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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Strafford County, NH
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    768

    Default Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    I have one hive particularly that seems to have a lot of them. They were in the inner cover, which I took out and brought into the house, not realizing they were still in there now I have them in the house. But I'm concerned whether carpenter ants will harm the hives.

    Don't ants bring formic acid with them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    They are BIG trouble if you have BeeMax styrofoam hive top feeders as they will chew right into them to get at the syrup. Which is annoying enough if they make their hole in the rim, but the feeder is toast if they bore through the base and sides. I had thought that painting the feeder might deter them, but I've been told that it doesn't. I'm still going to try it, though.

    Carpenter ants tend to like high humidity so you may be getting a clue about the environmental conditions in your hive.- But then it's August in New England, so whatcha gonna do?

    Otherwise I doubt the bees would tolerate much honey-robbing if that's what the ants have in mind. I moved my hives last year partly to get them away from my 19th century timber frame barns.

    Borate treatments for ants are bad news if done around your bees.

    If only the yellow jackets would predate the ants and not my bees!

    Enj.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    I don't know if it is practical for the location or number of your hives, but a sprinkle of a good quality cinnamon spice on the inner cover (hole covered so bees can't access) and around the hive base solved my ant problem pronto. Have to refresh occasionally.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    They will overrun a weak hive or nuc and the bees will abscond. I've had it happen numerous times and it will happen overnight. I keep amdro out around my hives all summer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,693

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbeeInNH View Post
    But I'm concerned whether carpenter ants will harm the hives.
    First of all, how do you know that they are carpenter ants?
    Secondly, I have seen plenty of ants and eggs on inner covers which appear to not be causing anyone any harm, not even the woodenware.
    Dump them on the ground and after doing that a couple of times they seem to get the idea.
    Thirdly, those you took in the house are not likely to establish a colony there. Vacuum them up if you haven't already.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    First of all, how do you know that they are carpenter ants?
    I thought carpenter ants were fairly easy to identify: those big black carpenter ant looking things.

    http://inspectapedia.com/structure/C...s014-DJFcs.jpg

    I've had them in the house before - usually they have arrived in the kitchen in springtime. I would put out the liquid ant poison around where they were, they'd all crowd around it, and then they'd be gone. But when I got chickens that roamed the property, the carpenter ant problem seemed to go away. We have a lot of woods here, and decaying trees.

    I noticed a small hole chewed through one spot in my hive too, and I thought maybe some foreign bees were trying to get into the hive, but now I realize it was probably a road for the ants.

    They seem to be hiding in the crevices of the inner cover. I think I'll sprinkle cinnamon around the top edges of the boxes, and a ring around the bottom of the hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Marietta, Ohio USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    I had a similar problem with two of my hives earlier this summer. They were congregating on the inner cover and even brought their queen along to establish a colony.

    I researched this web site and found the cinnamon on the inner cover suggestion and greasing the legs of your hive stand. Did both of these as well as buying some outdoor ant traps
    that had holes too small for bees to enter placed under each hive. I don't know which one works or if it was me continually removing the cover and dumping and stomping on the ants.

    Bottom line, ants gone. Then the little ants moved in and had to start all over again.

    Good luck with your quest.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    336

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Actually field ants and carpenter ants look alike and it takes a bug dude and a magnifying glass (found one that would work for beer LOL) to tell em apart. I'm in field ant central and if they get too bad, I'll treat around the hives (carefully and at nite) with ortho's home defense, same way for the house.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,816

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Carpenter ants live in rotten wood. If you see a constant flow of carpenter ants in your house you have rotten wood somewhere and that usually means you have a leak. Never worry about the ants you have in your house. Worry about the water damage that they found.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Interesting, Acebird. Altho the hives didn't have rotten wood in them and they seem to like it there. But that could well explain why we saw carpenter ants in the kitchen in the spring - high soggy time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,816

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    You can see carpenter ants around any damp wood but you won't see a colony. They are not like termites.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    698

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    I've done several cutouts from fallen trees where there were more carpenter ants than there were bees. They seem to live in harmony in the tree. Finding them in a hive would worry me about the woodenware. And by carpenter ants I mean the big, completely black ants.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
    Facebook

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,379

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    You can see carpenter ants around any damp wood but you won't see a colony. They are not like termites.


    Here is what Penn State Entomology Department says about that ...

    Carpenter ants and termites are social insects that live in colonies and excavate wood. Because of this, homeowners may mistake one for the other. It is important to distinguish between the two because each requires different methods of control.

    Click the link for the full details:
    http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/carpenter-ants
    Graham
    --- HVAC design via ESP ... Who'd a thunk it ...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    As mentioned, ants love moisture therein lies the reason they are on the inner covers. I just raise the front of the top cover and rest it on the front of the inner cover, allowing air to flow freely from the inner covers center slot out through the top and the ants will leave. Works well for my hives. No cinnamon, no oil, no grease, etc. just raise the top so that there is an air current flowing from the bottom entrance through to the top openings. OMTCW

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Hill View Post
    As mentioned, ants love moisture therein lies the reason they are on the inner covers. I just raise the front of the top cover and rest it on the front of the inner cover, allowing air to flow freely from the inner covers center slot out through the top and the ants will leave. Works well for my hives. No cinnamon, no oil, no grease, etc. just raise the top so that there is an air current flowing from the bottom entrance through to the top openings. OMTCW
    I fed the hives syrup last week and I think that's what attracted the carpenter ants. They don't have syrup anymore but it does tend to drip onto the wood. I'd try propping the lid, but not during potential robbing time (altho goldenrod is doing well now, so probably less of a threat).

    Many negatives to feeding syrup...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,954

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    This is a carpenter ant colony on the top of a feeder board on a beehive at my cabin in a redwood forest, 94062. I have spent thousands of dollars repairing dry rot and carpenter ant problems in my cabin. Dursban used to be a good pesticide to kill them, but it was made illegal. I think it was found to possibly cause birth defects.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Odfrank. There wouldn't probably be any ants if you removed the deep super surrounding your feeder bottles. Many commercial beekeepers just leave the bottles out in the open above the inner cover. My inner covers are made of white plastic, no rot ever, so leaving a gallon jar "mayonnaise jar type" feeder exposed to the weather at the inner cover hole works well. No moisture, no ants. OMTCW

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Columbus, Oh
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    I've had the larger ants (carpenter or field?) tear up styrofoam with lots of tunneling. They laughed at cinnamon. I ended up shaking the ants out of any foam and replacing most with wood. I still use the styrofoam, but very selectively. I was going to try Boric Acid on ant pathways and places were bees would not be, but ants would. I never tried it as the 'manual' solution worked.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,523

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    Like Mark, I've had them nest on inner covers before. Dumping them on the ground after I ran my hive tool over them a few times takes care of them and they don't return. I've never seen them do any damage to my hives.

    Ace, Carpenter ants do live in rotten damp wood. I've had many a repairs on homes due to wet rotten wood that had carpenter ants nesting in it. I can send you some pictures if you would like.
    Regards, Barry

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    768

    Default Re: Are carpenter ants a nuisance or big trouble?

    The thing I like about "hiding" the feeder jars in an empty super is that I would *imagine* they would attract less attention from robber bees, esp. this time of year. Otherwise, I'd keep my feeder jars in the open too. For now, the ants in there don't have access to the hive through the feeder hole since it's plugged by the syrup jar. So if they want to have a party in the inner cover with no access to the rest of the hive, I guess that's not too bad. It'll be over soon.

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