Pest and Deseases: Ants

By Blaise and Josh

Research and answer the following questions:

Describe the pest/disease/problem.
Ants are a major pest to the honeybee environment. They disrupt the bees environment by sabotoging the elaborate nests. They strive for the honeybee's scrumptious honey that honeybees produce. Various species of black ants intrude hives, take away honey and pollen. Red ants may make nightly visits to the hive. Rasberry crazy ants invade the honeycomb cell, and dine on larvae. After the bees escape, the ants take over the abandoned hive and lay eggs. Another type of ant, the fire ant, simply eats dead bees. They are not as aggressive.
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSUM-8_fno3lr7oGvGAD17XCjvXwUtmakMSAoLR-GzrYGkL08Yi
A rather big battle in a honeybee hive. A swarm of ants are surronding the bee and slowing but surely, killing him.

What is the cause?
They fight to the death over the honey because they can't resist it. The ants just adore the honey, but don't work for it. They sabotage it by killing multiples of bees, and eating our honey. The ants tend to be more of robbers than killers, but they end up killing because the bees protect the honey. external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTFP77udVeoQ2eWKL33hzmWoCx8LJSw7KNE1l-fXKs-tN25DE3_
A swarm of ants versus a adult honeybee. The ants are winning. In this photo.

external image ants-in-my-nuc-hive.jpg
Ants infiltrating an empty honeybee nest. The honeybee's have been taken away for protection.

What are the symptoms?
You would see less bees flying around, receive less honey, and lots of dead bees. Maybe even holes around traps and wood. You'll see damage around the hive, like amber colored liquid (the blood of honeybees) around the hive. Disgusting, but it's true. The babies would die early (as well as the drones and ) due to less honey and the ants killing them.
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRjpjoQe21uk6DN_BV6YJqiIbfPPPhWBf0Velt4qEvNCjd1h1fbEU7aAg
After a while, the foam covering used for protection, will disenagrate, from the menacing ant's appetite. In other words, they eat it up.

What damage will occur to the hive? (What should we look for?)
Dead honeybees, less honey, major damage to our food, and less bees flying around. The hive can be destroyed in a matter of days. Strong hives may handle the ants, but the weak hives will not. The ants invade the hive and cause colonies of bees to swarm out, causing less honey production and eventual desimation of the colony.
external image 4907655979_929d3bd0a7_z.jpg
Picture of a ant terrozing a honeybee baby nest. We believe that the babies are dead, but we don't know.

What can we do to control / fix this problem?
Put two or three leaves of peppermint or spearmint on top of the frames. Ants should be attracted away from them. Won't hurt the bees and the ants will be gone in 1 day. Sprinkling cinnamon on the top cover will not harm bees, but may deter certain types of ants, such as the red ant found in forest lands. Cinnamon may also deter the tiny black sugar ant. However, it may not work on carpenter ants. Physically removing the ants (by hand) may help control the infestation.

What can be done to prevent this problem from occuring?
Try sprinkiling food away from your hive so that the ants get distracted from the bees. This way they find another food source and go away from the beehive never even starting the death match.

Another way to protect the honeybees is to put a foam covering around the hive, it acts as a shield and buys some time.

A really good way to prevent them from reaching our hive is to elevate the hive on a tree branch, and grease the tree so that ants never can even reach the hive.

Beekeepers sometimes put bowls of oil under each post, to prevent ants from getting up.

Also, putting the bottom board on blocks smeared completely with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) prevents ants from crossing it.

Resources:

http://www.pacificcrestapiaries.com/id58.html
http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/maarec/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Pests_of_Honey_Bees_PM.pdf
http://images.google.com/
and Google

Add Discussion