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Author Topic: Varroa and Fire ants  (Read 442 times)
MsCarol
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« on: October 01, 2013, 10:24:49 AM »

An interesting observation that sparked the question,

Do fire ants eat varroa mites?

I have screen bottom hives and I slid the IPM board under my small hive as I was getting clustering on the bottom of the screen and was concerned over attempts to rob this hive. It is the one I am feeding under the cover. Just out of curiosity I slide it out every couple of days to check for dropped mites. I have been finding fire ants busy dragging off the assorted dropped bee debris - pollen, dead bug parts including bee parts like legs. But also noticed that since the fire ants have been scuttering around that I have not seen a single dropped mite.

Is it possible this annoying invader has a useful purpose other then taking chunks out of me??

To be clear, these ants are just hunting, they have NOT moved in.
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RC
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 12:02:11 PM »

I'm sure they do. They'll sure clean up wax moth larvae.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:46:17 PM »

It is possible that your bees don't have a mite problem. Where did you get your bees from? Was it someone that didn't treat for mites and developed hygienics bees?
Jim
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MsCarol
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 08:53:02 AM »

Jim,

This particular hive was a small late July caught swarm. I did give it a boost with a couple of frames of brood from the first caught swarm which appear to be Italians. These bees appear to be smaller then the big hive's bees. I am thinking it may be a swarm from a feral colony. So I don't have any history on either hive.

I sugar dusted a few weeks ago as I did see a few mites in both hives. I would like that number to stay at "a few".

Make me wonder as well if they might do a number on the SHB larva that drop to the ground to pupate. Fire ants are not my favorite people, but maybe they have their purpose.
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RC
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 12:59:22 PM »

I killed a good buck a couple of years ago and wanted to do a European mount. I plopped that head down in a fire ant mound and in about 2 weeks that thing was as clean as could be.
I think they'll eat anything that holds still.
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RC
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 01:03:32 PM »

Staying on the subject, I thought of a good business opportunity. I'm going to import an ant eater and when he finishes around my place, I'm going to rent him out.By the time he cleans up my county, he'll be big as a mule. So then I'll rent my stock trailer for people to haul him around. I'll be rich before you know it and then I'll keep on keeping bees until the money runs out. grin
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 08:20:28 PM »

Jim,

This particular hive was a small late July caught swarm. I did give it a boost with a couple of frames of brood from the first caught swarm which appear to be Italians. These bees appear to be smaller then the big hive's bees. I am thinking it may be a swarm from a feral colony. So I don't have any history on either hive.

I sugar dusted a few weeks ago as I did see a few mites in both hives. I would like that number to stay at "a few".

Make me wonder as well if they might do a number on the SHB larva that drop to the ground to pupate. Fire ants are not my favorite people, but maybe they have their purpose.

My best hives came from feral bees and they stay pretty much mite free. They had to figure out on there own how to survive. They probably superseded the queens and selected one with the right genetics.
Most larva make great morsels. I'm sure the ants love them.
I do not sugar dust my hives. Tried it in the beginning when my hives had lots of mites. But it did not help my bees.
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