June 2019 Introduction and a few fun facts: I got more honey out of this hive than any single hive I’ve ever had. This hive was set up in a wooded area under a big ole spruce tree where it got maybe three hours of sunlight a day, about two hours in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon. The rest of the time it was in the shade. Many people believe that honey bee colonies do better when their hives are in full sunlight, and they probably do, but a colony with a healthy robust queen under any conditions can put up a pretty good fight. To anyone who has been discouraged from getting into beekeeping because they can’t keep their hives in full sunlight, don’t.
The bees in one of my hives are making the thickest combs of honey I’ve ever seen.
I usually put 10 frames in a honey super, but I had to knock that down to 8 frames just to make room for the ridiculously thick honey comb these bees are building.
One of my colonies — from a hive that’s in direct sunlight most of the day — swarmed two days ago and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t these bees that swarmed. Thankfully, no, it wasn’t. The hive is packed with bees and they’re making honey and building natural comb like it’s going out of style. I couldn’t be more pleased.
I have a strong, healthy colony that shows no signs of swarming and has already made more honey than I harvested from all of my colonies last year. (I just need to give them another week or two to cap it.)
I’ll be honest: The bees rarely do what I’d like them to do. But these bees are doing everything just right. I am in awe.
Part two, Thick Combs of Honey (Slight Return), has video footage of all this that inadvertently shows how the hive is in the shade, sort of.
June 2019 Postscript: I don’t seem to have many photos of this particular hive, but I did find this one which I think is a photo of the hive in question. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but close enough.
The hive was set up under a spruce tree, or several spruce trees. Only the front of the hive got any sunlight. There was a growth of small spruce trees and some hardwood trees on the front side that blocked the sun for most of the day, with a clearing slightly on the left that provided the hive with morning sun for a couple hours and a another clearing on the far right that gave it a another hit of dappled sunlight through branches and leaves for about an hour around supper time. Although the hive was surrounded by trees and was in the shade most of the day, it usually felt warm, almost like the heat that comes off a bog, and sheltered. I’m tempted to set up another hive at that location, even though it isn’t convenient for me.