How to make an Ant Proof Beehive Stand

Baymule

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Hi
I noticed the Nuc’s you had sitting on your new ant proof hive stand in one of your photos. I am trying to figure out your entrance setup on them. Are those robbing screens you made to use on them while the nucs build in size?

We here in so cal have argentine ants which can devistate a colony in a day, cause them to abscond, etc. so this hive stand is a great design. I am using rebar stands with motor oil moats and trying to come up with an alternative to attach to the legs for ant control, I have a few ideas I plan to try. Vegetable oil is preferred in the oil moats however rats, mice, skunks and possibly raccoons consume it which defeats the purpose. I hate seeing my bees accidentally falling in and dying in the moats.

Have you tried using tangle foot in your reservoirs ... however very messy proposition if you ever have to clean it off and I do not know what melting temperature it has.

thanks !
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soarwitheagles

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Hi
I noticed the Nuc’s you had sitting on your new ant proof hive stand in one of your photos. I am trying to figure out your entrance setup on them. Are those robbing screens you made to use on them while the nucs build in size?

We here in so cal have argentine ants which can devistate a colony in a day, cause them to abscond, etc. so this hive stand is a great design. I am using rebar stands with motor oil moats and trying to come up with an alternative to attach to the legs for ant control, I have a few ideas I plan to try. Vegetable oil is preferred in the oil moats however rats, mice, skunks and possibly raccoons consume it which defeats the purpose. I hate seeing my bees accidentally falling in and dying in the moats.

Have you tried using tangle foot in your reservoirs ... however very messy proposition if you ever have to clean it off and I do not know what melting temperature it has.

thanks !
Hello Seamac!

I am happy to do my best to help you with good advice.

Yes, those were custom made anti-robber screens that we designed and created. I actually used computer screen parts for the construction! They were very effective during robbing season, but we no longer use that version. As a matter of fact, we do our best to stop all nuc building once the robbing season begins [when the nectar flow ceases].

Unfortunately, the picture I posted of those nucs with the custom anti-robber screens depicted nucs that nearly completely failed! And not because of robbing!

We had a 90% failure rate on those specific nucs because they were all white and placed close together [the queen could not find their way back to correct nuc].

Fast forward, now we consistently have a near 100% success rate with nucs. Reason?

1. Each nuc has a unique color, making it easy for the queen to find her way home.
2. Each nuc is separated far enough away from other nucs, making it easy for the queen to find her way home.
3. We switched to individual 5 frame nuc boxes instead of split nucs [split nucs = two nucs in one box].

Regarding the ant-proof beehive stands...

1. We have experienced 100% freedom from ants after moving all colonies off the ground and onto the ant-proof beehive stands...it is literally impossible for even one ant to touch the colonies.

2. We have 110F days sometimes and it does not melt the grease. Never tried the Tanglefoot. Cheap grease works.

3. Due to lots of wind and dust, we re-apply a thin layer of grease every spring [once a year], otherwise the ants begin to cross the grease barrier due to dust build up.

4. We tried the oil/water moats and were losing more bees than ants! Never again!

5. I have never found a more effective way to ant proof a bee colony. It simply works and it works well.

Hope this helps!

Here is a pic of our nuc yard earlier this year with nearly 100% success rate...in fact, we took 4 strong colonies and eventually built exactly 85 nucs in just a three months...that is a multiplication factor of over 20. We did graft our own queen cells and install them in the nucs...and the nucs all received five full frames of wax, with two frames of honey and one of pollen, so we created a perfect scenario for the bees and the nectar flow was on for most of that time.

And one pic again of the failed nucs from years ago...way too close together!

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Colorful paper to help queens.JPG
 
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Seamac

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Thanks for your reply,

Haha! I love the colorful graphics you applied to the face of the previous nuc'syou used to assist the queens!

I see you are in No Cal, (lucky you) I am in So Ca. What do your new robbing screens look like? I am plagued with usurpation as well as early season robbing considering my proximity to the San Diego border with locally defensive bees feral bees in the vicinity. It has been a challenge keeping colonies in a residential area from being overtaken. I back up to a canyon and the robbing screens go on my colonies in May! I am using the BeeSmart pvc/plastic version that attach with pushpins and they seem to be working against robbing.

Regarding colony usurpation, the standard suggestion and comment I receive from well meaning long time sage beekeepers that have seen this is "well if you keep your colonies strong, they can not be overtaken." Strong colonies or not, year after year I have had the same challenge due to my location. A commercial keeper friend working with locally defensive colonies informed me there is nothing that can stop a feral swarm with an attractive young queen/strong pheromones against a laying Italian queen. Backing that up, the friend of mine that kept giving me the sage advise just announced to me that 3 of his strong colonies were overtaken this year. HAH!

I was fortunate enough to witness and video the tail end of a usurpation when briefly going up to look at the syrup levels one day. The feral workers go into the colony, find and ball the Italian queen then somehow introduce the feral queen to take over. Unfortunately I could not upload the video however the vertical line of bees in the first image were seen marching into the colony. The bottom photo is what a usurpation swarm looks like in general; they typically are there for a few days prior to taking any action on entry into a colony. Since I have learned what to expect, I typically remove the colony by handful into a bucket which I dump onto newspaper then search for the feral queen then have control of the swarm. Obviously I am not up in my colonies all day to see what is happening and I sometimes I find a small swarm on the opposite side of the brood box ... clever bees! We have a lot of hungry bees here this time of year so I try to stay vigilant; if only I could come up with some method or contraption to keep these smaller queens out.

Dr. Wyatt Mangum has written many articles on this interesting situation in ABJ and this USDA ARS Online Magazine article is of interest https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2004/mar/bees

Thanks for your reply!


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