The Perth summer has well and truly settled in now, with a couple of week-long periods of daytime temps sitting above 36OC.
Whilst we know many beekeepers just plonk their hives in the middle of farmland, with no shelter from the sun or other elements, we were pretty worried about our girls and decided to provide them with more protection.
First up, we planted a nice thick Woolly Bush (Adenanthos sericeus), a beautifully soft foliaged native small tree. With this in place, we were now blocking most of the very hot afternoon sun from hitting the Western side of the hive.
Whilst the Woolly Bush helped, we had a week-long high 30’s/low 40’s forecast for the Christmas and New Year period, during which we’d be away on holidays on unable to keep an eye on the hive. So our second, and so far a successful plan was to install a removable shade cover over the hive.
Luckily for us, our hive abutted our shed wall so, after a quick trip to Bunnings for some 3/4″ galvanized pipe fittings, I bolted a pair of thread cups/plates to the shed. From these, I inserted a length of pipe to an elbow and another length of pipe, with shade cloth cable tied between the two pipes.
This arrangement seems to be working well. The bees seem to be bearding less, although they still do beard when it’s hot. When I need to access the hive I simply cut the cable ties along the front side and fold the shade cloth back. Note, when I get a chance I’ll look to make the shade cloth clip to the pipes somehow, removing the need for cable ties.
And when it cools down, I can simply unscrew the horizontal pipe sections from the wall plates and store the shade parts in the shed.