However, as I drive around in my area of York County South Carolina, I see everyone with their hives in direct sunlight, almost all day. I have a place to put my hive in direct sunlight more removed from my house (seen by neighbors in a field driving by), or lots more shade removed from sight of neighbors.

The area with lots of sunlight would receive about 7 hours of direct sunlight all day, right next to a creek. The area with lots of shade is also near a creek. Any thoughts?
 

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I have all kinds of problems with small hive beetles in my shady apiary. If I had the option I'd put my hives in full sunlight. It's also easier to see eggs and small larvae when there's full sun behind your back. Just don't paint your hives black and give them a screened bottom board and ventilation won't be a problem. Do keep in mind that full sun in the summer may be incredibly windy in the winter. Consider some sort of windbreak for the winter months.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Claressa. Very Helpful. Should the ventilated bottom board be used in the winter too, or put the non-ventiliated one back on it?

What about a hole drilled into it. I just bought the starter kit and painted the bottom board they gave me.
 

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my original hive, I have kept both in shade and in sun, and have not noticed a difference in SHB.

It's been reported a lot here that hives with full sun do better in regard to SHB. But the general principle is that strong hives are not overrun by SHB. Shade or sun.

So if neighbors and visibility are a concern, I would not sweat putting in a shadier area.
 

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There may be some regional preferences at play here. Arthur is in Texas and his temperatures may be blistering where a little afternoon shade is appreciated by everyone. In my part of GA it can be quite cool and moist in the shade even in the depths of summer - prime breeding for SHBs. He is right that the best defense against SHB is a strong hive. But, if you're starting from scratch with a package and all new foundation/strips that's beyond your reach for a couple of months. And there's still the point that it's just plain easier to see what's going on during an inspection if it's sunny. Of course, physical security from vandalism probably does trump everything. I still say that if there are no other considerations to be weighed I'd go for the sunny spot.

As for the screened bottom board, you'll get all kinds of answers to that one too. It's not necessary. The bees will keep the hive at the proper temperature with whatever bottom they have - they just may have to work a little harder at it. If you bought a ready made kit, I wouldn't worry about modifications this year. If ventilation seems to be a problem you can prop the outer cover open with a stick as necessary. You may decide you never need a SBB, but some tout it as integral to part of IPM. Brushy Mountain sells a good sturdy one or you can make one yourself if you're handy. You can do mite counts with sticky boards and the thought is that varroa that fall through don't make their way back onto a bee as they would with a solid board. Some say they also provide lots of entrance for pests like SHBs and wax moths. I don't have enough experience to have a firm opinion either way, but I do have SBBs on mine. You can leave them on all year round (even if you move up north).

Whatever you do - shade/sun, SBB/solid - make sure you have a plan to check your pest levels, especially if you're getting a package or something not specifically marketed as "resistant". Through sad personal experience I know that a new package can go from promising to finished in a very short time and my first warning was always a sharp increase in opportunistic pests. Having a SBB with a removable sticky board that you insert overnight or whatever is a lot easier to check than going through a bunch of frames every week.
 

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Hey TK, listen to Claressa on this one. You are not too far from either of us and SHB can be bad. I run all of my hives in Full Sun. NO Sbb, but i just havent tried it yet either...LOL. I have one that was partially shaded this spring and i noticed more SHB in that one. Moved them to full sun as soon as I could and helped them a bit by crushing some, now they are handing them all on their own.Just my thoughts!
 

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is it possible that the differences in heat in shaded and non-shaded hives have more to do with SHB being in places easier for beeks to see, rather than the SHB load?

i.e. maybe in hotter hives, the beetles are more likely to be near lid/cover.
 

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Sorry to hijack the conversation, but SHBs are my nemesis! It's not the adults that do the damage but their larvae. You will always have SHBs if you live below the Mason-Dixon. It's how your bees contain them that matters. I believe in giving them all the help I can.

From two packages last year, both superseded in late July or early August. One survived, one went queenless and was decimated by SHBs. If you looked under the inner cover they both had the same number of SHB adults - about a dozen in the summer at the peak of their population and space. The hive that died started showing live larvae on the sticky boards when I did my weekly varroa counts about two weeks before I noticed the absence of the queen. I will admit to being terribly inexperienced and this is a low sample pool, but I will continue to take this as a sign that intervention is needed.

Come to think of it, the hive that lived got the most afternoon sun. Maybe that helped. I'm planning to put my next package in the spot where the other hive died, so I'll let you know how she fares.
 

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The hive that died started showing live larvae on the sticky boards when I did my weekly varroa counts about two weeks before I noticed the absence of the queen. I will admit to being terribly inexperienced and this is a low sample pool, but I will continue to take this as a sign that intervention is needed.
I don't doubt you.

What I wonder is if when you see something like that, it's already too late. Hive is in a death spiral.
 

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I have seen one Larvae and 5-10 shb at any given time in my hives. I keep them very very strong. Even when it comes to my Nucs, I add one frame at a time and I use a board like it was the side of the hive. I one empty frame until they get to 10. Keeping them strong and crowded helps as well. I keep my hives in full sun no matter what all day long. my success, if any, comes from the bees, not me.
 

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You may be right, Arthur. It may have been too late before I saw live larvae (plural - there are usually one or two, not half a dozen.) They just quickly made a bad situation irreparable. SHB didn't cause the hive to go queenless but they sure took advantage quickly. The hive that died always seemed to have more bees and brood than the other until it suddenly didn't. Full sun might not have saved the hive, but I doubt it would have hurt them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks for all of your comments. I think it looks like the full sun has it to be safe. Its interesting to read in an authoritative book that "dappled" sun is the way to go, but then drive around town and see hives in full sun. My suspicians were correct that in this region, there was good reason for full sun by local beekeepers. Boy it gets hot here in August though!

I will monitor these pests, as well as ventilation.

Thanks again!
 

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You may be right, Arthur. It may have been too late before I saw live larvae (plural - there are usually one or two, not half a dozen.) They just quickly made a bad situation irreparable. SHB didn't cause the hive to go queenless but they sure took advantage quickly. The hive that died always seemed to have more bees and brood than the other until it suddenly didn't. Full sun might not have saved the hive, but I doubt it would have hurt them.
I once "locked" my queen into a honey-bound super once, so I completely lost all brood. So it must have been the hygenic behavior of the bees, combined with perhaps a smaller load of beetles that allowed my bees to survive.
 

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The area with lots of sunlight would receive about 7 hours of direct sunlight all day, right next to a creek. The area with lots of shade is also near a creek. Any thoughts?

My first thought...how high does the creek flood? Dappled sunlight won't do drowned bees any good.
 

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Most of my hives get morning sun only. I have 3 which are in complete shade. (They were in morning sun only when I placed them there 12 years ago) My opinion is that more shade means more hive beetles but other than that I don't think it really makes that much difference. More shade means you don't have to mow grass in front of them.
 
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