Ants in a beehive

Ants in the hive

Rowe Apiaries - ants in the beehive - Sophia Rowe

Ants in the beehive - Rowe Apiaries

We had never had ants in our hives. Ever. Until this summer, the bees had successfully kept the ants away from their honey. So, as I walked around our honey hive, I was alarmed to see the ants marching  and disappearing under the lid. My smoker was stubbornly failing to smoke and I began to contemplate opening the hive without it. The temperatures were rising rapidly. I still had not had a chance to do my pre-summer inspection. I was to harvest the honey and take care of the bees that morning. I was very disappointed to find little honey in the top boxes until I found that the reason was very obvious: ants. The colony was healthy. The young queen was laying well. Yet, the colony stayed directly under the top box. It never happened to me before: the colonies always grew to occupy the entire double deep super. The reason was that I, out of curiosity (yes, curiosity often gets me), decided to use canvas cloth, instead of the half inner covers, over the side openings. That, I thought, would prevent the spiders and wasps from getting under those covers and feasting on the bees. There were no spiders or wasps, but ants, as you can see from the picture, made a nice nursery there, right next to the food, were the bees could not get to them. The colony below had plenty of stores and brood to grow. I took six frames with sealed honey from them (it would usually be 12 or more frames) and dusted the colony with the cedar sawdust. I placed the half inner covers on the hive and walked away. A note for the future: use canvas cloths in the winter, never in the summer, and never block the access to the other side for the bees.

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