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Black Ants

4408 Views 25 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  firefly22
Inspection last night and I found a ton of Black Ants in the feeding box in two of the hives. They must be getting under the inner cover. Should I seal off the inner cover?

I don't think they were getting into the hive and if they did, would the bees kill them?

Anything to worry about?
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The big ants the bees can kill them , for the small ant I would sprinkle some cinnamon under the inner cover an feeder. And you can cut up catnip an sprinkle it in the same places an they will leave.
ants are for the most part more a nascence than anything else. the bees pretty muck keep them out of the hive. but they often can be fount on the inner cover, and in or around feeders. Cinnamon seems to help. a ground drench in early spring works best for me. But they are like a cribbing horse. They bother you more than they do harm.
I've had a hive abscond this year due to being attacked by large black ants doing the same thing.
They then turned to another hive.
I've now used duct tape to seal the around the boxes and put out Liquid Terro in a bottle cap, placed in their line of travel away from the hive, covered with a small bowl & propped up just enough with a small stick so only the ants can get at it.
Seems to be working pretty well for me.
I have watched carpenter ants take bees down one at a time, cut them up and hull them away. One ant grabs the bee’s wing or leg and holds while they are fighting another ant will join in.
Great, thanks everyone, I will try the cinnamon and duck tape idea.
You need to really get aggressive with these ants. They TOTALLY destroyed a new nuc I had split within 3days time. The ground in front was covered with hundreds of dead n dying bees, the entrance was clogged with the same. Bottom of hive covered a 1" thick in larva n dead bees. Total loss!! The new queen I had just bought but not released was gone from her cage. (Introduction period still going on). I think they chewed their way thru the sugar and ate her!!! Bee Honeybee Insect Membrane-winged insect Beehive
Bee Insect Beehive Honeybee Apiary
It was all MY FAULT in that I KNEW there were ants back there but did not prepare for them with the legs in oil to stop the ants. This all just happened since the weekend when I did the split. I am so mad at myself!!!
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The Ants in my hives seem to be limited, at the moment" to the top feeder. I will try to seal it with duck tape and use Cinnamon as suggested here.

There doesn't appear to be dead bees in front or on the bottom of the hive.

I know about the oil trick, but that would be a project so I will try the other suggestions first

Thanks for the feedback
How big are these ants?! I see ones maybe 1/4" long in my oil tray. Not an invasion but you guys have gotten me concerned.
The one I have are probably slightly smaller, 3/8" maybe, but definitely larger than the garden variety
I know about the oil trick, but that would be a project so I will try the other suggestions first
Not that big of a project. I use 4 frisbees I buy from Walmart and place one under each leg and fill with either new or used oil. Would have taken me 30 seconds if i had remembered to do that when I set up. It's a GAURENNTEE I will never forget again!!! Yes these ants are about 1/4-3/8 long. Carpenter ants they call them here in Florida. If you'll look at the first pic you can see them on the walls and those two mounds in the corner??? thats a pile of em. When I opened the hive....THOUSANDS (it seemed like..maybe about 500!) ran out and scattered. I had gone out of town for the weekend figuring they'd be fine. Not so. These ants love honey and will kill the bees to get to it. They mass invaded my hive!!!
What do you do when it rains for the oil?
How big are these ants?! I see ones maybe 1/4" long in my oil tray. Not an invasion but you guys have gotten me concerned.
Mine are what I call Carpenter Ants, looks like:

and are somewhere in between a 1/4 and a 1/2 inch in length.
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This thread has a number of ideas about keeping ants out of the hive:!&highlight=hive+stand
My hives were infested with those big black ants earlier this year. Since several of my hives weren't that strong (swarm hives) I figured I'd better do something about it. So, I mixed Borax with some homemade strawberry preserves, put it in a pan and heated it until the borax was dissolved. Then I took CD cases and broke out some of the side tabs to create an entrance into the case. The hole was big enough for ants but not big enough for the bees to get into. I put about a teaspoon or so of the borax/strawberry preserves mixture in the case and put one under each hive stand. The ants were drawn to the poisoned preserves and for a while it seemed that there was a never ending stream of ants. Each day for about a week I would refill the traps (one under each hive) and then one day NO MORE ANTS! Gone! Haven't seen any since.
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The best way to get rid of ants is to stop feeding...
What do you do when it rains for the oil?
It's such a slimy mess in the pan, that your okay for awhile. If the "lack of oil" in the pan gets too bad I just fill a lil more. With my cars, cycles, lawn mower and other engines....I have no lack of used oil to replenish!! I learned two things from this painful incident.
A. Create an oil barrier. ( I knew this but didnt do it)
B. Have an access hole in my inner cover so bees can patroll that space above too instead of giving the ants a "Bee Free" area. (I had a hole but it was screened. I hadnt put a non-screened hole for bees cuz it was a nuc. My large hives have the hole, I just didnt do it for the nucs. Live and learn!)

I'm going to try the ant traps mentioned here but this is in the wild country of Central Florida in the woods and by a river. doubt my little traps are going to make much diffrence in the ant population.
NEXT on my list------- I'm going on an all out battle with SHB!!!! They are really really bad!
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I'm new at this and ants were my first problem. Big black ants, bid red ants, & small ants. I think the stand legs in oil or water pans would definitely work but I wanted to avoid this as my hive is in my yard and I didn't want it to look too tacky. I tried a lot of other remedies suggested but none worked except for the drenching of the ground below and around the hive with of of those home defense sprays (had to reapply after every rain). This worked, as the ants did not seem to want to cross over the ground that had the insecticide soaked in it, but I realized later that the real culprit was the sugar water I spilled installing the feeder (I also foolishly sprayed sugar water all over the hive when I was first installing the nuc). I noticed that if I'm carefull about spilling the sugar water when refilling the feeder, ants seem to stay away. I have been laying ant baits around just to try and kill the colonies around the hive as well (but I don't know if this is working).
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>With my cars, cycles, lawn mower and other engines....I have no lack of used oil to replenish!!

Petroleum. REALLY?

You want carcinogenic fumes in your hive 24/7 365 days a year. Since you have it on every corner, it does not matter which way the wind blows it's coming in. After a rain, it will spill over on the ground in every direction around your hives. Also what about the bees that tracks in a tiny bit every time they land on the ground.

I wouldn’t harvest any of the honey from your hives, and I would move them to an area that is not contaminated.

Plus it's against the law to let it get in the ground or ground water. Weather you get caught or not.

Here some good info on cleaning up your contamination.

What about water with cinnamon. Try a cinnamon stick in the water it won't wash out with the rain. You can buy a whole package for a buck.

>and fill with either new or used oil.
Corn oil is cheaper than motor oil.
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A study showed ants attacking varroa. Having an ant colony under a hive with a screened bottom board may not be all that bad!

Mind you, I don't like having ants near my hives, much less between the cover and inner cover, or under reversible solid bottom boards. I saw some fight with bees the other day... tough buggers. Bees were like seven against just one ant, trying to chew it apart. Even if they overwhelmed it, didn't look like killing it was an easy job.
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