Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i see ants. I see ants occupying the area in and around my hives in the apiary.

Is it a risk to place these ant traps near the hives?

I am concerned that the bees and ants might feed each other if that happens. I know that can happen with SHB.

Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
700 Posts
I have used them under my hives (which are on pallets) without issue. YMMV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
Fipronil is used in some ant baits. If the ants ingest it or carry some back to the hive it could possibly be spread just by contact with honeybees. I have some ant bait for carpenter ants that contain fipronil, I do not use it on ants around beehives.
I noticed the ants feed on the residue of the hive and I had several hives that had black ants with a nest in the top cover. But they do not seem to bother the bees and stay separated, They just seem to harvest dead bees and bee parts along with stuff that ends up on the floor of the hive. They may steal some honey but I have not noticed any great damage to the comb.
Here is a study abstract on fipronil and honeybees:
.
Terro Ant Bait uses borax, but it uses a sugar syrup to attract the ants. That may attract some bees as well. I do not know.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Fipronil is used in some ant baits. If the ants ingest it or carry some back to the hive it could possibly be spread just by contact with honeybees. I have some ant bait for carpenter ants that contain fipronil, I do not use it on ants around beehives.
I noticed the ants feed on the residue of the hive and I had several hives that had black ants with a nest in the top cover. But they do not seem to bother the bees and stay separated, They just seem to harvest dead bees and bee parts along with stuff that ends up on the floor of the hive. They may steal some honey but I have not noticed any great damage to the comb.
Here is a study abstract on fipronil and honeybees:
.
Terro Ant Bait uses borax, but it uses a sugar syrup to attract the ants. That may attract some bees as well. I do not know.
Fipronil is an insect killer. I thought I could use it to control small hive beetles using a beetle barn. I was successful for 2 years and killed a lot of SHB. I was meticulous not to cross-contaminate anything...But one year I had a massive bee kill and it could only be the fipronil. I stay away from that and learned my lesso.

The ant bait I have is a formulation of boric acid in sugar syrup... I still do not know to what extent trophylaxis occurs between different insects as we see with SHB.....do want to kill bees at this time of year. Still, any of this stuff makes me nervous.
 

·
Registered
Two 8-frame Langstroth hives
Joined
·
218 Posts
I bet that once we destroy the planet either with a nuclear war or climate change, it’s ants and ****roaches that will survive. Nothing I tried to control ants worked. The pest guy that comes to treat for termites applied some heavy duty chemical, Hydramethylnon, to target the species of ants I have. Didn’t work.

I used to grease the legs of the hive stand which works for a few months, but eventullay the ants will find a bridge.

I don’t worry about ants anymore. At least not the species I happen to have here. They seem to co exist with the bees without being too much of nuisance. I never saw ants on the comb or honey, and they are more likely to be inside the hive when I am feeding.

(wow.... I noticed the first four letters of ****roaches gets automatically bleeped :rolleyes:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I prefer to use equal parts borax, jelly and water in a small tuperware container with 1/8" holes in it. Preferably on the ant hill, but if you can't find it just put it on the ant trail...
Hi Michael. What i am concerned about is what I cant see and tropholaxis between ant and bee. Does this even occur?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I bet that once we destroy the planet either with a nuclear war or climate change, it’s ants and ****roaches that will survive. Nothing I tried to control ants worked. The pest guy that comes to treat for termites applied some heavy duty chemical, Hydramethylnon, to target the species of ants I have. Didn’t work.

I used to grease the legs of the hive stand which works for a few months, but eventullay the ants will find a bridge.

I don’t worry about ants anymore. At least not the species I happen to have here. They seem to co exist with the bees without being too much of nuisance. I never saw ants on the comb or honey, and they are more likely to be inside the hive when I am feeding.

(wow.... I noticed the first four letters of ****roaches gets automatically bleeped :rolleyes:)
Nothing i have used has ever worked as well. But i see ants on the ipm board, in the feeder/vent shim....
 

·
Registered
Two 8-frame Langstroth hives
Joined
·
218 Posts
Yes I see ants there too occasionally. But never on brood or honey frames. Not once, and I inspect hives very often. I suspect that ants clean up some debris and pollen that falls off, so they may actually be ‘beneficial’.... though I definitely won’t be encouraging them ;)
When I feed I do so with syrup and they clean up any spills, even if I’m careful not to have any.
I guess they’d be a problem if you are feeding dry sugar.
Have you tried grease on the hive legs? When I maintained that it was probably the most successful strategy of all. I used machine grease that won’t dry out and it is best done on upside down cups between the legs and the hive so it won’t get covered with dust or sand and ants walk over it. Similar to this:

61455
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes I see ants there too occasionally. But never on brood or honey frames. Not once, and I inspect hives very often. I suspect that ants clean up some debris and pollen that falls off, so they may actually be ‘beneficial’.... though I definitely won’t be encouraging them ;)
When I feed I do so with syrup and they clean up any spills, even if I’m careful not to have any.
I guess they’d be a problem if you are feeding dry sugar.
Have you tried grease on the hive legs? When I maintained that it was probably the most successful strategy of all. I used machine grease that won’t dry out and it is best done on upside down cups between the legs and the hive so it won’t get covered with dust or sand and ants walk over it. Similar to this:

View attachment 61455
My apiary is setup differently. I use warm way bases But you have given me an idea to try this springtime!!!
61456

oldish picture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Just a thought. Maybe ants are a non-issue for a strong hive, but if it is weak or failing it could be another matter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Just a thought. Maybe ants are a non-issue for a strong hive, but if it is weak or failing it could be another matter?
Where I'm at in central AL, I have to use the grease cups. If I don't, I'd never be able to make splits or nurse a weaker hive back to health.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
534 Posts
Amdro works great at taking out ant colonies. Terro liquid ant baits are great for taking out ant colonies raiding food sources. Even with great results from these I get the more than occasional ant nest on top of the inner cover. Cheap non-chlorinated brake cleaner spray is an excellent product to take out ant nests on the inner covers and where they burrow into the wood. Non-chlorinate brake cleaner evaporates VERY quickly and leave NO residue. Of course some care and common sense must be applied when using it so as not to get it on the bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
i see ants. I see ants occupying the area in and around my hives in the apiary.

Is it a risk to place these ant traps near the hives?

I am concerned that the bees and ants might feed each other if that happens. I know that can happen with SHB.

Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Determine if the ants are a problem or not before you try to get rid of them.
I usually only kill ants if they are causing problems (or if they are fire ants).
Ants have an important role in the ecosystem, so should not be bothered unless they are damaging property, or if they are harming your bees or your pets or kids.

If I determine the ants are a problem (such as carpenter ants in the house or in my wooden hives), then I follow the trail of ants back to where they originate (their nest). Once I locate the nest, I sprinkle about 2 to 3 cups of slow cooking Quaker Grits on the ground around the ant nest. About 2 - 3 weeks later, the ants are gone and the nest is dead. The grits do not cause any other problems (that I am aware of). They are inexpensive, nontoxic to pets, children and most wildlife, do not bother the bees, and a 5 Lb. bag can be placed in a 1 or 2 gallon ziplock bag and stored in the freezer until it's needed.

This solution usually works for ants that are at least 1/2" long. The much smaller varieties of ants (tiny sugar ants) cannot carry the Grits into their nest, so it doesn't work on them. For the tiny ants (1/4" long or smaller) you need to use the poisoned bait traps - usually the ones where you put a drop of the sticky liquid poison on a little piece of cardboard or plastic card and afix it in a safe inaccessible place where the ants are present (along their trail) but where pets and kids cannot get at it. I generally only do this if the tiny ants are coming into the house and getting into stuff or nesting in the house (because I don't like using anything which could cause harm to my kitties if I can help it), and if I do use the poison baits I am very, very careful with it, and dispose of it properly once the ants are gone.

It helps to wash the areas where there were any ants "parading" to get rid of the scent trails they leave and follow once they find a food source.

I haven't had a lot of luck with the small tin can style ant poison traps. And I won't use spray type ant killers because I have cats inside, and pond fish and bees outside, and I don't want to poison any of them!

I have never actually seen the tiny sugar ants pose a problem for my bee hives. The bees seem quite capable of repelling these little sugar thieves. In fact, I've never really had any problems with any types of ants bothering my beehives when the hive is occupied by bees. (Carpenter ants did invade one of my empty wooden hives once, and chewed up some frames.)

I can't say the same thing for my hummingbird feeders, though. I have to remain diligent about keeping the water traps filled above the hummingbird feeders or they become filled with drowned ants (which then decay and taint the sugar water).

Yellow Jacket wasps, however, can present a bigger problem in my area. If one of their nests gets too big, they can pose a threat to foraging bees, beneficial insects and other small critters. They even once attacked a Carolina Wren nest in my yard (in one of my nest boxes) killing the nestlings and carving them up into small pieces and carrying them off. That was a more difficult problem to deal with, because we had to poison the underground wasp nest without getting the wasp poison airborn or into the lawn where it could be accidently picked up by our bees. For that we waited until after dark, then went out with an 18" long piece of 1/4" diameter flexible tubing (sold for use in fish tank filters) attached to the spray nozzle on the can of wasp poison, carefully threaded the tubing into the wasp nest, packing clay soil around it to seal the nest opening, and then depressed the can nozzle, spraying the wasp poison directly into the wasp nest while all the wasps were "home in bed". We left the tubing in the wasp nest overnight, just clamping the end with a clothespin after we finished spraying. And then we came back the next day and removed and properly discarded the tubing. The wasps were all dead in their nest and were no longer a problem for us. We shoveled a little extra clay soil over the nest, and packed it all down to ensure the rain wouldn't wash the poison into our garden pond or natural waterways, and just let it all naturally break down underground.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have sprinkled fine corn meal around Before. I will find ants caked on the inside of the feeders , one layer thick-dead....but ants everywhere. The ant bait i have is a sugary concoction of tetraborate, which would be appealing to most insects, but in a trap form...... i have held off on doing anything until I can gather a lot more data. There is usually no coming back from a calamity like this at this time of year if you happen to poison your colony.

my OP posed whether ants and bees engage in trophylaxis, I have read where bees share with shb. This could bee very bad but cant find an answer.

i am mostly concerned that the ants will infiltrate the wood structures around the apiary, even though they are not carpenter ants nor do we have fire ants this far north in Northern Virginia. Thank you for taking the time to respond!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I have sprinkled fine corn meal around Before. I will find ants caked on the inside of the feeders , one layer thick-dead....but ants everywhere. The ant bait i have is a sugary concoction of tetraborate, which would be appealing to most insects, but in a trap form...... i have held off on doing anything until I can gather a lot more data. There is usually no coming back from a calamity like this at this time of year if you happen to poison your colony.

my OP posed whether ants and bees engage in trophylaxis, I have read where bees share with shb. This could bee very bad but cant find an answer.

i am mostly concerned that the ants will infiltrate the wood structures around the apiary, even though they are not carpenter ants nor do we have fire ants this far north in Northern Virginia. Thank you for taking the time to respond!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Don't use corn meal, use uncooked hominy grits - the kind you can buy in the grocery store. And don't use the microwaveable "Quick Grits", use the courser long cooking type of grits. (Last time I bought them they came in a 4 Lb. bag and cost 89 cents!) Sprinkle them liberally around the ant nest opening. I use at least a couple cups of the grits.

It isn't a "quick fix", but it usually works. You put down the grits, and then forget all about it. Then after a few weeks (usually about 2.5 - 3 weeks) you start to notice that the ants are just gone!
The hardest part about using the Grits to get rid of ants is tracing the ants back to their nest. You need to follow them while they are active. Follow the ant "parade" until you find where they are nesting.
The ants will carry the grits back into their nest. I'm not sure of the mechanism for how it kills the nest. Perhaps it kills the queen, or constipates her egg laying, or perhaps it creates something toxic to the ants when combined with the fungus they cultivate as food. I just know that it works, and that I haven't seen or heard about any bad effects to anything else from the grits.

I read about this decades ago, in some "back to the earth" magazine, and I was really skeptical about it at first. But after I had tried it a few times and seen that it works, I'm a true believer in it.

Of course, as I said before, I don't kill ants which aren't causing problems for me. I live in a nice area full of lots of types of wildlife. And I don't want to harm any of that wildlife by indiscriminate use of poisons or toxic substances. I have watched Yellow Shafted Flicker Woodpeckers dining from the ant hills in my front yard. So I don't bother any of those. I have seen Pileated Woodpeckers working over dead tree stumps for termites and carpenter ants (usually during the bird's breeding season), so I don't bother any of those ant populations either. Ants in the wooded part of my property? Fine. That's where they are supposed to live, so I leave them alone. But carpenter ants in my crawl space or in the house? They are history!

Ants provide food for many wild species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, beneficial insects, and small mammals. Ants also help to "till" the ground, which is important here where we have the red clay soil and so few other critters which help to break it down. Only the toughest worms can manage in this soil. So we don't want to destroy the critters which help to keep this hard soil from compacting.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top