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Author Topic: A question about controlling ANTS  (Read 1859 times)

Offline CoolBees

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A question about controlling ANTS
« on: January 15, 2019, 03:15:02 pm »
Here's a question: what are some good ways to control ants that invade the hives.

Here in Norcal we have these tiny ants (whose name I don't know) that invade by the billions. They seem to be too small for the bees to bite, and the bees seem to give up and just huddle pretty quick once invaded.

I've tried salt on the ground around the hive as well as on the blocks and hive stands - didn't work.

I've tried grease - that lasted 3 days in the dry season - they created a pathway of dead bodies over the grease on every stand.

There are hive stands with oil containers on each leg - as soon as the spiders built webs, the ants move on thru using them.

I've resorted to spraying (which I don't like) around and on the hive stand legs. The spray is what we use around the perimeter of the house. It lasts 12 months - it can't be good.

 ... what happens in nature? ... I've seen trees with feral (I suppose) bees around. How are they dealing with it?

Any other suggestions?
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 03:51:12 pm »
The ferals are not provided with sugar water and the pollen they drop is quickly eaten in a tree by many insects, so this colonies are not so of interest to ants.

We don?t have your species here, perhaps they don?t go up the trees? Are they the ones which are called fireants?

You can try baking soda or soda powder for cleaning, mixed with powdered sugar, feed it to them but it?s a cruel death. They will carry it to the nest, the ants blow up and die. This does not poison the environement.

To be nicer you can use citrus oil or citrus peels and copper. Some ant species don?t like the smell. Combined with flooding the nests they might leave. Don?t spill sugar water at the hive and close the floor on the hive if it?s open, because the ants want the pollen dropping down.

I only have an ant problem when I feed sugar syrup, they drown by thousands in the top feeder. I have ants nests under the hives but never any ants inside. But I think they are a different kind of ants.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 04:59:22 pm »
I'm guessing it's the Argentine Ant.

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/amp/Meet-the-bad-ant-that-s-overwhelming-California-5719954.php

They are brutal. In the hive, they attack eggs, larvae of all stages, stores, and full grown bees. When they invade - its common to see 10-30 ants crawling on a single bee. They flood into a hive and cover everything.
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Offline Beeboy01

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 11:48:20 pm »
As much as I hate to use it I make a perimeter of ant poison about ten feet out around my hives and gently rake it in so the dust doesn't get blown over to the hives. I only treat about once a year during the summer to keep the red bull carpenter ants at bay. Lost too many hives to ants and just go medieval on them when they appear.

Offline Acebird

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 09:52:04 am »
Stop opening the hive and duct tape the seams when you do.  Don't drop and hive debris on the ground.
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Offline Beeboy01

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2019, 11:07:31 am »
Can't see how taping the seams would help with screened bottom boards and not opening the hives means you can't monitor them properly. Even if the seams are totally sealed and the hive has a solid bottom board the ants will still get in through the entrance.
  A poison ant bait would be the most effective way to stop them. Lightly spread it on the ground along the back of the hives, maybe a foot or two out. If you can find the main ant nest then treat that with a poison bait instead of around the hives. Like I said before, I would rather not use any poison in my bee yard but I've found the hard way sometimes it is the only way to save the hives from attack. Luck with it and let us know what happens.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2019, 01:11:52 pm »
Stop opening the hive and duct tape the seams when you do.  Don't drop and hive debris on the ground.

That wouldn't solve anything I'm afraid.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2019, 01:14:37 pm »
Thank you to everyone who responded.

So - its sounds like everyone is using chemicals  (of some type) to fight off the ants when they become a problem.

If there are any non-chemical solutions, I'd love to hear about them.
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 01:23:06 pm »
You can use a vaccuum cleaner every day o them...but beware they come out again.
 :wink:
 Perhaps use a blowtorch? But don?t burn your hives.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 02:31:48 pm »
You can use a vaccuum cleaner every day o them...but beware they come out again.
 :wink:
 Perhaps use a blowtorch? But don?t burn your hives.

  :happy:
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline robirot

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 04:12:23 pm »
Die you try cynamon between the boxes?
Else Borax in sugar/honey where the bees can't reach it.

Offline herbhome

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 04:19:15 pm »
I bought some of these at our farm supply. Works well and fills up with dead ants quickly.




https://www.amazon.com/TERRO-T300B-2-Pack-Liquid-Baits/dp/B00E4GACB8?keywords=ant+control&qid=1547669628&sr=8-5&ref=sr_1_5
Neill

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2019, 09:14:17 pm »
SiWolKe  ~~   ''Are they the ones which are called fireants? ''

  I am wondering this also. Is the Argentine Ant the same ant as the Fire Ant?  I am thinking not. Fire ants have made there way into my area and so far they have not bothered my bees. The fire ants make a bigger mound that our native ant, and may I add, don't make the mistake of stepping on one of these mounds!! You will quickly find out why they are called fire ants!! HA HAA .
   
 

Offline herbhome

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2019, 12:16:55 am »
argentine ants are very small compared to fire ants which are large and red. I grew up in south Louisiana and know fire ants very well. They make mounds sometimes 3-4 feet high and are extremely aggresive to intrusion.
Neill

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2019, 01:09:56 am »
CoolBees, you really have only three options to deal with ants:

1.  Physical barrier preventing any possible way for them to access the hive.  Think ant-vile moat.
2.  Encourage the ants to relocate.  Dig up and destroy nests.  Make nests uninhabitable, pour objectionable liquid or dusting into and around the area of the nests.
3.  Dispatch the source of the nests.  Kill the ants.  Bait and poison.

I read somewhere that the biomass of ants in the world out weighs the entire population of the human race. ... It is no wonder we can feel outnumbered and overwhelmed sometimes ;).  Another fun fact, ants and bees are distant cousins.

Not all ants are aggressive pests to the hive.  Most are merely scavengers cleaning up the ground beneath and around the hive and can be left alone.  However, when you see ants INSIDE the hive or on live bees or hauling eggs/larvae then action has to be taken.  Potentially helpful ants turned into problem ants.

Things that do not work, not well, or not long
- Diatomaceous earth
- Cinnamon
- Other such useless things


Things that do work, staying power, long or permanent help for the hive.
- Trim back vegetation and keep area around the hive tidy of overgrowth.
- A hive stand that emulates the moat concept. Not a single strand of grass can touch anywhere!
- Frequent nest destruction
- Hot soap water down the nest
- Used motor oil around and down the nest, and around the hive at a distance
- Bait/poison:  Borax mixed with corn syrup 2:1 and put in bait cups along ant trails. Wipes out all nests in the area in about 2 weeks.





Hope that helps!
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2019, 01:43:29 am »
Quote
- Used motor oil around and down the nest, and around the hive at a distance

Be careful, this contaminates the ground water.

Offline robirot

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2019, 04:25:20 am »
Liquid nitrogen down the Nest also works or casting the nest with molten Aluminium makes for cool structures.

Offline Acebird

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2019, 08:13:19 am »

2.  Encourage the ants to relocate.
- Frequent nest destruction

Although I have never lost a colony to ants I have had ants make nests on top of an inner cover that doesn't have a hand hole.  Usually this happens in early spring.
 About ever other day I would pull off the top cover and use the flat blade of the hive tool to shovel off the thousands of eggs the ants made on top of the cover.  In about a week they would give up.  I think you do need the ants for clean up outside the hive.  It is the man made hive and where it is placed that makes the bees vulnerable.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2019, 12:20:57 pm »
Liquid nitrogen down the Nest also works or casting the nest with molten Aluminium makes for cool structures.

On pouring aluminum. I have never done it, but I have seen some videos and the -ant art- displayed from them.  I find the ant structures more fascinating than the beehive.  Ants are utterly amazing.


 
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Offline SiWolKe

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Re: A question about controlling ANTS
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2019, 12:28:03 pm »
What about keeping some chicken running around?
Do they eat this ant species? My chicken love ants.