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Author Topic: Fire Ant barrier killing lots of bees?  (Read 1453 times)
New Bee
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Gender: Male
Posts: 20

Location: Moulton, Alabama in the Fairfield community

« on: March 29, 2011, 06:40:15 PM »

I have my hive on top of the plastic Dadant stand which has a "moat" around each leg that is used to be a fire ant barrier.  I saw on some website that some guy used burnt motor oil in the moat to serve as a barrier the ants wouldn't cross. Since we have an abundance of fire ants in our area,  I filled the moats about half way with burnt motor oil.

After the rain we had this past weekend, the moats overflowed and now are full of dead bees.  I'm not sure if they were in there before the rain fell or after the rain to collect the water and drowned in the oil as a result.  I'll try to post some photos and wait on your advice for fire ant control or using the moats as a barrier.

Well, I just found out I don't have enough posts to include photos so I'll follow instructions and allow the admin to take care of that for me later.

Mod update; here is the links:

« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 03:44:04 AM by eivindm » Logged

Super Bee
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Location: North Carolina

« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 06:52:20 PM »

You can make a nice ant trap from a piece of tupperware with small holes (too small for bees)  drilled in it.  Put a mix of equal parts water, grape jelly, and boric acid in the trap and let them take that back to the nest.

I would think the moat would work with just water.  Can fire ants swim?  Oh no, now I'm going to have nightmares about swimming ants coming after my hives.   grin

"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh
Super Bee
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Posts: 1822

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 08:32:16 PM »

Fire ants don't swim the make bridges sacrificeing some for the greater good. Amazing creatures really I hate them with a passion don't get me wrong but do respect them. Did the bees drown in the H2O or the oil? did the oil overflow then the bees went for the close liquid?

T Beek
Super Bee
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Location: USA, N/W Wisconsin

« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 08:57:19 PM »

Water likely attracted bees to the oil-laden liquid and drinking it resulted in their death.  Perhaps a vegetable oil would work on the ants and not kill bees, I'm not sure.  I'd put some grass on top though for the next time it rains.  I think I've read that motor oil was a bad idea based exactly on what you've described. 

I like FRAMEshifts suggestion best so far.


"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
Field Bee
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Posts: 507

Location: Staunton VA

« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 11:01:26 PM »

make a little roof over containers a few inches above it so rain stays out
"A responsible beekeeper is a successful one"
Shane C.
House Bee
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Posts: 453

Location: Huntsville AL

« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 11:06:40 PM »

Insects in general avoid petroleum.  It clogs the pores and suffocates them.  I have been painting the legs with a generous dollop of petroleum jelly in a ring, which worked for me in Florida but isn't having the same effect I thought it would for my bees.  Putting grass in the moat would defeat the purpose, because the ants would just use that as a bridge.

I don't know what the stand looks like, but I suppose the best thing to do would be to cover the moats with a funnel, like the ones you see on bird feeders to keep the squirrels out.  You would want to keep a space between the moat, and the "roof" so the ants would have to bridge it to get to the hive.

"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.
House Bee
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Location: Seneca, SC

« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 08:33:44 AM »

I use Over and Out fire ant killer. I put in on the mounds that are within 25 ft of the hives.  When I put it on I use a watering can and water it in. By watering it in the bees can not come in contact with it. I have been using it for 6 years with no problems. In five days the bees will be dead in that mound.

Winter Ventilation: Wet bees die in hours maybe minutes, no matter how much honey is in the hive.
Galactic Bee
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Posts: 6310

Location: Randleman, NC

« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 10:17:48 AM »

scdw43, you might want to edit that last sentence. I don't think there's any bees in that mound to kill.   grin grin

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
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