By Kimberley Burch, Sunset imaging specialist
...Moving in!! Ack!
I am writing my first blog (all by myself, that is), because Margaret believes I am the only one who can describe the horrible disgust I felt yesterday morning. It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.
Arriving back at work from a long-weekend, I went to check on our bees. Margaret came with me and we chatted as I cleaned out the water dish and refilled the moat containers around the legs of the hive stand.
Just as I’m left alone so Margaret can get back to the non-bee part of her job, I get a good look at the ground around the hives. I shriek at the sight of thousands of ants scurrying around with no apparent direction. The ant nest, I assume, was already established underneath the hives and was disturbed by the flood of water when I filled the containers and water dish. Most of the ants are carrying eggs. Ant eggs. The ants are on the move and I fear they’re moving in with the bees!
I run back to my office, call Margaret to share the horror, run across the street to the convenient local market to buy mineral oil, grab my camera and run back to the hives.
I feel the ant population has doubled in the 20 minutes I was gone because they just seem to be everywhere. I take the hose and flood the area around Betty and Veronica thinking that if at least a few hundred die this way, that would be a start. If they somehow change their thinking that this is a great spot to build a colony now that it’s all flooded-- fabulous! I know I can’t spray any chemicals or insecticides for fear the bees will get it on themselves and bring it into the hives. I squirt some mineral oil inside our moat containers and on the plastic where I see ants trying to get access to the hives. The mineral oil is supposed to be harder for ants to cross than plain water.
As I do all of this, I am dancing. I am picking up my feet, one at a time, in a slow still march. I already know that if I leave my feet on the ground, I will have several ants crawling on my feet in no time. I have already found ants with eggs on my legs and on my arms. I found ants on my veil! Eww eww eww eww EWW!!
Now some of you may think I’m over-reacting, some might think I’m a little girly being so grossed out by little ants (and maybe that’s a little true), but ants are my weakness. Ants are the one common pest that I cannot stand. I am still getting the willies when I think about the sight.
The photo below shows a few square inches of the horror. The ants covered around 15 square feet!
I feel fatigued, frustrated and frenzied from our fight with the ants. I purchased more mineral oil and more Terro outdoor ant bait and put it out this morning.
Other than that, I’m not sure how we will win this fight. Stay tuned.