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How much shade?

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

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.

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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?

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:

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.


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

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:

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…

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.

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: