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Hi. I've got an infestation of ants in 3 of my 4 hives. They have taken a liking to the honey supers that I left on as there wasn't enough honey that was worth harvesting. A workmate of mine told me that ants won't cross copper. So I was thinking an easy, cost effective way to stop them getting into my boxes would be to staple some copper wire around the bottom board. Has anyone tried this?

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Well I tried both the green grass under the hive lid and the copper wire stapled to the floorboard methods with two different hives. Went back two days later and no ants in either hive! The ants defin

yes green grass works very well, cheap too

Thanks for the update- good to know about the copper wire. Remember, the grass needs to be fresh. It looses effectiveness as it dries.

2 hours ago, Nick Thompson said:

A workmate of mine told me that ants won't cross copper.

 

That is effective against snails and slugs.  It is not effective against ants.

There are lots of ant deterrents. 

 

1 hour ago, yesbut said:

I've read somewhere to keep a handful of green grass under the lid....

As #yesbut has said.  

Fresh green grass under the lid.

Cinnamon, 

Nutmegs

lavender essential oils.

 

and probably a lot of others.

Ants are not a problem unless they are argentine ants

 

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@Nick Thompson

I can endorse the fresh green grass as a deterrent. Just make sure you have destroyed the eggs on the crown board - if there are some.

What type of base do you have?

Is it an option to  stand the feet in a container of water-  making a moat the ants can't cross.

Is it possible to follow the trails and locate where the nest is and bait there?

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1 hour ago, Mummzie said:

@Nick Thompson

I can endorse the fresh green grass as a deterrent. Just make sure you have destroyed the eggs on the crown board - if there are some.

What type of base do you have?

Is it an option to  stand the feet in a container of water-  making a moat the ants can't cross.

Is it possible to follow the trails and locate where the nest is and bait there?

I only had a quick look in the honey supers as I  didn't have my bee suit with me, I saw ant eggs in the top of one of the hives. I'll  take a proper look through the hives tomorrow. My plan at this stage, is to put the honey frames in the freezer to destroy the ants in the hives

 I'll try the green grass method in combination with stapling some copper wire I have laying around in my garage. Thanks for all the feedback. 

 

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i had some ants in a hive, chucked a handful of grass, parsley, and mint on the hive mat. no more ants. Cause or correlation? dunno. If causal, which plant matter was responsible? dunno. I'd do it again though. What i probably won't do again ever is a coreflute hive mat that ants can set up a nest in - you're not running coreflute are you? if so, also suggest removing that :)

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11 hours ago, tommy dave said:

i had some ants in a hive, chucked a handful of grass, parsley, and mint on the hive mat. no more ants. Cause or correlation? dunno. If causal, which plant matter was responsible? dunno. I'd do it again though. What i probably won't do again ever is a coreflute hive mat that ants can set up a nest in - you're not running coreflute are you? if so, also suggest removing that :)

No coreflute, I use polystyrene. 

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9 minutes ago, Nick Thompson said:

No coreflute, I use polystyrene. 

 

That may be part of the problem.  Ants love the warmth of Polystyrene. It keeps them nice and warm and no draughts.

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Well I tried both the green grass under the hive lid and the copper wire stapled to the floorboard methods with two different hives. Went back two days later and no ants in either hive! The ants definitely didn't like the copper wire when I first installed it, stopping their trail. It'll be interesting if it works in the long term! I removed ants and eggs from under the lids before I did the two methods so disturbing them may have helped. 

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Thanks for the update- good to know about the copper wire.

Remember, the grass needs to be fresh. It looses effectiveness as it dries.

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On 8/05/2020 at 1:12 PM, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Ants are not a problem unless they are argentine ants

ChCh has quite a few areas with Darwin ants.  When you squash them they smell.  And they certainly love honey. 

 

The problem with containers of water is that debris gets in the water and dust on top, then the ants are able to walk across the water.  

 

Interesting reading about the copper on the bottom board and grass under the hive lid.  I presume that you would have to replenish the grass.  

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1 hour ago, Maggie James said:

I presume that you would have to replenish the grass. 

Yes.  It is the moisture they don't like.

Grass is just the carrier.

Interesting about the Darwin ants. Thanks

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10 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Interesting about the Darwin ants. Thanks

Unfortunately Darwin ants came in via Port Lyttelton, and the southern suburbs have these, but I don't go to ChCh much these days so it is highly likely they have spread to other points of the compass.  My parents lived on Huntsbury Hill and had it down to a fine art.  Darwin ants have a marching season, so they never (mum & dad that is) went on holiday then.  Instead they put out baits, yes even in the kitchen but they were very fussy about what food was in the cupboards then.  Because of this they never had an issue with the critters in their house; unlike others.  They (ants, not my parents) just love the insides of fridges, dishwashers, ovens that don't have a good seal.

 

Re the Argentina Ants.  Over the last 20 years I have been to a lot of beekeeping talks, conferences, meetings etc and some definitely stay in your mind.  Nearly 20 years ago, I went to a ChCh Hobbyist Club AGM and Tony Roper gave a really good PowerPoint presentation on Argentina ants.  If you ever thought the rats would take over the world, you were left with no doubt at the end of this presentation that it was going to be Argentina Ants.  Scary stuff.  I was very surprised recently, to see on the forum, how widespread these critters are now throughout NZ.  

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On 12/05/2020 at 12:33 PM, Nick Thompson said:

Well I tried both the green grass under the hive lid and the copper wire stapled to the floorboard methods with two different hives. Went back two days later and no ants in either hive! The ants definitely didn't like the copper wire when I first installed it, stopping their trail. It'll be interesting if it works in the long term! I removed ants and eggs from under the lids before I did the two methods so disturbing them may have helped. 

i'm going to trial the copper wire on a hive next time i see high ant numbers.

Another tool is always useful. Just naked copper wire? gauge?

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On 8/05/2020 at 11:12 AM, yesbut said:

I've read somewhere to keep a handful of green grass under the lid....

yes green grass works very well, cheap too

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The ants I have/had are, from Maggie's description are Darwin ants as my apiary is just over the hill from Lyttelton. We have them at home in St Martins too (Christchurch southern suburb). The gauge of wire I used was I'm guessing 1mm, two lengths. I haven't replenished grass so will check hives tomorrow. Thanks for tip about moisture I wondered why the green grass was effective. 

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