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Ants
and their effect on bee colonies

Ants do not attack the bees themselves although they may well eat the carcase of a dead bee. They steal the honey and in some areas the losses can be a significant percentage of the crop.

Physical rather than chemical controls are what is required as the ants lay a pheramone trail that other ants can follow. In regions where ants are a nuisance it is customary to place the hive stand so that it's legs are within four tin cans that are part filled with old motor oil. This forms a barrier that the ants cannot cross, there is a problem with this method in that if it rains, the tin cans are filled up with water and the oil floats over the edge of the can, leaving water in it's place. The water is not so effective a barrier as the oil. If this is a problem it can be solved by forming shallow aluminium cones fixed to the stand legs so that they shroud the tins from falling rain.

Care should be taken that grass or other vegetaion does not grow up near the hive or stand as this could form a bridge for the ants to bypass the oil tins.

If the hives are standing on a concrete base, the pheramone trail can be broken by spraying with a product made from oranges, called "De-Solv-It" this is a solvent product from Orange-Sol that is excellent at removing wax, propolis, road tar and other hard to shift waxes and resins. (This tip came from Ettamarie Patterson)

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Revised... 10 October 2001