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Thread: Tiny Red Ants

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Tiny Red Ants

    I seen some little tiny red ants crawling on my hive today. Normally they don't go near the hive but travel right beside it.

    I have looked and looked and tried to follow the ants to where they were going but to no avail as they disappear into the grasses and such so that it makes them really hard to follow.

    I had poured some honey out on a rock one time to empty a feeding apparatus that was set up for them and these same little red and swarmed in and started gathering it.

    While there isn't a huge amount per se on my hive I don't want it to turn into a problem. One thing is that I don't even know what kind of ant they are. The only way to describe them are red and about 3/32 of an inch in length.

    Are bees really sensitive to ants or will they defend their hive against them? How do they defend their hive? Are the ants going to be a problem.

    I have some ant stop which is supposed to kill the ants so I boxed in the hive with a line of it. After thinking about it for a little while I decided that it wasn't such a good idea and washed the powder away with about 40 liters of water. It was in the evening so the bees weren't moving all that much.

    Please advise, it is the only hive I have until I can make a split in January or February.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    Ants can overrun a hive, and cause the girls to abscond. In my area, "tiny red ants" means Fire Ants, and they are terrible. I have seen them knock out a strong hive in under 7 days.

    Keep the grass around the hives knocked down so there is not a "bridge" to the hives and stands.

    Some people have luck with powdered Borax sprinkled around the hives as an ant deterrent. Granulated ant poison will help the ants, and the bees will ignore it.

    GL
    Summer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    West Richland, Washignton USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    Its interesting how red ants mean different things to others in different parts of the country. Here in Washington state, red ants are just that. ants that are red. Very different from fire ants down south. My hives are not bothered one bit by the red ants that we have. Black surgar ants are another thing. That being said, I have seen red ants doing clean up work under the hive. Maybe its just the difference in climates.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    Thanks people

    Going to try the borax thing if what I did today wasn't effective.

    I was down on all fours like a tracking dog today following the little red ants over and under every blade of grass until I came to this little tiny hole in the ground where they were going in and out of.

    After some studying it looks like the ants are going for the wax more than for the honey. I still want to destroy them though.

    Since I found their hole (I hope) I moved all the rocks near their nest and broke up as much of the dirt as I could... I then put in some powdered ant killer.

    Usually I am against this kind of stuff, I'd really rather not use it but I have no other options right now. It is my only hive until early next year so I have to protect it.

    Since the little anthill was about 20 meters away from the hive I put a couple lines of the powder across their trail leading to the hive too.

    I don't think they are fire ants because they don't go all crazy when you stir up their nest. As far as I know this is what fire ants are commonly known for. However these little ants invade in huge numbers and since they are so small and fast it must be hard for the bees to deal with them. They do seem annoyed that they are on and in the hive.

    I have to change my top cover tomorrow too as it doesn't seat down very nicely on the super and after some observation it seems that the little slits were an access point that made it hard for the bees to protect their hive.

    I also threw a bucket of water down below the hive again to wash away any ants and ant scents that were down there and give the bees a break from the constant stream of ants coming in.

    After about an hour it was getting dark and I checked on the hive. The ants had considerably slowed down or stopped after the treatment... Hopefully it will last... I may do the borax thing just for safeguard.

    I put my ear up against the hive as well to listen to the hive and they bees seemed more calm.

    At least they might get a good nights sleep!
    Last edited by Cactii; 09-29-2009 at 01:12 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    The most common ant that pester my hives are Argentinean ants. They seem more of a nuisance than a threat. I have controlled them by placing ant traps under the hive, they will scavenge the bait and take it back to the colony. I have also used rock salt around the hive ants hate the stuff and it has a side benefit, it keeps the grass down.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    Fire ants are also called that because the stings literally feel like a fire burn. I mentioned them to Cactii, after noting her location in Mexico -- I thought them to be a possibility where she is.

    Yes, I have seen little black sugar ants. They hang out under my hummingbird feeders. But they are not much of an issue.

    People read about fire ants, and think: big deal. Ants are ants, right? But they have really changed the ecosystem. Meadowlarks, scissor tails, quail, partridge and other ground nesting birds have all taken a serious blow to their populations. Copperhead snakes have decreased dramatically. (Not a bad thing, IMHO) Earthworms are totally non existent in my garden. The ants get them.

    Fire ants share a lot of traits with the AHB. In and of themselves, they are not necessarily a bad thing. They do have some (if very few) good traits. Fire ants clean up a frame with wax moths or SHB in nothing flat. AHB clean out wasp nests. But they are both so hyper defensive that they are offensive. And you change the way you do business to stay a step ahead of them.

    Really kind of interesting, I think. I sorta wish I did not need to worry about fire ants, et al. On the other hand, I really like the fact that after 40 years, my snowblower (from Denver) is now retired and holding up my mailbox! If I get a freeze warning it lasts hours, not months.


    Summer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Chambersburg, PA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    If the "ant stop" doesn't stop them, try pouring a pan of boiling water on their hole and on the area around it.

    I can't comment on the ants that you have in Mexico, but here in Pennsylvania we red ants that are nearly as small as varroa mites. When you first see them crawling on the mite board, you can easily mistake them for mites. However, they move very differently and, if you inspect them closely, the body segments will be clearly visible.. They seem to be more of a pest than an risk, but could become a factor in a weak hive.

    I had plenty of experience with fire ants in Floirda. I wouldn't describe them as tiny. My usual treatment for fire ants was gasoline and fire...



    Quote Originally Posted by Cactii View Post
    I seen some little tiny red ants crawling on my hive today. Normally they don't go near the hive but travel right beside it.

    I have looked and looked and tried to follow the ants to where they were going but to no avail as they disappear into the grasses and such so that it makes them really hard to follow.

    I had poured some honey out on a rock one time to empty a feeding apparatus that was set up for them and these same little red and swarmed in and started gathering it.

    While there isn't a huge amount per se on my hive I don't want it to turn into a problem. One thing is that I don't even know what kind of ant they are. The only way to describe them are red and about 3/32 of an inch in length.

    Are bees really sensitive to ants or will they defend their hive against them? How do they defend their hive? Are the ants going to be a problem.

    I have some ant stop which is supposed to kill the ants so I boxed in the hive with a line of it. After thinking about it for a little while I decided that it wasn't such a good idea and washed the powder away with about 40 liters of water. It was in the evening so the bees weren't moving all that much.

    Please advise, it is the only hive I have until I can make a split in January or February.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    Try sprinkling cinnamon on your bottom board and inner cover. Ants don't like cinnamon, also make sure that if you are feeding no sugar falls under the hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,366

    Default Re: Tiny Red Ants

    I've tried it all, nothing works for long. I finally had to resort to this. My hives have been ant free ever since.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...oof+hive+stand
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

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