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Ants in the keyway

I’ve got small black ants that keep trying to nest in the hive. Today I found they are trying to build up home in the top of several flow frames. I can’t poison there and the frames are 40-50% capped other than a tube and a vacuum I can’t think of anything else to do.
Or am I just paranoid. Ants are edible maybe they won’t do any harm.

As you have observed, they do harm - they steal honey. According to our local ag inspector in San Diego, the small ants can be the worst. There are lots of threads on this forum on how to deal with ants. Here are some starting points:

Hope you find something useful! I have seen ants destroy a friend’s bee colony, so don’t be complacent! :flushed:

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An old-time beekeeper recently told me to put a little bit of cinnamon on the lid of your hive and this will help keep ants away. Have not tried it at all just passing on something I heard

I often hear of people in the southern US having real issues with ants. I see ants, but they have never done any real harm. The winter seems to set them back enough. The little ones on the inner cover are a pain as they run into the hive when I open things up and that gets the bees wound up, but they don’t seem to hurt anything otherwise. I just dump them off. Feeding is usually the cause of most ant problems. If ants really become a problem I use equal parts borax, water and cheap jelly (usually Concord grape is the cheapest) and it wipes out the entire nest of ants.

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thanks guys for the replies but i tried the oil in coffee cans and it worked perfectly .



Where are you putting the ant feed with respect to the hive? I am curious if the bees get into the feed too?


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Anywhere on the ant trail will do. The bees have not shown an interest in my experience, but one could put it in a Tupperware container with 1/8" holes drilled in it to let the ants in. Ideally you follow the trail back to the anthill and put the bait in the middle of it, but usually I don’t have time for that.

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That makes perfect sense. Thank you!

You might try this remedy. https://www.diatomaceousearth.com/natural-ant-hill-remedy/
Good luck,

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i used compressed air to clean the key way of a nesting colony of ants. blow it in the bottom of the keyway and all the ants and eggs fly out the top (or vice versa)
just make sure you stand out of the way as a lot of angry ants will be looking for something to bite! :slight_smile:

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