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Hive entrance design - morning sun


Does anyone know what it is about morning sun that gets the bees up and going? Is it warmth or light or both?

I’m considering painting a black strip above the hive entrance to maximise warming in the morning (I’m in Australia, so can’t paint the whole hive black due to the heat).

I’m also considering whether to make the bottom board out of clear acrylic sheet to get light into the bottom of the hive.

Any thoughts? Anyone played around with these kind of ideas?


Warmth. Warm bees are active bees.


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You might want to try a screened bottom board for light and ventilation.


This is interesting, not trying to hijack your thread. I have kind of wondered myself how a screen bottom might affect the hive by letting light in. Seems like everything I see/read is that the bees like it dark, and this light may not be a welcome addition to the brood chamber. Has anyone seen any measurable difference in hives with a screen bottom vs solid bottoms in terms of frame utilization?

Some Youtube videos I have seen of frames being pulled out of the hives have the honey/brood around the outside and top of the frame with the bottom/middle being avoided. And I wondered if those hives might have had a screen bottom so the areas exposed to light were being avoided.


I have listened to varied opinions about screened vs solid bottom boards. The queen shuns light but worker bees forage in the hot sun. This summer I have 3 screened bottom hives and 3 solid bottoms to compare. Our summers in NC, USA are hot and humid and screened bottom boards provide ventilation. However, bees can push our small hive beetles better with a solid bottom. I do not advice using any plastic bottom boards as too much moisture in a hive is deadly to bees. I would base your choice of bottom boards on climate, temperature range, pest management, and what your local experienced beekeepers recommend. By the way, it is light that motivates the bees to forage early and to be more productive.:sunny:️:sunflower::honeybee:


Thanks for the responses. My hive will struggle to get early morning sun as I’m in an urban area and can’t find a site on my plot that gets it. I’m trying to think up ways to improve on that.

I’m in Perth and our climate is dry and hot, but I take your point regarding humidity with plastic. We don’t have small hive beetles or varroa yet but it’d be interesting to know how the screened bottoms affect the bees. I look forward to hearing about your trial Gayle.

What are the best ways to provide ventilation for hot, dry weather?


Bees are very good at ventilating the hive without too much intervention from us, once the hive begins to really heat up, you’ll see bees exit the hive and congregate on the outside (bearding), others will be at the entrance fanning air in and out of the hive to keep it cool. I use ventilated lids and found that the bees propolised up the vents so I have given up. On the really hot days put an extra roof to help shield the hottest sun, I use a beach umbrella and it works a treat.


The best way to increase air circulation in hot weather is a screen inner cover and the screened bottom board. I usually use both in the summer months. For the hives I am experimenting on with solid bottoms, I have screened inner covers but might need to lift the top cover a bit to help them out. Also, set up a source of water for your bees. They use water to cool the hive and for the honey. I could be anything from a shallow pan to a bird bath. Fill it with pebbles, lava rock, marbles, or what suits you so they don’t drown. During honey production you will find it drained by the end of the day. You will need to keep it full. I noted that you are in an urban setting. Will there be reflected heat from pavement, brick, or concrete?
*The humidity in a hive causes mold to grow that is not good for the bees.


I’m planning to put the hives on a tin roof, so it could get pretty hot on 40ºC days. It will get dappled shade from a tree in the middle of the day and I’m planning to put insulation on the cover over summer.

I need to design my water supply carefully. We get mosquitoes in any standing water in the warmer months. I was thinking of using sand in the water supply to combat this fed from a sealed vessel. It’s useful to know that I’ll need to check it daily - I was wondering how quickly they go through the water.

I was planning on putting the water supply adjacent to the hive but I read somewhere that it should be further away, any thoughts?


I’ve seen a description of using buckets with holes drilled around the top a few centimetres below the rim and with a wooden block floating in the water. This means that no mater what the water level is the bees have access from the floating block. Needs to be cleaned regularly.


Try a chicken waterer with gravel in the trough. Any livestock/feed store will stock them.


Hi Dunc, the water doesn’t need to be on the roof with the bees, just nearby, they should find it.


Thanks for the help all.


This is my bee pond I set up for the girls. I don’t remember the name of the water lily but it is the world’s smallest. The Horsetail fern has over wintered for 5 years now. There are geodes in the water too for the bees to hold onto. The pond is 7 years old now and has developed its own eco-system with snails. I have no idea where they came from. Surprisingly mosquito larva does not develop in it. Maybe the snails eat the larva? During honey flow I had to fill it twice a day when I had 2 hives. This year I have 5 hives and they are draining it quicker. The flow in on!!!

Water supply ideas

That’s sooooo pretty. We have large (cattle) ponds and a seasonal creek so I just leave them to it. The bee yard is several acres away so hauling water would be a headache.


Very Jealous!!! … :no_mouth:


That’s fantastic, I imagine the fairies in the garden love it too. I love the water lily. I think I’m going to start another thread so people can put up their water supply pics and ideas.