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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    41

    Default Large Black Ants

    Hey all,

    I am a first year beekeeper and got a double nuc with strong queen this spring. I installed it one 10 frame deep and one shallow (that is what I was given and had no $ to make or buy boxes.) I then made two mediums and put them on as the bees drew comb. So the hive has one 10 frame deep + 2 9 frame mediums (one with all the comb drawn and one with foundationless frames I put on today) and one 9 frame shallow with all frames drawn. The shallow is on top and then inner cover and telescoping outer cover.

    I saw some large black ants on top of the inner cover and tried to kill all I could. The bees got rather "agitated" and let me know it. I did not see any ants in the frames or other supers. I did not remove any frames from the deep as I am afraid of rolling the queen. I have not seen her since I hived the nuc but the bees are acting normal and I don't see any queen cells on the frames of the shallow or two mediums.

    My hive stand stand has 4 2' legs made of a 4x4 and 2x4's nailed to them for the hive to rest on. I have a SBB.

    If I have done something stupid let me know. It's my first year and I have a thick skin. Also, I REALLY need these bees to do well as I have no money to get more if they abscond or die.

    2 questions:

    What do I do about the ants? Is there a way to keep them out of the hive?

    When do I pull frames of honey to harvest? Is it too early to do so now? I live in SE Virginia zone 8a and I know clover and dandelions are blooming and the bees are pulling in pollen left and right. Some pale yellow some bright orange and some bright yellow.

    Thank you!

    Brent

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    I often find ants above the inner cover where they seem to be using the heat of the hive to incubate their eggs. They stay out of the hive so I just dump them on the ground when inspecting and don't worry about them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bartow, Georiga, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    I had a few in my hive also, if they got into the hive the bees would carry them off but I sprinkled ground cinnimon on the inner cover and that seemed to take care of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Thanks JD. I have never seen ants in my yard like these before. How do you feed your bees? I had dry sugar on the inner cover and am thinking this is not so good due to the ants. Your thoughts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Thanks Claudia. I'll try the cinnamon. I asked JD as well, but how do you feed your bees and keep the ants away at the same time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Strange View Post
    Thanks Claudia. I'll try the cinnamon. I asked JD as well, but how do you feed your bees and keep the ants away at the same time?
    I was told to use old canola oil in containers that the legs of the stand are placed in. So far so good for me. I even added cinnamon around the containers for a backup.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,197

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Black carpenter ants will not hurt your bees. They like to nest on top of inner covers, but nothing beyond that. I too simply fling them into the air when I see them or smash a few as well. They will eventually set up house somewhere else. I've rarely seen one down inside the hive. If you make sure the bees can access the space between the inner cover and outer cover, you won't see the ants there.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Brent, I use frame feeders or bulk feed with drums. Most of my inner covers don't have feeder holes so the only thing for the ants up there is a warm dry place for a nursery. I see more eggs than adults. In your case they are probably attracted to the sugar.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    I have Rasberry ants here in Deer Park, have been using tanglefoot on the hive legs. Keeps me busy renewing the stuff. The ants bridge the TF with bodies and get across. Trouble only with my TBH, the nearby Lang is no problem. Go figure.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Thanks Barry. I looked in the hive yesterday and did not see any on the inner cover.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Thanks! I'll try to pick up some more cinnamon today!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    602

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    I did a cut out of a fallen tree yesterday and there were as many carpenter ants as there were bees. I was shocked that they were living together harmoniously. The ant nest was directly above all the honey comb.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

    Default Re: Large Black Ants

    Brent, you can use a hive top feeder to keep the feed sealed in the top of the hive. I built my own a couple weeks ago works great. I built the fatbeeman one, and it totally keeps the bees contained so you can refill and check them out without opening the top of the hive. If you had an 8 frame, i'd send you the first one I built as it's a little rough but nothing wrong with it functionally.

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