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Trees -- Good or Bad?

Posted by plantinellen 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 18, 11 at 15:34

First of all -- I live in zone 5, in the Upper Midwest, just to give you an idea of our climate.

We are just getting started in beekeeping, and have been thinking of sites for our hives.

The place we've selected is on the eastern edge of our backyard lawn; actually a few feet over into the woods, in a little clearing about 12 feet across. (Our property is wooded on all sides, with a large sunny backyard.) To the south is a cluster of small flowering crab trees. To the north is an oak tree. (We're cutting down the little saplings and low-hanging branches in the immediate vicinity of the hives.)

This site is on a hill, high and dry, overlooking our backyard pond. One side of the hives, and the roof, should get some decent sun much of the day.

When we explained our plan ta couple of beekeepers we met at a recent conference, they exclaimed, "Oh, you're so lucky! That sounds like the perfect spot. You've got nectar and pollen from forest trees and your crabapples...you've got a windbreak...you've got water."

But during the conference other beekeepers warned about keeping hives in too shady a spot -- that that courts nosema and other bee ailments.

So we're very confused. To add to this confusion -- one of my neighbors growing up was a beekeeper, and he always kept his bee yard on a knoll right in the middle of his woodlot. He had about a dozen hives surrounded by snow fence there in the middle of the woods, year after year, presumably with no problems or not enough to move them into a sunny location. (Our hives would have significantly more sun than this.)

I'd like to hear of others' experiences with siting hives in sunny vs. partially shaded areas. Do we need to rethink our site? Are there ways we can mitigate some of the potential hazards of partially shaded hives? (I'll add that we learned about shimming our covers and otherwise increasing air circulation inside the hives, so we're on top of that.)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Trees -- Good or Bad?

In reality everything works, I know of a guy who keeps bees in a wooded
backyard, bees have to climb straight up to clear poplar trees in search
of food. Our climate is very dry....this can really help in he's situation.
I'm sure there is a drawback, a sunny location is better in our climate,
it can keep mold levels down, bees will leave the hive sooner in search
of food etc. In front, south of a wooded area is good, it gives a wind break...have fun!


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