Sunday, March 1, 2009

Queen Atalia & the Ants

My love affair with bees continues. I met the queen! And she looks just like this:

Queen Atalia was busy laying eggs. HOORAY. We could see them - tiny little white eggs (this will be important for later) . She is very pretty. Orange. No stripes.

Today I noticed tiny little brown ants on the outside of the hive and on the decking. I opened the hive (any excuse!) to see if they were on the frames stealing the honey but couldn't see any.

By the afternoon, there were more ants. I noticed the ones coming out of the hive were carrying little white parcels. I couldn't work out what they were taking from the hive, until I remembered THE EGGS! Those ants were stealing Queen Atalia's freshly laid eggs. This was going to require some assertive action.

So I did two things. Firstly, I filled a small container with a good squeeze of ant rid and made a small ant sized hole in the lid. This I covered with a toilet roll (because the instructions say don't use outside and don't expose to direct sunlight and I was doing both) and placed it against the hive with a small twig leading up to the hole in the lid. In no time the ants had found it and tonight there are 1 million dead ants floating in an ant rid soup inside.

Then, with the help of Mr Duck Herder's cunning smarts, we devised an ant moat. This lid of a plastic storage tub has a groovy little gutter all around the edge. So I moved the bees onto some pavers sitting in the lid, and filled the gutter with water.

Fingers crossed this will stop the ants from getting into the hive. It might even be nice for the bees to drink out of.

Ants really give bees a hard time in this area. Yet another hive belonging to someone else has been lost to ants down at the community garden. I always thought they wanted the honey but after today I think they are after the newly laid eggs which are small enough to carry away.

In other bee related news, I spent some happy time building some new frames and repairing and painting some old falling apart hive components from Eric. I now have a very brightly painted base, super and lid. Yay. I think Queen Atalia is into colours you know.

Good night my Queen. Good night my clever darling girls.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Good solution to the ant problem. They march thru our house from time to time and I kill them with soapy water. Kills them right on contact but doesn't prevent them.