Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Army Ants and Bees

 
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Last year army ants took over the bee feeder I put up for my new hive. The hive froze, so it wasn't a huge ordeal. This year though, I'm wondering what I can do to prevent the army ants from taking everything they want. We know where they are living but we can't seem to kill them.

Thoughts? Will they get in the hive? The army ants are in the same area we plan on putting the hive.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3125
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So the army ants know about the bee feeder. You can't get rid of the ants. And you still want to place the hive there?

I would suggest another place for the hive. I would also suggest ant-deterrent measures on the legs of whatever you put the hive on. My first thought was double-sided tape wrapped around legs at least two feet tall, but they would eventually just crawl up the bodies of their stuck compatriots, wouldn't they?

There's also the legs-in-water-bowls method, but they'd probably deal with that in a similar way.

I wonder if Sepp Holzer's bone sauce would work, or if a noxious preparation could be used in a similar way to the tape approach.

What do you have in the area that eats ants?

-CK
 
gardener
Posts: 6275
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1028
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Army  ants? In the USA? are you sure that is the correct species?
I've never heard of Army ants being in this country, and Wyoming would be far to cold for them to survive a winter easily.
Are you sure these are not fire ants? Fire ants are far more probable to be found unless you live in the amazon basin.

Fresh coffee grounds  poured all over and around the ant nest then watered in will do the trick.
The coffee will need to be at least 1" thick over the whole nest and then you "brew" it down into the nest, or let the rains do that part for you.

What happens is the acids in the fresh coffee grounds soak into the soil and travel through the nest tunnels, burning off the legs of any ant it touches.

Redhawk
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
They're red and black. I grew up being told they are army ants. Beats me.

We have massive amounts of just red ants and just this one hill of the red and black ants.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Army  ants? In the USA? are you sure that is the correct species?
I've never heard of Army ants being in this country.
Are you sure these are not fire ants? Fire ants are far more probable to be found unless you live in the amazon basin.

Fresh coffee grounds  poured all over and around the ant nest then watered in will do the trick.
The coffee will need to be at least 1" thick over the whole nest and then you "brew" it down into the nest, or let the rains do that part for you.

What happens is the acids in the fresh coffee grounds soak into the soil and travel through the nest tunnels, burning off the legs of any ant it touches.

Redhawk

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have 40 acres but the vast majority of it is barely grass/flat land. With the howling wind here it'd be best if they were near protection. Since the wind comes in several different directions putting them in the massive lean-to where we also keep our tractors makes the most sense.

I could potentially put them in our tree line, a bit farther away, but I was worried about the shading in winter. It'd really block the wind though.

Chris Kott wrote:So the army ants know about the bee feeder. You can't get rid of the ants. And you still want to place the hive there?

I would suggest another place for the hive. I would also suggest ant-deterrent measures on the legs of whatever you put the hive on. My first thought was double-sided tape wrapped around legs at least two feet tall, but they would eventually just crawl up the bodies of their stuck compatriots, wouldn't they?

There's also the legs-in-water-bowls method, but they'd probably deal with that in a similar way.

I wonder if Sepp Holzer's bone sauce would work, or if a noxious preparation could be used in a similar way to the tape approach.

What do you have in the area that eats ants?

-CK

 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3125
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I want pictures. Is that possible? That could maybe clear up any misunderstandings.

I love the coffee solution, kola Redhawk. I suppose the ants are natural morning people. Serves them right.

-CK
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well I read some on fire ant control. I think it's possible we could get the excavator over, dig them out and then burn the entire area. Whatcha think?
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3125
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds to me like you should probably try the fresh coffee grounds method first. It would be cheaper, even if you treated them to a Jamaican Blue Mountain death. It would also be better for the land.

-CK
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Kott wrote:Sounds to me like you should probably try the fresh coffee grounds method first. It would be cheaper, even if you treated them to a Jamaican Blue Mountain death. It would also be better for the land.

-CK



We own an excavator so we'd just have to turn it on. :P I can try the coffee first.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3125
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You lucky duck, you! I wish I had an excavator.

Seriously, though, drink the Jamaican Blue Mountain yourself, go get a few canisters of the pre-ground from the supermarket (do they make a cheap organic pre-ground?), and try that first. If it works as well as I think it will, it will take less time and hassle than the excavator.

I think Redhawk specified that it needed to be fresh to be acidic enough, so no, you don't get to make coffee with the grounds first.

-CK
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah that excavator is my prize possession. It's ancient and a mini with a head gasket problem but the holes I dig with that thing. Marvelous! lol Plus, old and broken is all we could afford anyway.

Also, probably an important piece of information I should have shared. My husband tried to make a forge out of an old washer basket. That is the top of their mound. So I'd probably have to remove the washer basket and burn the ants out of it to pour coffee on the rest.

Chris Kott wrote:You lucky duck, you! I wish I had an excavator.

Seriously, though, drink the Jamaican Blue Mountain yourself, go get a few canisters of the pre-ground from the supermarket (do they make a cheap organic pre-ground?), and try that first. If it works as well as I think it will, it will take less time and hassle than the excavator.

I think Redhawk specified that it needed to be fresh to be acidic enough, so no, you don't get to make coffee with the grounds first.

-CK

 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Had another ant death idea. We made a pig roast area out of cinder blocks and such. We disassembled it but I could totally put it around their nest, put the top on and scorch earth the entire thing.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6275
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1028
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

elle sagenev wrote:They're red and black. I grew up being told they are army ants. Beats me.

We have massive amounts of just red ants and just this one hill of the red and black ants.



Those are a variety of fire ant, I have some of those nasty critters on my land, they will swarm onto you, bite and hold on and the burning sensation lasts for days.

I have tried; DE, mound disruption (digging them up), competing one mound against another (dig one up and put it on top of another, hoping they would kill each other off), Fire on top of mound, fire in pit dug into mound, Soda water, CO2 injection.
None of these worked much at all.
Then I tried spent coffee grounds, this one moved the ants but didn't kill them out.
Now I use fresh coffee, cheapest I can find, I cover a mound with the grounds and I also cover the soil all around the mound out to at least two feet away from the known mound, then I put the sprinkler on to "brew" the coffee into their home.
Ant mounds are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ant housing, their tunnels can actually go for 20 feet away from what we see (the entrance/exit)
I found one fire ant mound that actually had 3 entrances and they were ten feet apart, I think I got all of that colony but I'll know in a few weeks.

Good luck elle, you will need it. Fighting fire ants can be exasperating, but don't get discouraged, you can win the battle.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3125
Location: Toronto, Ontario
383
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Coffee... Is there anything it can't do?

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6275
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1028
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found one thing that coffee can't do for sure, it won't grow morel mushrooms.

Oh, elle, by the way, if you set your hive then go around it with a 1 foot wide circle of fresh grounds it will prevent ants from crossing as the acids leach into the soil, they might eventually crawl over the top but that should be only after all the acids are in the soil.
DE sprinkled on top of grounds that have ants crawling on them will do some good at keeping the pesky critters in check, it just has to stay dry to work.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I went out to look at the ants and I've come to the conclusion that these are not fire ants. I've got pictures.

So below are the pics of the ants I'm having a problem with. They are about 4 times larger than the other ants we have, which I believe are fire ants. The ants pictured here are very aggressive. In fact when I walked near the bee feeder they were getting into attack position.
IMG_5352.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5352.JPG]
View of ant house
IMG_5356.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5356.JPG]
view of unknown ant
IMG_5364.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5364.JPG]
Fire ant hill
IMG_5370.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5370.JPG]
Fire ant
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Few more pics of the unknown ant species
IMG_5358.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5358.JPG]
IMG_5360.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5360.JPG]
IMG_5363.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_5363.JPG]
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1982
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
158
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Formica ant. That's what I think after excessive google searching.

I'm not sure if they are a real risk to the bees now. Opinions?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6275
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1028
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are quite a few species of fire ant, some with black abdomens and some all black, check this site; fire and species photos (also has a chart of most of the varieties of ant in the USA)
All ant colonies have the ability to harbor over 1 million ants plus the nursery of larvae, they can spread incredible distances underground too, which is what makes getting rid of a colony so hard.

In just the USA there are over 600 ant species. All will bite and almost all of those bites will be venomous, some more so than others.

Ants are not really an issue for bee colonies unless they steal food from the bees, which is usually from taking over sugar water feeders.

Redhawk
 
steward
Posts: 4618
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
441
hugelkultur forest garden fungi books bee greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A wiki article mentioned that they like sunny areas and will die in shade. I wonder if you just throw a tarp over them and hold it down with rocks or dirt, if they would die?

It also says that they like sweets so probably why they are going after the bee food.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2289
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
181
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This will do the trick!



 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6275
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1028
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Miles Flansburg wrote:A wiki article mentioned that they like sunny areas and will die in shade. I wonder if you just throw a tarp over them and hold it down with rocks or dirt, if they would die?

It also says that they like sweets so probably why they are going after the bee food.



Fire ants are the world's best equipped survivor species. Putting a tarp over the colony will only cause them to move to a different spot.
They form rafts with their bodies to survive floods, they can float around for months before finding a new, suitable home and that raft won't sink, even if pushed under the surface of the water.
 
gardener
Posts: 1338
Location: mountains of Tennessee
406
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

So the army ants know about the bee feeder. You can't get rid of the ants. And you still want to place the hive there?  



I agree wholeheartedly.

Is your feeder external to the hive or an internal frame feeder?
 
Mike Barkley
gardener
Posts: 1338
Location: mountains of Tennessee
406
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now that I read the original post again  ... try an internal feeder. I've only had ants inside a hive once. Had unknowingly set up a new hive almost on top of them. I evicted them a couple times but once the colony grew larger the ants disappeared. The ants are almost certainly after the food & not too likely to directly harm the bees. That food could be sugar water or fondant. Or it could be honey. I'd probably move the hive if possible. Those ants look HUGE & hungry!
 
I am a man of mystery. Mostly because of this tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!