I walked up to the hives one morning and noticed ants crawling around. Ugh! I knew exactly why, because I remembered leaving a small sugar syrup spill in the feeder box. Shame on me. I quickly ran and grabbed a wet towel, opened the top cover and wiped up the syrup. I also wiped all around the hives to clear off the ants. I haven’t seen any since, but I certainly learned my lesson about leaving sugary messes around the hive.
Ants are a big problem for many beekeepers, but I learned an easy way to mitigate this issue long term. Two gentlemen from the Frederick County Beekeeping Association (FCBA) use PVC caps at the base of their hive stands to keep the ants and other ground climbing pests off of their hives.
Dave Maloney, President of the FCBA put four of his hives on stands with legs. The legs have bolts set in PVC caps filled with vegetable oil. “No ants in those hives”, he claims.
Chuck Schwalbe also uses PVC caps to keep the ants out of his hives. He says, “I screwed lag bolts into the bottom of the legs of my hive stand. These sit in PVC end caps. When filled with water, the moat keeps ants and earwigs at bay. Its a lot more durable and cleaner than tack trap or grease around the base. Rain usually keeps the cups full. Flooding them with a bucket of water flushes debris out.”
Have you used this method or other methods to keep ants and climbing pests at bay? Leave a comment and tell us your methods and experiences keeping ants and other pesky climbing insects from entering your bee hives!