Full sun, or not full sun- that is the question!

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Joined
Mar 16, 2023
Messages
89
Reaction score
75
Location
Oxfordshire
Hive Type
National
Hi all,

After some advice, as the web, books and mentors all contradict each other!

Siting hives in full sun- yay or nay? Located South Oxfordshire. They'd be unshaded all year, which I suppose is a boon in midwinter?

Excellent wind protection, so not concerned about that.

Any thoughts welcome!

Thanks
 
It depends on the peak temperature in summer and the availability of a nearby source of water. Ventilation works will reduce the harvest while it will be capped more quickly.
Entrance orientation from E to W with preference to S or SE, guarantees minimal heating and protection from cold and humid winds in winter.
A light shade is always welcome and you will also have a place for an outgoing swarm to perch.
 
Hi all,

After some advice, as the web, books and mentors all contradict each other!

Siting hives in full sun- yay or nay? Located South Oxfordshire. They'd be unshaded all year, which I suppose is a boon in midwinter?

Excellent wind protection, so not concerned about that.

Any thoughts welcome!

Thanks
I have to say I prefer full sun I find they are drier in the winter and generally build a little faster in Spring. I’ve never had any collapse inc those on a hot flat roof in full sun. Saying that I’ve an apiary in amongst trees that meets all other criteria. It’s damp in shaded areas that annoys me and having spread some hives into a wooded area last winter at home. I was inundated with slugs and damp in nucs!🤬
 
I would prefer a sunny position out of the prevailing wind but I have apiary’s in shade exposed and under trees on hill tops.
I had a friend who took temps from under the roof space and temps were reaching 50c last summer .
Sunny positions need to be near a good water source.
 
I learnt the hard way that you need to site them wherever is most convenient for you and / or your neighbours. Last year I realised that where I had put them which was text book south facing with trees overhead for summer midday sun shade + early morning sun resulted in bees flying across the garden getting in peoples way and causing the neighbour issues when they were cutting their hedge.
I set about a month long transfer of moving my 3 hives a foot a day to a new position which towards the end was literally back breaking as they were getting heavier and heavier 😂.
This year I have noticed no difference despite them getting no morning sun or midday winter sun.
View attachment IMG_1839.mov
 
I have hives that get sun early afternoon (west-facing), and hives near them but at an angle (almost north-facing) so they get sun much later. The earlier sun hives seem to build up quicker in spring & forage earlier.
 
Same number of hours in the day, just finishing earlier!
Nope! They always finish flying at the same time before sunset but the earlier they start the longer the flying day! Try it, shade an entrance and have another in full morning sun. There can be as much as a couple of hours difference.
Living in the shade of hills on the Welsh border my bees often didn't start flying until lunch time as they had to rely on the ambient temperature.
 
Nope! They always finish flying at the same time before sunset but the earlier they start the longer the flying day! Try it, shade an entrance and have another in full morning sun. There can be as much as a couple of hours difference.
I have tried it! I used to have a row of hives at 90° to the fence line, about a metre from the fence.
When the sun came round it hit the first hive and they were always first out in the morning. But at the end of the day the first hive was in shade and always finished flying earlier than the other end of the row which were still in the sun.
 
I set about a month long transfer of moving my 3 hives a foot a day to a new position which towards the end was literally back breaking as they were getting heavier and heavier 😂.
If you ever have to do that again just put the hive in a barrow and wheel it 3' per day. Much easier. When I make my hive barrows I make them so the bed is horizontal for just such an event.
 
Hi all,

After some advice, as the web, books and mentors all contradict each other!

Siting hives in full sun- yay or nay? Located South Oxfordshire. They'd be unshaded all year, which I suppose is a boon in midwinter?

Excellent wind protection, so not concerned about that.

Any thoughts welcome!

Thanks
I have on odd occasion had wax foundation and comb "slump" in hot sunny conditions, which made a right old mess and took some sorting out. For that reason alone I prefer to site my hives where some shade is present during the middle of the day and into the afternoon. If circumstances don't permit this I create protection from the hot sun with an appropriate sheet of plywood or other thin material. This protection can be as simple as a few blocks of wood set on the hive roof to create a space for air to circulate under the shade sheet which is positioned on the top of the blocks. It's not so important with polyhives as the insulation limits heat absorbtion. As always it's your own decision
 

Latest posts

Back
Top