I have two new packages I installed last month. One looks like it is going to be a strong hive and the other is struggling. Already, the strong hive is twice as large as the weaker hive. I believe the fault is mine. I think my internal feeder was dripping all over them and I didn't notice it until it was too late. The weak hive also has lots of what looks like wax flakes outside the main opening. I don't know what that's all about.
Two days ago I opened up my hives and noticed that there were a lot of ants on these hives. I saw the bees attack ants that go in the inner cover on the strong hive, but the weak hive didn't respond to every ant that went inside.
What did I do about it? I checked my two books on beekeeping. The one by Richard Taylor says to uncover the innercover opening and let the bees have access to the top and they will take care of the ants. Well, this doesn't seem to be happening, especially on the weaker hive. My other book says to make moats of oil to keep the ants away. It is amazing! It really works well. It is only cooking oil and I saw an any die almost instantly when it fell in it. It works just as good on bees. Now my weak hive is even weaker.
Any other suggestions?
If your bees are dying in the oil you might be able to put wire mesh over the moat.
When I had an ant problem I used motor oil instead of vegetable oil and the bees never touched it.
I had big ants this spring. I sprinkled cinnamon on the inner cover and borax all around the hive on the ground. Seems to have worked.