Hello and please help - ants in the bee house

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Aleks 

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Hello everyone, I am Aleks based in Midlands. I joined this forum as while we don't keep bees as such we do have a couple of large shop bought wooden bee houses/hides. It seems that it has attracted a lot of bees this year which is great we see them go in and do their work. However in the last couple of days we noticed that there are a lot of black ants all around the bee house and also going in to the opening where the bees normally go. I am not sure if this is bad for the bees as I noticed one bee was hesitant to go back into the hole where the ants were walking about. Can anyone help to understand if firstly, this is an issue for bees? and secondly if it is an issue, what is the safest way without disrupting the bees to perhaps redirect the ants somewhere else in the garden. To add further context the bee house is attached on a hook to the wall outside. Many thanks in advance.
 

Antipodes 

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Hello everyone, I am Aleks based in Midlands. I joined this forum as while we don't keep bees as such we do have a couple of large shop bought wooden bee houses/hides. It seems that it has attracted a lot of bees this year which is great we see them go in and do their work. However in the last couple of days we noticed that there are a lot of black ants all around the bee house and also going in to the opening where the bees normally go. I am not sure if this is bad for the bees as I noticed one bee was hesitant to go back into the hole where the ants were walking about. Can anyone help to understand if firstly, this is an issue for bees? and secondly if it is an issue, what is the safest way without disrupting the bees to perhaps redirect the ants somewhere else in the garden. To add further context the bee house is attached on a hook to the wall outside. Many thanks in advance.
Ants are the dominant insects in Australia with more than 600 species. They are a constant here, and I battle with them trying to get at honey stored in frames or "stickies" or anywhere there is a hint of honey. One way I stop them is to put moats around (either water or some sort of oil), so that the ants would have to cross the moat to get to the honey. They won't, so that can help.

What sort of bees are they? Perhaps a photo of the bee house and they way it is positioned would help?
 

Aleks 

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Ants are the dominant insects in Australia with more than 600 species. They are a constant here, and I battle with them trying to get at honey stored in frames or "stickies" or anywhere there is a hint of honey. One way I stop them is to put moats around (either water or some sort of oil), so that the ants would have to cross the moat to get to the honey. They won't, so that can help.

What sort of bees are they? Perhaps a photo of the bee house and they way it is positioned would help?
Hello and thank you for your response. I think they are honey bees but I am not certain. I attach a video of one of the bees a few days ago before noticing the ants and a couple of photos. I can see that the ants seem to be hogging one of the openings within the house one is even on the photo if you look closely. Interesting point you make about moats, though as the house is against the wall not sure if that would work without having to move the bees. Though perhaps we can think of putting something on the wall around the house to prevent them from entering any further.
 

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hemo 

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Solitary bee houses are what they are, honeybees have no interest in them.
Typically Mason bees, Leaf cutter bees use these types of nesting sites as do some much smaller type of soiltary bee possibly Adrenna type.
As can be seen the ants pose no threat or danger to the bees, some 45 - 50% of the openings have been sealed by the bees and nest years offspring will emerge in Spring.
 

Aleks 

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Solitary bee houses are what they are, honeybees have no interest in them.
Typically Mason bees, Leaf cutter bees use these types of nesting sites as do some much smaller type of soiltary bee possibly Adrenna type.
As can be seen the ants pose no threat or danger to the bees, some 45 - 50% of the openings have been sealed by the bees and nest years offspring will emerge in Spring.
Thank you for clarifying, as you can tell I had no idea. Still love that they come to our garden.
Also thank you for explaining the danger situation, I was quite concerned to see lots of ants last night and thought they may discourage the bees as they seemed quite hesitant entering the house. Lots of learning already and I appreciate the feedback, it will definitely help.
Just out of interest, if the openings were not as sealed as they are, would there be anything you would recommend? I am thinking of getting more bee houses and likely this will probably happen again in the future :)
Thank you
 

hemo 

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They can vary in their use, last year my home made ones didn't get much if a look in and barely 30% were filled, this year the bees mainly Mason bees but also some much smaller ones have filled about 80% so far and not yet seen a leaf cutter. I made another this week
I also have some (about 12) old rawl plug holes in the wall by the front door and every year they get used best position is southerly /SE facing where they get the morning & early afternoon sun.
 

hemo 

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Mine aren't as elaborate as yours, I just drill various size holes in a block of wood and then use some old board to make a chalet/pitch roof to keep them simple looking. The bees are docile/placid and not phased by us being near by or in the way, they just fly around us as we are just an obstacle in the way.
 

Aleks 

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Mine aren't as elaborate as yours, I just drill various size holes in a block of wood and then use some old board to make a chalet/pitch roof to keep them simple looking. The bees are docile/placid and not phased by us being near by or in the way, they just fly around us as we are just an obstacle in the way.
Thank you again, it is quite fascinating to learn all of this. I have had these houses last year but there were only a few bees which then just disappeared. This year it seems a lot busier which is great. It is definitely nice to know that the houses don't have to be like the ones I bought. I always thought that bees would see mee near their house as a threat so I tried not to get too close but from what you describe it's good to know it is not the case at all. Really appreciate your input and time to reply. I might even get creative and try to make some houses. Thank you.
 

hemo 

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I'm often pottering around where my houses are sited carrying out garden maintenance and bird feeding etc, unlike social bees or semi social ones they have little time to be distracted. This year has been better then last year for them in my garden as to why I don't know.
 

Aleks 

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I'm often pottering around where my houses are sited carrying out garden maintenance and bird feeding etc, unlike social bees or semi social ones they have little time to be distracted. This year has been better then last year for them in my garden as to why I don't know.
That is certainly helpful to know for future as often I would leave the gardening bits around that area for later being cautious of the bee house. I have just been out and they seem to be busy going in and out which is great. Thank you again it is good to know if we are helping or hindering their progress.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I'm often pottering around where my houses are sited carrying out garden maintenance and bird feeding etc, unlike social bees or semi social ones they have little time to be distracted. This year has been better then last year for them in my garden as to why I don't know.
Last month there was a frenzy of drone mobbing. I sat and watched for ages in the sunshine.
 

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