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Fast Tony

Wood Ash for ant or mite control?

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hi all,

been a while since logged in here,...and just to clarify,...am in the states in Southern California. Mild Winter,..lots of rain lately, and spring weeks away, tons of pollen cominig into the hvies today....and noticed a lot of ants just now. I use a woodstove to heat my cabin, so I always save the wood ash for the garden. Anyways,... i just sprinkled some small amounts around the legs of some hive stands and around some hives which are seated on on a pallot also that looked like a ton of ants were moving in on, black ants. I've used green grass before, have heard about corn starch, oil moats,..etc.. for ant detterent,..when i put some pollen patties made with sugar and pollen under the lids mid-winter..i used green grass under the lids and ants were deterred,..but now, there's tons of fresh grass and lots of activity (incuding ants) Since i just sprinkled the wood ash and did my best to keep it in tight lines, (not that it won't blow with wind or wash away with rain,). the ants,....pretty much stopped instantly, so was just curious ...has anybody had any luck with this technique?,...and I was also wondering about the possiblity of using it under my hives below screen bottom boards for SHB..which I know is not in NZ,..but thinking similar to Diatamacious earth using the wood ash...have been lucky so far no problems with mites,..but thought this might be good on screen bottom board for mites also and beetles,..becuase I know some people use wood ash mixed with sand, 1 to 1 to keep mites off chickens...just wondering,..got me thinking,..since oil in a pan is bad technique for under screen bottom when it gets hot....as it gets rather smelly quickly and goes off. Ok..thanks

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Just a little update.... the wood ash knocked the ants out right away, and seemed to do a good job of keepng them away, even up to a few weeks later so far, ..without re-applying the ash.

I'm gonna keep on with it, when need be, since I have plenty of wood ash.

 

There are some decades old ant colonies not far away on and around some 100+ year old Oak trees that surround the yard.

 

I only used the ash around the legs of solo behive stands I built with screen bottom boards built in.

I haven't used any wood ash in the screen bottom boards direcdtly under the hives because, there's been no pests.

 

In early January, (mind you this in California, ending mild winter at that time) ... I had seen a small amount of small hive beetles that popped up over winter when populations went a little low...and I filled foil casserole dishes with veg oil, and put those in the screen bottom boards, and in combination with early spring and mild temps here,...all hives starting populate well, and as of a month ago,..zero hive beetles.

 

I've never even treated for mites, as when I've done inspections checking a few larvae, and bees themselves,...no mites at all, since August, when I started the apiary. I even use a magnifier to really look at the bees up close and the bees and brood are mite free.

 

I had pondered putting wood ash in the screen bottom boards under the hives in the event beetles pop up when it starts to get hot (becuase oil gets rancid or smelly and beetles start to avoid the screen bottom boards once dead beetles might start sitting in the oil for even a few days.)

 

So far seems like the hives are getting strong enough,..they are keeping any pests at bay and looking healthy, populating away, and started to store lots of pollen and nectar.

 

I do think the ash could be a good preventative for mites, working like diatamaceous earth, but I'm thinking, do I really need to run prevenative measures, because the hives are looking pretty good, and populations seem to be keeping the hives clean and healthy so far,..., and unless the weather turns, I try to inspect the hives no more or less than once every seven days to minimise stess on the bees.

 

I did have this thought...would you want wood ash blowing around up in your honey stores? Not that a lot of wind is going to run through the hive, but there is air circulating in some spots and you know how easy ash can blow around.

 

The hive stands do elevate the hives just enough to make it easier to work them.

I can only say, if the majority of honey is in supers above, maybe not so much an issue, and I'm leaning towards not using excluders.

We're not even talking a dozen hives, so it's not a big apiary.

 

I also had a random thought,..I know that wood ash, while being used to supplement or ammend soil, can make it go maybe too basic sometimes, for some things you might be growing...but that it contains so many useful essential minerals that comes from the burnt wood,...essential minerals, some say we can't even get in our food we consume any longer and that the wood ash is one of the few ways to put it back into plants you might want to surround your apiary with or from crops you want to grow to consume.

 

Something like 90 or so essential minerals people need for good health....so I have been thinking if i do use the wood ash close to the honey production,..is it bad, or could it actually add some positive addittion to the honey, if it can get any of the essential minerals? Not sure...probably only can benefit the plants and in turn the nectar that comes out of them.

 

I would just rely (in this small quanity i'm working with) on the good old fashioned taste test and see,...well how does the honey taste?

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