Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MAY 2012 - Harvest Tally and Annoying Ants in Beehive

Still working to make up for all the dead seedlings. Meanwhile, at least some of my work was not in vain... we harvest some lettuce and the perennials didn't have a chance to suffer from failure to thrive since I planted them last year.

Mid month, the bees arrived. I hived them, using the old frames with drawn out comb to give them a head start.

There is not much in bloom these days in my neighborhood. Luckily, some sunflowers (self seeding - thank you very much!) are blooming. OK, there is food plus I feed them sugarwater.

Hoping they make it as I am observing lots of ants trying to rob my hive from the sugarwater.

What am I doing?

Well, I honestly watched it for a while, trying the all natural remedies:

* sprinkling cinnamon around
* putting hive on cinnamon sticks
* thyme and peppermint leaves
* thyme and peppermint essential oils
* pouring boiling water into the anthill

Result? Ants still happily marching into my hive.

Now what?

No more sugar water!

Still ants..... and NOW? I am being told that ants can take down a hive in a week, so I needa do SOMETHING. DRASTIC. FAST.

Back to my good old ant traps. Seriously, I am not in favour of this but it is the only thing that I know works:

I use old plastic containers from yoghurt or hummus or whatever we ate. Yes, I store them for all sorts of possible usages, just like this one.

OK, back to the ant traps: Take those containers. They need to have lids, though.
I poke a few small holes into the lids, just big enough to fit an ant or two through it.

Then I make sugarwater, as I would when feeding bees:

Heat 2 cups of water, take it off stove, stir 2 cups of regular sugar into and let it cool off.

Pour this stuff into the trap container, add 1 or 2 teaspoon(s) of boric acid (wear a mask when handling) and stir it in.

Now, bring those traps outside and place them into the ant street. I typically pour a bit out to make sure they understand what dead super-yummy stuff I have for them. The ones that don't die from eating it, carry it into the anthill and feed it to their young.

It may take a few weeks but I got rid of 2 ant colonies that way.

Boric Acid is poison; let's not kid ourselves but with one trap (1 teaspoon of BA), I was able to kill 2 colonies. And yes, that stuff now is in my soil. However, adding boron to soil can be beneficial to certain types of soils. So, it's not all too bad although I am really not proud of having to go this route to protect my newly hived and vulnerable bees. Choices, choices, choices.

So, what did we harvest in May?

2 lbs of lettuce
8 lbs of peaches (from that one tree that we planted bare roots last spring.... the same tree, that looked dead and Roberto wanted to throw it out only 1 million times! THAT TREE!)
1 lbs of artichokes (yay for perennials!)

35 chicken eggs
37 duck eggs

"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis

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