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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I left for vacation and checked my 2 main hives and 2 nucs before I left and all was good.... I came back from spring break with my kids after 10 days and did a hive check today and ants are covering both my nucs and the weaker on my 2 hives... All 3 have sugar blocks so I am sure that is the attraction but suprised by the amount of ants... The largest hive has no sugar blocks and not ants either... I covered the area with diatomaceous earth so I am hoping that helps... Any other ideas?
 

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50/50 mix borax and grape jelly in a pop/soda bottle, drill small holes only ants can get through, put on ground till ants can get to it easily, then wait. The ants will take the mix back to thier hives and it will kill them out.
 

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Had the same problem. I used some cleaned out tuna cans and poured cooking oil in them. Put them on cinder blocks with the legs to a big bird cage stand in the oil. Put an old flat shelf on that and the hive on top. No ants since then. Oil evaporates slowly, but I have a bottle of oil on hand because it needs to be topped off every now and then. Im in the southwest where we don't get rain though, so I don't know if that would make the oil issue messy. Works great for me though.
 

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Up to now, I've callously spread granular and liquid insecticide in the area surrounding my hives. It works pretty well.

Now, I'm trying an ant bait station with a small dose of sugar water and boric acid. Here is a link showing how to make an ant bait dispenser:
http://cenapa.ucanr.edu/files/52638.pdf

The recipe for the poison is:
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
3 teaspoons of boric acid

HTH :)
 

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I tried the cinnamon trick and the boric acid myself without success. Couldn't do the oil stand because I'm on cinderblocks. What really worked for me was smearing a thick layer of vasoline around the bottom deep of my hive. Ants can't cross it, easy to remove with paper towels, and no poisons involved. No problems with bees getting stuck in it either. It's cheap, quick, and works.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks all for advice and I will give it a shoot... All the ideas sound good and darn ants are annoying and I know they are stressing the bees..
 

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Good Luck whichever method you try. I should mention that ants, like bees, need both carbohydrates and protein. Ants flip flop from one phase to the other, so if they are in a protein gathering phase, the carbs are ignored -and visa versa. One recipe I saw included some vegetable oil for the protein that was mixed with the sugar water.

Inside the house, we have used the boric acid mixed with jelly for carbs and with peanut butter for protein. Put both mixes on one jar lid where the pets can't get it. (That recipe is six parts jelly or peanut butter to one part boric acid.) HTH :)
 

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I don't think our NorCal ants are affected by cinnamon of diatomaceous earth. I've tried both with no success at all, just made a mess. I tried borax and jelly and they totally ignored it. Only solution that's worked is a hive stand with pipes for legs and coating the legs with axle grease.
 

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Is there something special with grape or will raspberry or strawberry work fine? Assuming it's just the sugar?
This may be propaganda from one ant bait manufacturer, but the claim I heard some years ago is that most people are disappointed when they buy commercial ant bait. Most stores sell one or two types, and many times your problem ants will ignore it. The claim is that ants are really pretty specialized, and you need a local professional who knows the species of local ants and what they'll go for. Some like jelly, or anything sweet.

I guess some like meat, not jelly.

I'd suggest looking around and find out what your ants are after, and see if you can make a good guess about what they'll go for. Pet food maybe? Once you find something, boric acid is relatively safe for humans and pets in modest doses, but deadly to ants and roaches and some other insects. I have not tried borax, but it may work the same.

I suspect our big black ants would go for jelly (they love raiding our kitchen), but I've also watched them carry off bark grubs in a feeding frenzy ... and suspect they'd love brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am going to try the grease idea because in the past they used to attack the hummingbird feeders but once I put axle grease on the stand the ant issue stopped....
 

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First: I am not a beekeeper yet, so haven't tried this near bees and have no idea if it would hurt them. If anyone knows if this would be bad, please do tell. I want to know, too.

I am an avid gardener and have found that heavily dusting ground cayenne pepper around something makes the ants stay away. I've even put it on top of a mound and the ants leave (don't know if it kills them, and doubt it does, but they vacate the mount and I don't notice new mounds popping up anywhere).

Orange oil also works to keep them away. I wipe the kitchen counters with it - it kills the ones there and repels the rest. It also does a number on weeds, so I was thinking of researching whether it'd be okay to use around bees since it would double as weed-killer around the hives. Bonus.

Does anyone know if either of those things in large concentrations would be detrimental to bees at the base of the hive?
 

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A component of orange peel is a lethal insecticide. It is one of the few that will take out fire ants. I have not looked up the effects on bees, but I'd be reluctant to use it around them in any form where they would be likely to come in contact with it. I presume whatever the compound is might be present in orange oil.

And yet on the flip side, lemon grass oil is a bee attractant.

I think I've read posts here about people using spices such as cinnamon. Most highly flavored veggie extracts, things we call spices, are natural plant insecticides or insect repellants. Funny that we've developed a taste for them.
 

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>Is there something special with grape or will raspberry or strawberry work fine? Assuming it's just the sugar?

Generic grape jelly is cheap. I've never tried anything more expensive.... I'm sure the fruit smell is an important attractant.
 

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Did you mean pop can? I assume the the holes are drilled above the liquid in the can or perhaps you could clarify as I would like to try this. Sorry for my ignorance.
50/50 mix borax and grape jelly in a pop/soda bottle, drill small holes only ants can get through, put on ground till ants can get to it easily, then wait. The ants will take the mix back to thier hives and it will kill them out.
 
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