Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ant Invasion on Planet B

I wanted to inspect my colonies a few times for the last 2 weeks but each time I would get a stomach feeling not to open the hives. I respected that feeling and did nothing. But today I've got a strong feeling to do the inspection. I sneaked into the bee suit, armed myself with a spray bottle, long bread knife and a bee brush.

Once I opened the first hive I knew why I've got that strong stomach feeling to open the hives today!
Ants all over the hive! The bees were buzzing very loud trying to shake the ants off with their wings. 
The ants actually moved under the hive roof. Here you can see eggs and a few ant Queens too.
I mean why not move into a bee colony; bees feed your colony with free honey. Smart!

But I decided to intervene and evict the ants from 2 hives which were infested with them. I could see ants hanging on bees trying to kill them. The colonies were under enormous stress trying to get rid of them. It seemed as the ants were winning the battle ... until the bees' bee guardian came into the picture and removed them. I literally destroyed the ant colonies. I was their Armageddon. Im sorry it came to this but they could have chosen to build a home somewhere else. 

The bees felt I was killing the ants since not even one bee attacked me and they were very agitated because of the ants.
I will check those 2 hives in a few days just to make sure the ants are gone.
What a beautiful brood pattern. This Queen is good :)
All 10 colonies have a laying Queen. Some have the old one and others a newly mated Queen. Its nice to see them all have new eggs, larvae in all stages and capped brood. I could see just a few house bees with deformed wing virus caused by Varroa but that is not a big issue.
a gorgeous free-mated top bar hive Queen :) Im in love with her :))
Worker Bees gorging on the honey
For those of you interested how my "Bee-friendly Super Top Bar Hives" are doing here is an image showing positive results :) Only one hive decided to move up and start building new honey combs. Even though the Queen can go up she decided not to. They are building without any wax guides totally wild but as you can see they do keep the as straight as they do in the top bar hive :)


  1. Ugh look at those ants! There are so many queens -- there must be at least a dozen colonies. Poor bees!

    I feel for you. I installed bees into a hive about 3 1/2 weeks ago. When I checked them after a week, there was an ant nest the size of my fist on top of the bars. I kept brushing them off, but they found little crevices to hide in. A couple of days ago, I did an inspection and found a fist-sized ant nest in my other hive. Impulsively, I doused the ants with orange oil and sprinkled cinnamon on top of the bars. I also spread petroleum jelly on the legs and sprinkled the ground with coffee, cinnamon, and pulverized citrus peels. Today, I removed the roofs and saw that the hive that got a liberal dose of orange oil has no ants. The other hive (which only got have doused because I ran out of oil) had a few ants, but nothing terrible.

    Good luck fighting off those ants!

    1. They sure can devistate a colony! I will check again in a few days to see if there is any ant activity in the hives

  2. Hi Dusko, I notice your supered hives have room for the bees to move up at each end of the colony. I assume the main brood nest is near the entrance, is this the end they have moved up from?

    1. Hi Dewey! No the slit is at the back of the last honey comb :) My idea was to make sure they store enough downstairs and then move up if they see fit. I am testing now with to slits both at the back and front. Will report

  3. I have a weak hive (my fault entirely) that was besieged with black ants of every size from tiniest to just short of carpenter ant size. The bees were already spending most of their time and resources fighting off the ants. When I took off a top bar over the bee area, bees would come out *carrying* ants almost as big as they were and flying off with the struggling ant, presumably to drop them somewhere to their deaths. I'm sure the bees would have absconded from this miserable hive but there weren't enough of them to make a swarm. I moved the feeder jar into the bee area, made sure the follower board fit tightly, made sure the top bars were all tight (I had to block one gap with a small rock) and...yes, I did it...I mixed Borax with sugar and put those traps upside down on the ground around the hive. A week later, there were only a few ants nosing around under the lid, the bees are much calmer and I saw capped brood. Ants have their place in the scheme of things, but these ants had to go. Hopefully this hive will be able to get their population up and so be less vulnerable to ants. Good luck with yours.

    1. Marysia2 thank you for sharing. I would never ever use Borax near my bee colonies since it can cause damage to bees and bee brood the same way it does to the ants. I advize all reading this to stay away from all form of insecticide even if considered "natural".

      Im sure i got and problems because of the tall grass around the hives. Keeping the grass short is important. If Im to add anything into my hives or around them is Cynamon which repels ants. Another way is to dip the hive legs into small containers with water and add 1 drop of dishwashing liquid to remove the water surface tension so ants cant walk on water.

      Also building hives so they have no cracks for ants to enter.

      Bee well and good luck with yourstoo :)