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How much shade?


#1

I live in southern california and my optimal location for my bees is a spot in a very shady location. Will that be okay since we do not have cold winters


#2

It depends on what the shade is coming from. I am in San Diego - coastal, and we have huge ant colonies under Eucalypts and Pepper Trees. I lost a hive to Argentine ants last year - the hive is very close to a large grouping of Eucalypts. Very bad for hives. My mentor agrees. :wink:

I have a Flow hive on a raised terrace which is covered by a pergola with bougainvillea on it. That hive has done extremely well for over 15 months. It gets morning sun, partial midday sun and shade in the late afternoon.


#3

Thank you Dawn this is very helpful. Is there any kind of organic ant barrier you can put around the base of the hive that you know of?


#4

This is what I am using at the moment - very successful. Just fill the moat with pharmaceutical grade (Vons is fine) Mineral Oil. Cheap and totally effective without pesticides:
http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/latest-ant-moat-for-2017/10744?u=dawn_sd


#5

I had some bees under a very shady spot once & they were always cranky. It was like they thought it was overcast & stormy all the time, that was my theory at the time. It may have just been a cranky hive. I think a shady spot rather than a very shady spot would be better.

I think the spot I had my bees in was bordering on extremely shady.


#6

Here in Tennessee I am using Cinnamon powder,ants don’t seem to like it doesn’t hurt the Bee’s.
I too am a newbie


#7

cough*splutter Of course Eucalypts are bad for hives. Very bad. How do us poor Australian beeks ever manage to cope? :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:


#8

If you’re in SoCal I’m guessing we have comparable weather patterns (I’m in Perth, Western Australia - so feel free to check). With what I’m about to type you need to keep in mind that north and south references are different for each of us…

  • Recommendation is for hives to get early morning sun; My hive gets midday to late afternoon sun, no early morning sun. In winter my hive only gets indirect sunlight, no direct sun
  • Recommendation is for hives to be exposed to the north (to get maximum winter sun); my hive has no northern exposure and sits on the south side of my house
  • One of the bee keeping courses I’ve done down in Margaret River (google for weather; likely cooler than you; it’s cooler than me) had the hives located under a peppermint tree with only dappled light. The area the hive was located was that cool the ground appeared to be semi-damp. I think it was located here more for protection from the wind. The consequence of shade vs sun was a secondary consideration

Now, given that I am a bit anal (do you use that expression?) before I got my hive I actually bought cheap temp and humidity data loggers from eBay and monitored 4 potential hive locations on my property over a 10mth period (only the peak of summer was missed, which I didn’t care about). Where I located my hive appeared to have good temperature stability year round and was largely shielded from the wind. Sun exposure was a secondary consideration for me (in summer we can still get 30+ degC in the shade here…).

…and in my first year I got over 40L of honey and about 8kg of honeycomb.

So, assuming the area you locate your hive in has reasonably stable temperatures, doesn’t get too damp/cold, isn’t exposed to the wind (Freo Doctor here) I wouldn’t be too concerned about the shade. This being said, if you notice your colony strength weakens you might need to reconsider your selected location. I’m guessing the biggest impact of a shady location with slightly cooler temps will be the bees using slightly more of the honey stores to keep active and maintain hive/colony temperature.

Did you have a photo of the area you are planning to place your hive? That might elicit a few other opinions…


#9

My property is mostly wooded so I have many hives throughout the forest and they do just fine. Last year, per a recommendation from the state apiarist, I stopped trapping small hive beetles and haven’t had any problem with them.


#10

It is not the eucalypts, but the ants which love to build nests underneath them. In SoCal, those can be Argentine ants, which can very quickly decimate a hive. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: