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Vinegar as an ant deterrant?

Has anyone used vinegar in the grass around the base of hive to use as an ant deterrant? I have the legs in a water oil solution already. just looking to go one step better. Information on vinegar and bees on the web is hard to diseminate.

many thanks.

Hello Travis, and a welcome to the forum where you will find lots of tips and advice.
I am at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast where I use 1/2 cup of table salt, a cup of cleaning white vinegar to a watering can of water with the shower rose on the spout and drench under and for about a metre out from the hive to control weeds and SHB burrowing into the soil in its reproduction cycle.
Having the hive legs in an oil solution will be a big help but I can’t see a benefit in vinegar soaked into the soil doing much really. I look for ant nests in the grass and sprinkle ant dust that I buy from Coles and within a week the ant nest is dead, the bees show no interest in the ant dust at all.
Ants and SHB are my biggest problem here.

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Thanks for the advice Peter.

Hi Peter,
What is the active ingredient in the ant dust?

Hi Weber, I’m not really sure as the ant dust is out at my apiary. But next time you are in a Coles store you can check it out. I have been using it around my home and at my apiary for ant control for at least 15 years. My hives are on stands on the ground, not concrete, and I first used it in desperation and whatever is in the ant dust the bees are not attracted to it but the ants are so it works for me.

With Travis in Central Queensland, he probably has his hives elevated to prevent cane toads eating his bees. In that case the active ingredient in the ant dust would probably be too far away from the bees to be an issue for them. Also the ants take the ant dust back to their nest.

I’ve never had issues with ants in my normal hives. Only once with my observation hive where I used cooking spray to get rid of the ants. That didn’t disturb the bees in the slightest.

Having said that, I do have one hive that’s always covered with tiny ants, but I don’t treat them. Flow hives have plenty of places where ants like to nest. Cooking spray in those places would no doubt stop them.

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My top bar hive had a major ant invasion. Cinnamon sprinkles stopped it completely.
Those people who say cinnamon doesn’t work, have used a cinnamon substitute, that is still named cinnamon. One needs to ensure it’s 100% cinnamon on the ingredients list. Best organic certified, to be sure.
Someone I know killed his entire colony with so called ant sand. He sprinkled a good layer of it on the coreflute slider, next day most of his bees were dead. Fipronil (?) fumes. That’s why I was asking.
He had no idea it kills bees. He put a thick layer of it onto the coreflute, I would say at least 100g.
If you think an apithor trap has less than half a gram, that’s overkill for any insect. Just to kill a few ants, that around here never killed a bee colony anyway.
Ant sand is best handled with great care. But I know there are different types. All insecticides though.

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That was a hard lesson learnt. Someone told me that Ant Sand contained Lorsban. I know that’s fairly potent & gives off nasty fumes.

It is amazing that some people lack the ability to think clearly about what they are using and put an ant dust inside a bee hive. That logic is on par with spraying the hive with something like Baygon and expecting it to only kill the ants.
The only way to eradicate an ant problem is to the kill the nest. Using common sense and sprinkling it on the nest that is in the ground away from the hive won’t harm the bees in any way.
I have dusted nests for over 15 years with no harm at all to the bees, they don’t show any interest in it at all, but using it IN a hive is asking for a dead hive.

I have heard that “Cinnamon”, is a good deterrent for ants. The conversation above has mentioned “Ant Sand”. I’m trying to understand if people are confusing “Ant Sand with pure 'Cinnamon”. I have a problem in my Brood Box, and would value clarification on the above. I’m about to dismantle and clean my Brood box, so great wisdom would be appreciated.

I believe ant sand is being referred as either dust/ powder or granules (insecticide in solid form). The coles bought item Peter is referring to could be a number of products:

  • Antex Ant Killer Granules
  • Hovex Ant Kill Powder
  • Hortico And and Roach Dust

The active ingredient in Hovex and Hortico product is Permethrin which is extremely toxic to bees - even the fumes.

Antex uses Bifenthrin as the active ingredient. It is just as toxic if it comes in contact directly with bees, but less likely to fume.

I wouldn’t be applying any of the products in or around the hive except at the site of an ants nest. It’s less likely a bee will forage or be curious at an ants nest.

As Fred has said about the ant dust. I use it by sprinkling it at the ant nest entrance, I follow the ant trail away from the hive and find the tell tail small mound of dirt for the entrance to the nest which I have found as 20 metres away from my hives, and it doesn’t attract bees if used that way. But don’t use it at all in a hive.
Cinnamon powder is something others say it a good fix but I haven’t used it, however using automotive grease on the hive stand legs does work as well as putting the hive stand legs in a fruit tin and a couple of cm’s of engine oil is also effective.

Fred is 100% right. Those ant dust/granules products are either Permethrin or Bifenthrin and both are contact killers. They don’t have to ingest it to die.

Ant and bees are in the same order of insects, Hymenoptera, and what kills ants, will kill bees.

Cinnamon will work on some species, but not others. Like most natural solutions, it will also need frequent top ups. There are so many species of ants and each will need a different strategy to control.

The company that does my termite inspections wanted to use ant granules that had Hydramethylnon as an active ingredient. I’m also seeing this product for sale at Bunnings now. Apparently it is quite effective on a range of ant species and the pest company told me it is the “professional stuff”. When I read about it I found it is very toxic to fish, and that’s the problem I see. You dump these chemicals in the environment and eventually they will end up in water streams and wreak havoc somewhere else out of sight. I hate to use them.

I think physical barriers are the best solution, and we just have to maintain them regularly. Or the pet aardvark.

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Aardvark? I think you mean echidna cobber. :grin:
No more introduced species thanks.


No. No no no Mr Skeggley. An Aardvark!

I can’t cuddle an echidna. It has to be a pet aardvark.


Sorry skeggley, I’m misbehaving again. Cedar is going to kick me out.

On a serious note, I do have echidnas on my property and that’s another reason why I don’t want to poison ants.

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