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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Do ants leave a smell in a hive?

    I've lost a few swarms because ants get in to the hives and I think the bees just lose patience and move on.

    I had a huge swarm leave recently and they had started to build comb on the strips of foundation I put in the frames. I tried to hive another swarm in the box without airing it out and they really didn't seem to want to go in.

    Eventually I took out all the frames and the swarm, somewhat reluctantly, moved in to the empty box.

    Had the ants left formaldehyde smelling footprints all over the combs? If I leave them in the open air for a few hours will the smell dissipate? Or am I just getting paranoid? :confused:

    Remember - Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get you!
    http://bees-on-the-net.com/bs
    Bees give me a buzz!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    3,721

    Default

    It's an interesting question. Some beekeepers have a lot of problems with ants from what I have read here. So far I haven't, although a few very small ants have been on top of one of my hives inner cover and laying eggs. The bees have been propolizing the inner cover so that it sticks to the top cover. I don't think it is going to be formaldehyde that may be a problem but formic acid. Ants belong in the family, FORMICIDAE so they may produce a form of formic acid that may be irritating to the bees. Wish I knew more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Formaldehyde/Formic Acid

    Thanks Oldbee I'm sure you're right.
    Actually neither of those were the 'F' words I wanted to use. :mad:
    Last edited by geoffkb; 06-07-2008 at 08:56 AM.
    http://bees-on-the-net.com/bs
    Bees give me a buzz!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default

    Ants leave a trail of formic acid, like a trail of bread crumbs, so they can find their way back.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    Default

    There are quite a few threads on Beesource dealing with ants around/in the hives. I will be putting some borax/grape jelly around and something on the hive supports myself. It is interesting that formic acid is used to treat for mites. Airing the boxes out seems like a good idea if it works.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default

    I didn't want to hijack this thread so I started a new Ant Questions thread in the TBH section.
    Let me know if you have an answer to my questions.
    "I need a big time primer on this issue. How do ants bother bees? I really don't know. I have a sort of an inner cover on a couple of top bar hives and often I have ants building on these. I just shake them off when I check on the bees and they start rebuilding right away. Do they get in the hive? Do they steal honey? Kill or bother bees? Formic acid smell? Other? ...???

    I have not seen ants getting in the hive, mostly they stick to the outside. Since I don't treat for mites I was hoping the formic acid left by ants might even help somewhat. (But that might be just superstition and wishful thinking on my part.)"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbee View Post
    It's an interesting question. Some beekeepers have a lot of problems with ants from what I have read here. So far I haven't, although a few very small ants have been on top of one of my hives inner cover and laying eggs. The bees have been propolizing the inner cover so that it sticks to the top cover. I don't think it is going to be formaldehyde that may be a problem but formic acid. Ants belong in the family, FORMICIDAE so they may produce a form of formic acid that may be irritating to the bees. Wish I knew more.
    Ants do produce formic acid.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile ants

    first let me say i don't know if ants leave a smell that bothers bees. i have never heard of any such problem before. my suggestion would be to try and cover up any posible smell with another- vanilla, lemon grass oil, pledge, swarm lure,etc. good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    "first let me say i don't know if ants leave a smell that bothers bees. i have never heard of such a problem before".

    second let me say: I don't know if we can ever "know" how ants, bees, cockroaches,...dogs [bloodhounds] can "detect" a certain odor. I think it is one of the most extraordinary "talents" [and sight] of those species that we consider,......."below us". It seems they can detect odors by the molecule here and there, with antennae a few millimeters long in some cases.

    Of course, bees have lived in trees and other places where ants may be prevalent and survived quite well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Default

    geoffkb, are you moving the swarms from where you find/catch them? It could help.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile talents

    "talents" [and sight] of those species that we consider,......."below us". It seems they can detect odors by the molecule here and there, with antennae a few millimeters long in some cases." i'm hopig for a radioactive spider to give me that "spider sense" forgive me, i know you were serios and the wonders of nature are one of the proofs of God in my opinion but i just watched spiderman 3 with the nieces and couldnt help myself
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Am I moving them?

    dcross. Yes I collected them from a distance away and brought them home.

    I thought if I left the frames out for a while they might lose any 'smell'. Yesterday I used some of the frames in a nuc to capture another swarm and brought it home. Today I looked out of the window to see a swarm alighting on a magnolia. I went and checked the two nucs I have here and the one with the 'smelly' frames was empty.

    I replaced the frames with some others and re-hived the swarm in the same box. I bet they'll stay there.
    http://bees-on-the-net.com/bs
    Bees give me a buzz!

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