Ants in a weaker hive?

I know ants hang around the hives for pollen, honey, dead bees, dead SHB, ect. But if ants get inside a weaker hive, how do the bees defend themselves against the ants??

I know cinnamon and DE spread around the hive can be a good preventative measure…

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Badly, is the answer. Ants are often too small for them to sting them easily. The bees will try to bite them, which marks them with pheromone and can intoxicate them, but few bees against many ants is not a good situation. If the ants build a nest inside the hive, you are much greater risk of the bees absconding or dying out completely.

Yeah I thought they may mark the ants with a pheromone… Thinking about it, couldn’t they use propolis to engulf the ants?

They can do that if they can “corral” an insect into a corner. Ants just keep running, and propolis is sticky and slow for bees to work with, so it isn’t good for controlling the ants. :thinking:

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Cooking spray kills ants. We found that ants wont walk across cooking spray. All you/we need to do is place a cooking spray barrier that ants wont cross in order to keep them out of our hives. It doesn’t hurt the bees either, in my experience.


A good question often asked Olie, A smear of automotive grease, as a barrier on the hive stand legs about an inch wide but make sure it is completely around each leg will work and of course won’t wash off if it ever rains again.
The bees chase ants and waste energy and time, the ants won’t stand still to be propolised.
If you can track the ants to their nest entrance a hit with ant powder will knock them and the bees will not be interested on sampling it, as you may think. I do that at my apiary regularly without harming the bees.
Jeff’s idea of cooking oil works well too.
Cheers and welcome to the forum, there is lots of help here just for the asking.


Is that any cooking spray, Jeff?

Hiya @Olie02 - check out the wealth of threads about ants and how to control them by typing ants or ant trap in the search bar :wink:


Hi Robert, we use canola cooking spray. I don’t know if it works with other types. We use it in the kitchen whenever ants are a problem there. I used it on my observation hive when ants got bad, it worked a treat & didn’t affect the bees. I didn’t spray it in or at the entrance.

Another tip for the kitchen, mainly in cupboards is ants wont walk of talcum powder.

Fantastic. Thanks, definitely easier than reapplying neverwet with bees in the hive.

Will see how the antcant holds up with weather hitting it, but it’s hard to get a hold of in Oz, so cooking spray will be on the backup list.

PS - AntCant is fantastic! But washes off in rain quite easily it seems

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It shouldn’t. It only gets removed by wiping, or by dirt sticking to it over 12 months+. I will see if I can get some input here from the manufacturer… :blush:


Thanks Dawn. That’s what I thought. Perhaps I applied it incorrectly. Will wipe and reapply and see how I go.


I went out early this morning as it has been so hot the last week in Adelaide, to see how my hive is doing. All merrily buzzing away in and out. But then I noticed a couple of ant superhighways into the hive up the legs. The ants can get bad around here but I keep them out of the house using need oil wiped around entrances. I used your cooking oil idea Jeff, and sprayed avocado oil from my hand pump I use for cooking.
I wondered if it would be harmful to wipe the need oil around the base of the feet? The bees wouldn’t be in contact. I read it’s not harmful to bees but can kill larvae. But larvae are not likely to come in contact with it?
I will keep an eye on the legs and see how the avo oil lasts and maybe get some grease if it seems effective.


Well done Helen. You’re correct, the larvae wont be in contact with it. All you need is a little spray with the cooking spray to break the “ant super highways”.

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Thanks Jeff, that should have read Neem oil not need. I’ll see how the avo oil works before I resort to neem. I thought ants were my biggest headache today…

There are some nice photos and research done by Brad here on the neverwet product:

You will also find some nice ant moats here:

Hi Helen, I figured you were talking about neem oil. Don’t let the ants bother you too much. I never worry about them, except one time they nested under the removable panels of my observation hive.

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I use little borax-laced sugar traps that bees can’t get into, set against the base of the hives where the ants have an ‘on-ramp’ :slight_smile: They don’t bother me or the bees much, until I pulled out the coreflute slider and thousands of ant eggs showered down from inside the channels :nauseated_face: and then there was the time they managed to set up an egg shop around the Flow frame openings - that kept me busy for the afternoon :unamused:


Hello this is Critter Technology the manufacturer of AntCant. One of your Flow Hive Forum members reached out to us and asked us to join in the discussion. Specifically, the stability of AntCant to exposure to water. Water will not harm AntCant. If the water is a forceful stream, for example, from a sprayed hose or directed sprinkler, than the force can act like an abrasive material and cause the AntCant to essentially rub off. But, simple falling rain should have no such effect. We also recommend to use
the tape provided and apply AntCant to that surface as we know that AntCant adheres to the tape and that ants can’t climb on the AntCant treated tape when it is at a greater than 30 degree angle or upside down. Hope this is helpfull.

Hi there Robert @Ropate,

AntCant @AntCant kindly joined the forum and replied on another thread:

So the answer to your comment is that it should not wash off in normal rain. Heavy squalls may be a totally different question! :smile: They suggest using their tape, which is just an adhesive aluminum tape, readily available in most DIY places.

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