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  • Hive Placement. Shade in the winter. Advice appreciated.

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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #10123  by cropdusting
 28 Feb 2021, 21:02
Hello all,

Total beginner here, I have a two day course booked for April after which I plan to setup my first hive.

I have a lovely spot at the back of my garden, tall hedges to allow the bees to get to appropriate altitude, morning sunshine for three sessions and away from neighbours. Over this winter I have been monitoring the sunshine and for approx 6 weeks the site remains in shade. I have read that hives need morning sun so I have a decsion either to keeps bees in this spot or probably give up on the dream. Will this site be suitable? Is there any workarounds if the shade is a big problem? (perhaps leaving additional food for the bees over winter, or moving them in winter?)

Thanks in advance for any help,
 #10126  by MickBBKA
 01 Mar 2021, 00:53
Hi Dominic and welcome to the forum.
As in all things bee keeping answers will vary depending on keepers local environment.
South facing is most often considered the best option. But that will depend on local wind patterns, shelter and ambient temperatures. I wouldn't worry too much about shade in the winter. If they are in the sun and sheltered from wind from April until September they will be fine. 2 years ago I had a colony that was North West facing, the worst possible location for my bees ( I was stuck for space ) and it was my largest most productive colony that year. But on average my best results are hives facing dead South and sheltered from the freezing East winds we get between March and July here.
 #10128  by cropdusting
 01 Mar 2021, 07:51
Thank you so much for the reply. I am down in Surrey and the hive would be South facing and is pretty well protected from all sides ( hedged and thinking about slat fencing on the north and west sides to protect from the odd stray football but to still allow sunshine). Will keep an eye on the wind and if required add some form of wind break in the winter months.

Thanks again for your time and advice.
 #10129  by AdamD
 01 Mar 2021, 09:01
I have some hives facing west at the edge of a field, it can be a bit blowy at times but they are fine in winter. In summer they are in full sun for hours and they are fine too. A little winter sun, if possible, is good as the sun allows the hive to warm up.
 #10131  by Steve 1972
 01 Mar 2021, 10:57
At my main site in northumberland all my entrances are facing the late spring and into summer all the hives get full sun when it is high up in the sky..come winter to early spring the sun is lower..all the colonies get the morning sun but with the sun being lower it goes behind the cottage and a couple of colonies get two hours less sun..these colonies stop flying but the others in full sun are still active..
Wind wise all my colonies are ratchet strapped down to the stand..the location is in a valley and surrounded by woodland and a wall..this mean they are protected from most of the winds... no matter how well they are protected though nothing can protect them from the howling north easterly gales..with the inspection boards pushed nearly all the way in the bees get through winter fine..
 #10134  by Alfred
 01 Mar 2021, 14:19
Don't forget potential future hive placement.
You may well get many, many more hives than you currently envisage( it happens.... :oops: ) and the shadow of one may obliterate the sunlight of the other especially at each side of the day.
As previously mentioned a brick on top is good insurance too,but I have all my hives strapped down wholesale to concrete platforms as my second-worse hive pest is a pack of marauding clumsy deer.
 #10147  by NigelP
 02 Mar 2021, 08:45
There are large tracts devoted to the "ideal" positioning of beehives.
The reality is that hives usually end up being sited where it best suits the actual physical situation. In my experience this usually creates very few problems.
What I don't like is for a hive entrance to be exposed to full sun 1st thing in the morning as it can mean (mid summer ) that the bees are out flying and looking for nectar long before any plants have warmed up enough to produce any. Waste of their energy resources.
As for winter sun and warming....I blow hot and cold. I'd prefer them kept cold as too often on those rare warm spells they start flying and get caught out by sudden chills and fail to return to hive. IT's why I believe in landing boards at this time of year. You can watch chilled bees returning on their last legs missing entrance and hitting side of hive and dropping onto landing board ...without one they fall to the ground and die. And those are the bees we see that have managed to get back....many don't make it that far.
 #10151  by Alfred
 02 Mar 2021, 11:39
I was 50/50 on landing boards thinking that the benefits reaped would also be offered to wasps.
Some of my floors have them, some don't .
But the last two I've made have a 'half-measure' of a 3"wide sloped block under the entrance.
Wait and see....