Home made Pest Deterrents and Termination

This topic is for the sharing of what you use to prevent, control, or terminate pests in the hives. Please include how long you have used the method and the results. If possible include your own photos.

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Pest: Wax Moth
The Wax Moth Trap has been circulated around the internet for years and as a result it is impossble to credit one individual.
I live in the North Carolina, USA and we have 2 types of Wax Moths: the ‘Greater’ and the 'Lesser" and as their names state one is larger, about 1 inch long and mottled grey and the other is about 1/2 inch long and silvery in color.
I first used this method 6 years ago after losing a hive to the moths the previous year. It is devastating to your colonies and personally heartbreakening. They seem to come in cycles. After setting up the traps 6 years ago I saw very few. But yesterday while inspecting my weakest hive I smashed 1 Greater and 2 Lesser inside the top cover. The hive is a small swarm that at one point lost their queen. She was there 2 weeks ago but gone yesterday. The opportunist moths had moved in quick! I wish I had taken pictures to share before I smashed them.
Normal healthy hives are fully capable of ejecting the moth larvae but weakened hives such as small swarms, queenless, and stress from other pests are prime targets for the moth. Very old comb in a hive is exactly what the Wax Moths like to lay their eggs in. So an initial prevention is to rotate out your old dark comb to give your bees space to create new clean comb.
Prevention by termination is the best approach to preventing wax moth damage.

Wax Moth Trap:

Materials and ingredients:
One 2 litre plastic drink bottle
exacto knife & scissors
string or cord to hang the trap from

1 Banana peel
1 cup sugar
1 cup White Vinegar

Cut a 30 mm diameter hole in the side of the bottle just below the rounded shoulder. The bottom of a prescription bottle was perfect to trace the circle. I used black marker only so the opening would show up in the photos. Cut an X in the circle with an exacto knife and finish cutting the hole with scissors.

Push the banana peel into the bottle. Add the suger followed by the vinegar. Gently swirl the bottle to mix ingredients. Top it all off with enough water to reach 1 inch beneath the hole.
Set aside the Wax Moth Trap for a few days to let it ferment. I notice after about 3 days in a hot garage the mixture smells ripe and is ready.

To use the trap- Tie a loop of sturdy twine around the neck near the cap. Hang the trap near your hives on a tree branch or use a garden sheperd’s hook plant hanger.


Is wax moth a problem where you are?
I keep bees in the UK and it is a problem only in hives that are already weakened by something else. Stored brood frames are target too.

I lived in the southern United States and every hive pest flourishes here. Many beekeepers hesitate using chemicals and look for other solutions. I had baited an empty hive with older drawn comb and a rag-tag little swarm moved in. I was thrilled at first but they were so few in numbers they did not draw new comb. My other hives are growing so quick I am having a hard time making supers to keep up with them.

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Pest: Ants

There are a variety of ant deterrents that beekeepers may choose to use.

I tried moats, cinnamon till my front yard smelled like a bakery, Vaseline on the stand legs, vegetable oil in coffee cans etc. None of it worked, ever, to keep ants away.
So I invented my own solution and yes it includes ant killer. I cut #8 hardware cloth into a circle that fits on top of a mason jar. I put a plastic Terro Liquid Ant Bait in the mason jar with the bait opening against the bottom of the jar. Put the hardware cloth on and the metal canning ring to hold it on tight. I place the mason jar next to the stand leg the ants are climbing up on. Mission accomplished, no more ants.

I also tip the opening of the jar up a little bit to ensure the liquid does not run out. I use a brick to pin the jar to keep it from rolling.

What other ideas do you have for keeping ants out of your hives?


This is a great topic Gayle.

Pest control is such an important subject for bees these days. We have used sifted powered sugar for mite control with success on my father’s hives. An interesting paper on the practice; http://scientificbeekeeping.com/powdered-sugar-dusting-sweet-and-safe-but-does-it-really-work-part-1/

We are fortunate in Northern California to not have an enormous SHB problem. San Francisco seems to be very protected so I don’t anticipate at this time having to take drastic measures.

I am considering the Country Rubes Bottom Board for basic SHB protection.

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Has anyone tried using Diatomaceous earth with bees? It will kill quite a few pest insects naturally but I have no idea if it would harm bees. If it’s safe for bees I wonder how it would do with common hive pests. I know it is particularly good for ants, and many say it’s a great way to get rid of bed bugs.

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No don’t use it.
It will kill your bees.

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good to know, thanks

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Tuna Tin with Oil ‘Ant Moats’:


Little Creek Bee Ranch’s Beetle trap works great for ants and earwigs. I’m not able to comment about beetles, because I don’t have them.

I use this trap inside and outside the hive with vegetable oil and honey.

Please note: This trap has a lid, it is only off for picture taking

Little Creek Bee Ranch Beetle trap - https://youtu.be/a-TM1oII3-w

Thank you very much for the information. I will do this. craig

@semaphore I have the same set up. Simple and never had an ant on the hive. Good chunky tuna too!

Do any bees fall in the tuna tins?

yes, i use a moat also, and the curious ones do go in and stay there…

I’m trying something that appears to work for now. I took a plastic cup and cut around to the size I need and then down to the bottom, creating a hole about the size of the hive stand leg. I have a flow II. I fit it around upside down and sealed with petroleum jelly. No doubt a better version can be made but this will give me some time. The ants can’t get around the slick cup surface and fall back down.


Studies on Essential oils in bee keeping

I have found some studies that discuss essential oil use, just fyi