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March 2, 2009

Ants in your beehive or apiary

Ants, Ants, Ants. Is there anything more annoying to find in your beehive or apiary? It has been said that some ants do not have an economic impact on the beekeeper or the bee business. These comments are either before the time of plastic and polystyrene hives or from people who were not beekeepers.

We sell an effective ant control package here on this web site geared toward agricultra products and producers for the control of ants.  Contact me for more info and volume pricing.

Various species of black ants intrude beehives and take away honey and pollen and kill the brood and bees, which may lead to absconding of colony. The apiary should be kept clean and the ant nests destroyed by insecticidal applications. Ant wells should be provided for the beehive stands.
Red ants may make nightly visits to the hive.

Hear what Steve Coplin had to say about Crazy Ants:
Steve Coplin, a fourth-generation commercial beekeeper in Alvin — about 30 miles south of Houston — said the ants began attacking his beehives nearly three years ago. Initially, Coplin said, he'd just move his hives away from the infested areas but "now it's getting so widespread it's hard to keep up." He said he's losing about 100 hives to the ants each year. At its peak, Coplin Bee Farms had about 2,500 hives, but colony collapse disorder and Hurricane Ike reduced the business to about 600 hives. "Everything eats a honeybee — purple martins on down to dragonflies," Coplin said. "But the invasion of these ants is 100 times worse than anything I've seen. This is something new." The Rasberry crazy ants don't appear to be interested in the honey; they're after the brood. They invade the honeycomb cell and dine on larvae. When the bees escape, the ants take over the abandoned hive and lay eggs. Coplin said he's forced to burn the infested hive and equipment. That's cost him about $30,000 so far. Other apiarists are experiencing similar ant problems. They fear quarantines and aerial pesticides could wipe out their precious bees along with the ant invaders. "I would much rather have the fire ant," Coplin said, explaining that fire ants usually just eat dead bees that have fallen from the hive. "Fire ants are not as aggressive. They might sting and hurt at worse, but these things, they just go in by the thousands."

Here are some info sheets on ants related to beekeeping:

Here is a Boric Acid recipe: To make a 1% solution, take the solution that you intend to use as bait (honey and water, sugar water, dog food and water. or whatever) (DO NOT use tap water, use only spring or distilled water). Add 1.25 grams(one level teaspoon) of boric acid powder to 125ml (4 fluid ounces) of your bait. Heat it on the stove until the boric acid dissolves. After it has cooled, pour some in a shallow gizmo like a jar lid and leave it where the ants will find it -and where your children and pets will not be able to get at it. Take your time; let them eat their fill and take as much as they can to their nest. It might take a week or two.

Ant block:
Mix Vaseline, kerosene and red pepper to a paste.  Apply lightly to legs blocks or on hive stand legs.

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