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john berry

Ants attack.

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Last Sunday I checked a hive for a friend who  is way too pregnant to do it herself. The hive had swarmed sometime before but had a new Queen laying with plenty of brood and  was reasonably strong and on a honey flow.It was also getting full and needed a box.

This Sunday I went to give it the new box and the first thing I noticed was hundreds of ants on every outside surface. When I opened the hive there were ants everywhere, two thirds of the bees from last week were gone and those that were left were huddled on one side of the hive. Ants were actively  cleaning out what had been healthy brood the week before.

I have seen thousands of hives with ants being a nuisance but I have never seen a hive destroyed like this. I will go back tomorrow and lay poison as well as setting the whole hive up on a tray in which I will put water with a few drops of oil.

It's not often I see a beekeeping problem which I have never seen before and really don't know the best way to deal with . I would appreciate any words of wisdom from people who have had this problem. I think I might collect a few of the ants to and just see if I can find out what species are in case it has some new bio security catastrophe.

 

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Is it the Argentine ants.  They are the only ones that I know of the really go into the beehive itself.

http://www.pestworld.org/media/561604/argentine-ant-2-no-text.jpg

 

They are a real problem.  

I have no experience with them at all.

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12 minutes ago, john berry said:

I think I might collect a few of the ants to and just see if I can find out what species are in case it has some new bio security catastrophe.

 

Photo please. Probably Argentine or Darwin ants.   Only became a problem because of the usual bleeding heart anti-vaxxing hollow moon believers wouldn't allow

local authorities to lay poison down when they first arrived.

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

Photo please. Probably Argentine or Darwin ants.   Only became a problem because of the usual bleeding heart anti-vaxxing hollow moon believers wouldn't allow

local authorities to lay poison down when they first arrived.

Do you know what the really tinny very invasive black ants are that are in the nelson area are ?

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I think someone in West Auck makes a pheromone trap for Argentinian ants, also make other pheromone traps, sorry don't know company name. CEO spoke at the NZ Beekeeping Inc day at Kumeu a couple of years ago.

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2 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Do you know what the really tinny very invasive black ants are that are in the nelson area are ?

Native I believe

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I tell you what, if these ants can do this to a healthy hive in one week then we are all in a power of trouble.

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Around Auck, they are often found in the vicinity of retirement villages - they come in inn peoples favourite pot plants when they shift in.

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4 minutes ago, yesbut said:

Native I believe

Oh god , does that mean they are protected .

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@john berry , do the ants look like these https://www.google.com/search?q=argentine+ants+nz&sxsrf=ACYBGNRVb-3xysyUsDebeXgRfi2Drmpbiw:1575793050192&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii1fvHzqXmAhVFWysKHbI7BbEQ_AUoAXoECBIQAw&biw=1366&bih=657

 

Another way of identifying if they're Argentiine ants is put your hand touching the frames - if the ants immediately crawl over your hands, then they're likely to be Argentine ants. (Be sure to wipe them off before going to another place.)

 

Our club hives have been infested with these ants. We've installed containers filled with water, that the hives sit in. So far they have reduced the ant's infestation, but some ants somehow still get across the water. I have used dishwashing detergent in the water, but I'm not sure yet if that works. I am still monitoring this. I have also used ant poison but I don't think this is having an impact.

 

From what I have been reading (via a Landcare webby), there is no 100% effective poison that will exterminate these ants. Reduce, maybe, I don't know.

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https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/animal-pests/argentine-ants/

 

I didn't realise these things were so spread throughout the country.  I remember nearly 20 years ago seeing an AsureQuality presentation on these ants and they are quite capable of killing newborn stock and attacking human babies, and nesting in electrical wiring causing disruption to the power supply. 

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1 hour ago, Maggie James said:

and nesting in electrical wiring causing disruption to the power supply. 

The three double power points in my downstairs bedroom all stopped working about the same time. Ants or some similar sized creature had packed the tiny cavities inside the 

switch units within the hot points with a micro version of a rat's nest. 

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Interesting video about argentine ants if you want to learn about how they are taking over the world... 

 

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17 hours ago, Alastair said:

I had one site that had argentine ants, then one day I went there and under the hive lids, instead of argentine ants, there were a large black ant. I can only assume these ants have been able to defeat the argentine ants, and these ants do not bother the bees. So I have intentionally captured some of these ants and spread them to some of my other apiaries. 

 

I have had other people opening hives with me and they go "Wow so many ants!" I go yes, and I love them. 🙂

@Alastair

Do you know what kind of ants these are?

If not, can you collect some and either send them my way or to your local museum for identification?

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Sure i can send you some Otto, i don't know you contact, please find my email address in my profile and pop me a message.

 

Let's know if you would like a queen and the essentials to start a colony, or just a few workers.

 

About the only black ant I can positively identify is white footed house ants (i once did a course on those and argentine ants). But these ants are bigger than that, they are not the big jawed native ones though.

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Went back today and  placed the hive onto plastic trays filled with water. Huge ants nest directly under the floor. One and a half boxes of bees a week ago down to four frames now. The bees had completely abandoned the brood which was still hatching with the bees being dismembered as they emerged. Lots of bees being pulled apart outside as well. We laid two types of bait plus the water and trays so hopefully they will survive but I'm not holding my breath. The bees were behaving like hives I have seen that have been totally overrun by wasps and they just seem to lose the will to defend themselves.

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John the best bait for argentine ants is Xstinguish, can't remember who sells it but you can get a big tube of it for maybe $100 or so that you dispense with a mastik gun.

 

It is supposedly bee repellant but me, I put dabs of it under bits of wood just to be sure the bees wouldn't get it.

 

It is fiprinol based so if you don't get all the ants quick enough the survivors go off it. So best to do a thorough job first time. The ants will probably re invade in time though because they can be spread across hectares, you kill an area but eventually they come back.

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30 minutes ago, john berry said:

placed the hive onto plastic trays filled with water

 

The problem with placing the hive on stands with water and oil, is that dust settles on the surface and the ants will walk over this and then up into the hive.

 

My first hive was on Huntsbury Hill in Christchurch.  I escaped a honey super and in no time it was filled with Darwin ants.  I immediately took the super off and put it in the freezer.  Fortunately I only had a few hives, cos the freezer would not have been big enough!  Darwin ants have a horrible smell when crushed, and have a marching season.  My family never went on holiday during the marching season and as a result the house was free of Darwin ants.  Apparently the andts came in via Lyttelton.

 

I made special metal brackets with raised steel legs on which the hives nicely sat, and put the legs in old salmon tins with oil and then tried water, but it was useless cos of the dust with the wind on the surface, the ants still had access.  With the Darwin ants, I found it a nuisance with escaping honey, so this apiary I always brushed the bees off the frames before extraction.

The other day in Sydenham, ChCh, visiting a friend and lying on the lawn chatting, next thing the Darwin ants were crawling all over us!  yuk and they seemed to bite!

 

 

You know, one of the good things about this forum, is this type of discussion. 

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On 8/12/2019 at 6:31 PM, john berry said:

It's not often I see a beekeeping problem which I have never seen before and really don't know the best way to deal with . I would appreciate any words of wisdom from people who have had this problem. I think I might collect a few of the ants to and just see if I can find out what species are in case it has some new bio security catastrophe.

 

i've seen it in nelson, ants wiped out an otherwise strong and healthy hive owned by a friend of mine.

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