Syrup and ants

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
Where we're located it's very dry and there isn't much about in terms of flowers offering nectar right now. Yesterday evening I added a feeder which is the type you place on the brood chamber and then put the crown board ontop of the feeder and then the lid back on. The feeder is the same dimensions as the crown board / brood chamber.

I did a quick check this morning and it has large quantities of small red ants around and in it. Those in it have died a sugary death. Ants are a right pain around here - stubborn and very hard to eliminate.

My assumption is that even if it looks a bit grim, I don't need to worry so long as the ants are not going into the brood chamber in any numbers. Is that right, or am I missing the point somewhere?

This hive in on 5 frames, swarm caught May 17th with first new brood emerging last week. Lots of capped brood and generally looking not bad with my inexperienced eyes.
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
No worries anymore. Once the bees realised the syrup was there the ants seems to have been give the heave-ho. No contest.
 

ericbeaumont 

Drone Bee
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
1,584
Reaction score
1,071
Location
North London, West Essex and Surrey
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
70
even if it looks a bit grim, I don't need to worry
Agree.

Different story if they set up in the box. I've seen nests take up one part and bees the rest, but the bees seems not to thrive; my solution was to transfer the bees to a new box, move the colony away and let the ants carry on.

Ants are another social insect and use pheromone to mark trails, so it's not much good just clearing them out and putting the hive in the same place.
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
Agree.

Different story if they set up in the box. I've seen nests take up one part and bees the rest, but the bees seems not to thrive; my solution was to transfer the bees to a new box, move the colony away and let the ants carry on.

Ants are another social insect and use pheromone to mark trails, so it's not much good just clearing them out and putting the hive in the same place.
I've been battling an ants nest in the wall with access through by an old wooden window for probably 10 years. Block it up, then come out inside....so I leave their gap and spray them most evenings to keep the population down. I really thought I'd got them last year, but saw them back again a few weeks ago. Still, soon, I'll have to replace that window (old wooden one), so when that happens I'll have access to the wall and will hopefully sort them once and for all. Clever little insects...if very annoying at times!
 

Steve A 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
2
Number of Hives
1
I have Ants accessing the top sugar syrup feeder (new package + mated Queen) which my mentor say's not to worry about however there are quite a few drowned one's which are mouldy - obvious question should I remove & clean the feeder bowl before replacing or totally remove it now as the population is growing & they seem to be happy with drawing out brood & starting to fill the empty frames. I'm quite happy & pleased with them, extremely nice & placid for a newbie to work with being Buckfastleigh abbey strain. I'm just concerned about the mouldy Ants 🤔 any advice on stopping them & cleaning up please 👍🤔🙂
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
I have Ants accessing the top sugar syrup feeder (new package + mated Queen) which my mentor say's not to worry about however there are quite a few drowned one's which are mouldy - obvious question should I remove & clean the feeder bowl before replacing or totally remove it now as the population is growing & they seem to be happy with drawing out brood & starting to fill the empty frames. I'm quite happy & pleased with them, extremely nice & placid for a newbie to work with being Buckfastleigh abbey strain. I'm just concerned about the mouldy Ants 🤔 any advice on stopping them & cleaning up please 👍🤔🙂
I have very limited experience, however the ants have not been an ongoing problem. In between feeds, once the bees have cleaned the feeder out I was able to brush the ants aside and collect them up. Yes there are still a few ants that seem to die in the syrup, however, I think the issue is more that it looks gross to us than the bees having a problem with it. So yes, I'd give a it a quick once over.

In terms of stopping feeding, how long have you had the package, how many frames have they drawn out and do you have lots of eggs, larvae and capped brood? I'm thinking that pretty soon (now to a week or so.....by me anyhow) blackberries and sweet chestnuts will be blooming in quantity, hence when that happens feeding shouldn't be necessary anyhow.
 

Steve A 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
2
Number of Hives
1
I have very limited experience, however the ants have not been an ongoing problem. In between feeds, once the bees have cleaned the feeder out I was able to brush the ants aside and collect them up. Yes there are still a few ants that seem to die in the syrup, however, I think the issue is more that it looks gross to us than the bees having a problem with it. So yes, I'd give a it a quick once over.

In terms of stopping feeding, how long have you had the package, how many frames have they drawn out and do you have lots of eggs, larvae and capped brood? I'm thinking that pretty soon (now to a week or so.....by me anyhow) blackberries and sweet chestnuts will be blooming in quantity, hence when that happens feeding shouldn't be necessary anyhow.
Thanks for the input, I've had them for 4 week's now ( 1st hive) & proud as punch to see my first little babies looking out of their cell's at the big wide world. Gone from 3 badly delivered frames (supposed to be 5) to 3 full brood Frames mixed with pollen & honey & drawing out another 2 all in the brood box. I'm waiting until they get to 7 Frames (from 11 BS) before adding Queen excluder & super.
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
Thanks for the input, I've had them for 4 week's now ( 1st hive) & proud as punch to see my first little babies looking out of their cell's at the big wide world. Gone from 3 badly delivered frames (supposed to be 5) to 3 full brood Frames mixed with pollen & honey & drawing out another 2 all in the brood box. I'm waiting until they get to 7 Frames (from 11 BS) before adding Queen excluder & super.
We're actually at the same stage. I caught two swarms (17th and 19th May), hence like a package, starting from zero in terms of frames. My current plan is to likely continue feeding until the end of next week and review. I say review as I do hive inspections on a Sunday and the blackberries are just coming in here, but sweet chestnut not quiet. Clover's also starting and I saw a small field of lavender this morning nearby so things are picking up. So will see how it's all looking in a weeks time. Like you I suspect I want to encourage them to push towards the 10 frames in order to add a super.

Will be interesting to hear the progress of your hive to compare with. Where abouts are you based?
 

ericbeaumont 

Drone Bee
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
1,584
Reaction score
1,071
Location
North London, West Essex and Surrey
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
70
Will be interesting to hear the progress of your hive to compare
A swarm will work twice as fast to establish as a regular colony, as it has fewer reserve resources and a narrower window of opportunity to build before winter.

Feed only to draw comb and prevent starvation: two brood combs of honey/syrup is more than sufficient between 7-day checks, supposing they couldn't fly to forage in the week.

Don't worry about mouldy ants, but do take action if the syrup begins to ferment. Taste it to check; if it has, wash out the feeder and start again.

You're right to watch forage plants, Richard. Sometimes they produce nectar at 5am but not when you look at lunchtime; if dry, not at all and if wet, nectar will be washed out.

Any lime trees in your area?
 

Steve A 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
2
Number of Hives
1
We're actually at the same stage. I caught two swarms (17th and 19th May), hence like a package, starting from zero in terms of frames. My current plan is to likely continue feeding until the end of next week and review. I say review as I do hive inspections on a Sunday and the blackberries are just coming in here, but sweet chestnut not quiet. Clover's also starting and I saw a small field of lavender this morning nearby so things are picking up. So will see how it's all looking in a weeks time. Like you I suspect I want to encourage them to push towards the 10 frames in order to add a super.

Will be interesting to hear the progress of your hive to compare with. Where abouts are you based?
I'm up in Leeds (UK) you? I've just done an inspection, removed and cleaned the top feeder replaced but only drinking water.
The girl's have been busy bringing back bright yellow & orange pollen however the frames seem to be in roughly the same situation as last week's inspection. Only 3 & 1/2 working frames with one more or less completely capped (I'm presuming brood) the others a mixture of pollen, capped & (hard to see if they held) egg's or small larvae... my eye's aren't that great ! Looking forward to hearing how you get on 👍☺
 

Oculentum 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 7, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
5
Location
Dorchester, Dorset
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
6
A light dusting of cinnamon powder around the area which the ants are using to access the hive usually discourages them. For a more permanent solution, mix boracic acid powder (borax) and icing sugar 1:1 by volume and dust the ant trail(s) - the ants carry the sweetened powder back to the nest, pass it around to their mates, and the powder then gums up their mouth parts leading to starvation. Either the queen ant gets a dose and suffers the same fate or she starves because eventually there aren't enough workers to keep her fed.
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
I'm up in Leeds (UK) you? I've just done an inspection, removed and cleaned the top feeder replaced but only drinking water.
The girl's have been busy bringing back bright yellow & orange pollen however the frames seem to be in roughly the same situation as last week's inspection. Only 3 & 1/2 working frames with one more or less completely capped (I'm presuming brood) the others a mixture of pollen, capped & (hard to see if they held) egg's or small larvae... my eye's aren't that great ! Looking forward to hearing how you get on 👍☺
Hi Steve - I'm in France near Perpignan. From my inspections this weekend the two warms I caught (May 17th and 19th) have seen massive population growth compared to 7 days ago. They were on 4 and 5 frames, and are now working on 6 and 7 respectively. None of those are 100% drawn and 2 in each hive are early days since last Sunday.

I'm continuing to feed until next weekend. I don't see much pollen coming in although there is some in their stores. in all honestly I don't understand their volume requirements for pollen relative to nectar.

Was yours a package or a nuc? You've mentioned both in previous posts. A nuc would come on frames where as a package not. If it's a nuc I'd have expected them to be a bit further ahead than they are - you might want to ask for advice on the forum if that is the case. That said, the capped brood sounds positive.
 

Steve A 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
2
Number of Hives
1
Hi Steve - I'm in France near Perpignan. From my inspections this weekend the two warms I caught (May 17th and 19th) have seen massive population growth compared to 7 days ago. They were on 4 and 5 frames, and are now working on 6 and 7 respectively. None of those are 100% drawn and 2 in each hive are early days since last Sunday.

I'm continuing to feed until next weekend. I don't see much pollen coming in although there is some in their stores. in all honestly I don't understand their volume requirements for pollen relative to nectar.

Was yours a package or a nuc? You've mentioned both in previous posts. A nuc would come on frames where as a package not. If it's a nuc I'd have expected them to be a bit further ahead than they are - you might want to ask for advice on the forum if that is the case. That said, the capped brood sounds positive.
Hi Richardk my Bee's were advertised as a package with mated Queen from Bee Supplies but came in 5 frame nuc box. One frame was totally disintegrated whilst one had a wooden frame but no wax ! Queen was in a plastic cage. I cleaned out the top feeder & replaced with water only after my inspection yesterday, one frame of tight capped brood another two drawn & scattering of pollen & eggs interestingly only 1 drone cell rest workers. Lot's of pollen starting to appear from bright yellow through golden orange to bluish gray ( elder & borage) workers really busy, active Queen. I will monitor the activity regarding Ants but hopefully they are deprived of syrup & won't be allowed or able to steal honey or pollen. Hopefully the other frames will start to be worked as the population expands & around the 7full frames mark I will add super & Queen excluder. That's the plan 👍☺it would be great to keep in touch 👋
 

Steve A 

New Bee
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
2
Number of Hives
1
A light dusting of cinnamon powder around the area which the ants are using to access the hive usually discourages them. For a more permanent solution, mix boracic acid powder (borax) and icing sugar 1:1 by volume and dust the ant trail(s) - the ants carry the sweetened powder back to the nest, pass it around to their mates, and the powder then gums up their mouth parts leading to starvation. Either the queen ant gets a dose and suffers the same fate or she starves because eventually there aren't enough workers to keep her fed.
Thanks for this 😊
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
A swarm will work twice as fast to establish as a regular colony, as it has fewer reserve resources and a narrower window of opportunity to build before winter.

Feed only to draw comb and prevent starvation: two brood combs of honey/syrup is more than sufficient between 7-day checks, supposing they couldn't fly to forage in the week.

Don't worry about mouldy ants, but do take action if the syrup begins to ferment. Taste it to check; if it has, wash out the feeder and start again.

You're right to watch forage plants, Richard. Sometimes they produce nectar at 5am but not when you look at lunchtime; if dry, not at all and if wet, nectar will be washed out.

Any lime trees in your area?
I'm certainly learning regarding flowers / nectar bearing flowers. It's a bit too cold here in winter for lime trees as we're at 350m altitude. Whilst not exactly high it does make all the difference to overnight / early morning temperatures. Back in February I was leaving home some days at 7am to -5 degrees.... yet 40 minutes down the road in Perpignan it was 3 or 4 degrees. Daytime is pretty much the same, perhaps warmer here, as the coast / Perpignan really suffers from strong winds.

The swarms I caught are just over 4 weeks old not (17th and 19th May). I'm keen to get them to push forward in building out the 10 frames in order to be able to add a super. Right now they are working on 6 & 7 respectively. Last week I've had a population explosion and I started feeding them last Tuesday evening. My assumption is that as younger bees (10 to 18 days I believe) are the best for wax production, by feeding them I will be giving them the 'energy' to get cracking on drawing out the comb. Is that right Eric? Or am I off course there with that idea?!
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
27,249
Reaction score
4,855
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
You should have started feeding them a few days after catching them when they were programmed for flat out comb drawing. Now, they will probably just store it so it's better to leave them build up at their own pace. Try not to put a super on until they've finished drawing the brood
 

RichardK 

House Bee
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
147
Reaction score
102
Location
Perpignan, France
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
2
You should have started feeding them a few days after catching them when they were programmed for flat out comb drawing. Now, they will probably just store it so it's better to leave them build up at their own pace. Try not to put a super on until they've finished drawing the brood
I realise that now... That was my first mistake & I'm sure there will be lots more. This last week is the first time they've started drawing out new frames since week 1 & 2. I can see they are storing some syrup, however, based on how much I fed last week most of it is being consumed. When you say 'finished drawing the brood', what do you mean? Are you referring to the number of frames with brood?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

International Beekeeper of Mystery
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
27,249
Reaction score
4,855
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
When you say 'finished drawing the brood', what do you mean? Are you referring to the number of frames with brood?
No, I mean wait until they have finished drawing all the frames in the brood box
 

W0otz 

New Bee
BeeKeeping Supporter
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
42
Reaction score
40
Location
Ashford, Kent
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
1
It's a bit too cold here in winter for lime trees as we're at 350m altitude. Whilst not exactly high it does make all the difference to overnight / early morning temperatures. Back in February I was leaving home some days at 7am to -5 degrees....
I think you're thinking lime trees as in trees that produce the citrus fruit. We're talking about a different tree, also commonly known as a linden, which would be fine with those temperatures.
 

Latest posts

Top