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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you lose hives to ants? Especially in the Southwest region. In the course of a week, I had 2 hives abscond and 2 hives with dead queens on the bottom board. From the outside the ants didn't appear to be a nuisance. On close inspection of the inside, the ants were going in and out of holes chewed in the capped brood. They didn't appear interested in the honey. Looks like they may have moved their home into the comb somewhere. The ants are the little light brown ants that move super fast, like they are on crack. Anyway, I will be spending the rest of the week remanufacturing the hive stands in my bee yards and making them ant proof.
 

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There are ants on my inner cover on a couple of hive. They put their eggs and everything up there. That is a good idea to redesign the stand to make it ant proof. One expert says that the inner covers invite ants to hide there. I think he's right. I haven't lost one yet, but I can see now that it is a real danger. These are not fire ants either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is a thread on here and youtube where one was made using steel pipe and utilized bearing grease to deter the ants. All my hives are on concrete blocks and pallets right now.
 

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Yes, I have lost a nuc to an ant invasion. These were carpenter ants, black, bout 1/4-3/8" long. They move in at night while your sleeping. They killed all the bees, chewed and dragged out of the comb all the brood. Basically killed the whole hive.
As for protection. Needs to be an oil/grease barrier tween the ground and the hive. Currently I have saw horses w/4 legs that the hives sit on. I have pans underneath the legs that vegtable oil/mineral oil is poured in and then the ants cant go up the legs. Be careful of grass or twigs...they make a good ladder for the ants to utilize to bypass the pans. I am in the process of making a one pole stand that will be cemented into the ground. 3 less legs to have to protect. Look around this site. Plenty of designs to choose from.
 

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Just one more thought. The Fat Bee Man says to spread dietemacious earth on the ground around the hives.
 

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DE won't work long, it blows around gets wet in the mornings or the ants just start walking across it anyways.
 

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As I understand it, the dietemacious earth is for the larva from SHB. The DE cuts and kills the larva. For ants, it's said that cinnamon works good for detering ants.
havent tried it, as much rain as we get everyday I think it'd wash away. One evening I did notice the carpenter ants massing on the ground underneath a hive and I figured that an invasion was paramount. I just grabed the ant killer and carefully sprayed underneath the hive to kill and drive away the ants. Made sure no grass or antything was against the legs to the stand too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I put a mixure of DE and boric acid around the cement footers. So far no ants in the area. Hopefully that holds them off until my permanent. Solution is in place
 

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A weak split I made last year was taken down by small ants and it really frustrated me because the queen was a dandy. I've never had them take another hive down, but I have seen quite a few on the hive stand from time to time. Since then, I've kept one of these on the ground near the leg of the hive stand. The entrance holes are small enough a bee can't get in there, and now I rarely see ants in that area. I was initially hesitant to use them because I am otherwise treatment free, but since I don't see how this could make its way into the hive I think I will continue putting one out every other month or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Dixiswife. I will try that. So far I have tried a mixture of food grade dietemacious earth and boric acid. It seemed to temporarily deter them. Tried cinnamon which temporarily deterred them also. I finally found heavy steel dog food bowls for $4 a piece, put the cement blocks I use as footers for my stands in the bowls and filled it with vegetable oil. No more ants in those hives. It's just a nuisance maintaining the oil. Luckily it doesn't rain much here.
 

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The first year we had bees we had an ant problem with very small red ants. I don't think they were fire ants. Anyway the first thing we tried was putting the legs of the stand in pans and filling the pans with cooking oil. That worked ok till it rained and washed the oil out. The water also stopped them for a few days but it was a pain to remember to refill the pans every day or two if it did not rain. We thought about amdro but I did not like the idea of putting poison on the ground where a dog might eat it. We tried DE and boric acid but again they washed away every few days. Finally we went to a do it yourself pest control place and bought a box of plastic ant bait stations.
They come with double stick tape so we just stuck a bunch on the inside legs of the stands. All the ants were gone in a week.
Since then we have had no problems and have never replaced the baits. Sometimes if we are feeding sugar water to a new nuc or a hive that is low on stores in late winter or early spring we may see ants on the top around the feeder jar but they have not been a problem since the first year.
 

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I'm going to get some of those ant baits. They can't hurt the bees and they will work!
Thanks. I tried what someone suggested: Put amdro in a 20 oz. bottle and drill small holes in it so that the bees can't get it.
I must work, but I only tried once.
 

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I've had problems, as you describe, with "Imported Fire Ants". These ants most often attack the brood. I've had issues with them in California, Florida, New Mexico, and now Arizona. When I had just a few hives, mechanical barriers, such as cans of oil on hive stand legs would slow them down. But with many more hives I've discovered that Amdro granules, a poison bait, to be very effective at reducing the strength of their colonies and subsequent damages. I use it once or twice each season, and have much less damage from the ants.
 

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When I lived in Redlands, CA - So. CA, the ants were terrible.
An old time beekeeper told me to paint used motor oil around the legs of the hive. The girls can't get caugt in it, and it keeps ants from crawling up in. But the ants can also come from above if any shrubs or trees close. I will never use anything again other than used motor oil. Reapply about once a month or after a heavy rain.
 

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I've done this too for three years now with good results, but do it late in the evening when the bees are not so active...the dew overnight sort of settles it into the ground :)
 
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