Colonies must not get too hot. If the colony temperature is becoming high then foragers will be busy collecting water, to reduce the nest temperature, rather than nectar or pollen. Edition 27 of BfD Journal explained the importance of water for bees.
In very sunny conditions, colonies protected by solid shade can produce 50% more honey than colonies exposed to the sun. Beekeepers therefore obtain greater honey harvests by providing nearby water sources and protecting colonies from too much heat.
In hot climates wild-nesting colonies always choose a shady spot for their nest near to a water supply. The easiest way to protect colonies in hives from the sun is if possible, to place them under shade trees in a green grassy area. If no shade trees are available then artificial shades must be constructed.
The roof of the shade should be high enough to allow the beekeeper to work amongst the hives. If a large number of hives are to be shaded and a long shade is to be constructed, then it should run east-west to give maximum benefit.
KEEPING HIVES COOL
Colonies also receive heat radiating from the ground. Reduce this effect by siting the hives on grass or other green vegetation, or placing mats under the hives. Hives can also be painted white or a light colour to reflect heat. rather than absorb it.
And always make sure that your bees have a plentiful water supply, as near as possible.
First published in Bees for Development Journal 31