No ants need apply

June 23, 2008 | By | Comments (2)

By Kimberley Burch, Sunset imaging specialist and Margaret Sloan, Sunset production coordinator

The day after we applied the powdered sugar dusting, the ants came back twice over!! They were all over the place! Crazy. On the bright side, we’re hoping they’ll gobble up any mites that fall to the ground. That will certainly keep the mites from crawling back into the hive.


Bill Stephens, our imaging supervisor, made us hive stands (payment was oatmeal-raisin cookies by Margo). We painted the stands white, smeared the base of the legs with Tanglefoot and set them in plastic containers. The lids rest precariously on push pins above the containers. There’s only a bit of space so that the bees can’t get in. 

This did not work. A little bit of dust, and the the ants marched right over the Tanglefoot and into the hive. This morning we discovered a whole platoon of ants.

Much ant-smashing occurred.

Then we filled the containers with water; the ants can’t cross a moat of water, can they?

Some bees have fallen into the containers, but only a few. Can bees learn to stay out of dangerous areas?


  1. Kimberley

    Hi Cassandra!
    Thanks for the suggestion! The Terro ant bait that we put around the hives the first week contains boric acid, AND the bees are protected from getting access to it. The ants do seem to like the stuff, and after a week or so seem to become fewer. Unfortunately, however, ants from other colonies quickly replace the boric acid-treated ants and we must fight them off the hives again! This seems to be our never-ending cycle. But–as long as the lid on those containers you see in the picture don’t fall, the water moat around the stand legs appears to be working well!
    Thank you for reading!

    Kimberley (QB)

    June 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm
  2. Cassandra

    Hve you tried dusting your ants with borax?

    They carry it back to their nest and it is quite effective. My MIL swears by this method. The ants we had by the greenhouse are MIA after this treatment, maybe she’s onto something!

    June 24, 2008 at 1:47 am

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