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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Jose, California, USA
    Posts
    4

    Exclamation Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Hi All! Well, I came to find a group of experienced Beeks. I have a natural beehive in my front yard, and it's HUGE! It's underground in the rootball of an 80yr. old olive tree. There's no telling how big it really is, but at night the whole area hums, and you can even feel some vibration if you are barefoot.

    When I was a toddler, my Grandfather sealed the hive, thinking he was protecting me. Fast forward 38 yrs. and the bees have come back. My family understands the importance and current problem with the demise of bee hives, so we are commited to preserving what we have.

    Until now, our biggest problems has been our neighbors, who routinely send "tips" the pest control companies. We're always getting offers to remove or exterminate the bees. The last 3 days, the hive has been under attack by ants, and we're doing our best to help the hive win.

    This is where I'm hoping to get advice, how can you win against ants? If the ants do win, will the techiniques used for beekeeping help us re-populate the hive if all is lost?

    In time I'm sure I'll learn what strain of bees we have. Their color is demure, they tolerate our presence well, but they really hate any light sources at night!

    Thanks for your time, and if you have any solutions for our ant problem, please share! We really want to keep our bees!

    Chris P. in California

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,196

    Default Re: Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Can you provide us with a photo? Typically, honeybees don't nest in the ground. Unless you are very positive that they are honeybees, a photo will help determine if in fact that is what they are. The instructions for image posting are here:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=225753
    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Jose, California, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for responding. I'm sure they are honey bees, but hey, I'm the new guy! I went out and took some photos this morning. I will post them after work when I can set up a flikR account or something.

    Ant update: We tried to make a perimeter around the hive with Orange Oil. It's stemming the flow of ants, but needs to be maintained constantly. We're trying to find that ant bait that the worker ants take back to thier hill and destroys everything.

    The bees are curious about the Orange oil, and sometimes fly right into the stream as I'm spraying. Too bad, becuase the O.I. kills the bee immediately too! I'm being as careful as possible. Chris P.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Ant poison:

    1 cup water
    1 cup sugar
    2 tbs boric acid (orchard supply "roach proof" garden dept)

    Mix it up and place in small containers along the ant trails in places unattractive to bees or covered with a screen. Over the long term it will kill the ant nest.

    And yes, in california we do sometimes have honeybees nesting in the ground or low rotten tree trunks.

    Fuzzy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    3,997

    Default Re: Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Hi Chris,
    That sounds interesting, looking forward to the pictures.
    Dan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    San Jose, California, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hi from Silicon Valley,CA. Beekeeping thrust upon me!

    Ant update: Still holding them off with the Orange Oil. This is starting to get expensive! We are doing 4 shifts a day, spread between the family, keeping a wet barrier around the tree. Some ants do get by, and I wonder how much action is going on below ground?

    I'm considering putting in a plastic barrier in the ground around the tree. I seem to remember a type of plastic that ants and spiders can't get any traction on. What I don't remember is the name right now, I'll do more research.....

    OK! I opened a Flickr account and uploaded some photos. This is my first shot at using Flickr, so here goes.....

    This is the corner of the front yard with the Olive tree, http://www.flickr.com/photos/da_ju_toe/3769227561/

    A photo of the hive entrance.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/da_ju_toe/3770026986/

    And a view as far down the entrance as I could get... http://www.flickr.com/photos/da_ju_toe/3769227723/

    Barry: Does the last photo give you enough detail to verify these are indeed Honeybees? I understand there are "Mimics" in the animal and insect world; I just don't know if anything mimics honeybees this closely. Say the word and I'll get a closeup of an individual.

    Fuzzy: Thanks for the recipe! I bought a can of the Boric Acid this morning, and I'll cook something up after work. Question; Will increasing the amount of Boric Acid decrease the time need to destroy the colony? If I add a jar of refined honey, will that increase the attraction of the ants? I tried those ant stakes, and they are either ineffective, or the ants have a one track mind about getting into the hive.

    KQ6AR: Thanks for your interest, hope you like the photos!

    Thanks again everyone.

    Chris P.

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