A word of caution to beekeepers who use hard insulation in their hives for any reason: some ants have an appetite for insulation. Check out this photo sent to me from a beekeeper in Indiana:

I doubt this kind of infestation would be an issue for beekeepers on the island of Newfoundland or in similar climates (though you might want to look around for ant nests). Ants are usually long gone and out of sight by the time we have to put on insulation in November, or take it off in April. I suppose that’s a benefit of living in one of the chilliest, wettest, windiest places on the planet.

Just for fun, here’s a quote from the Wikipedia entry about the weather in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the place our bees call home:

    St. John’s has a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfb) with cool-to-warm summers, and relatively mild winters, which is due to Gulf Stream moderation. Mean temperatures range from −5.4 °C (22.3 °F) in February to 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) in August, showing somewhat of a seasonal lag in the climate. The city is also one of the areas of the country most prone to tropical cyclone activity, as it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, where tropical storms (and sometimes hurricanes) travel to this country.

    Of major Canadian cities, St. John’s is the foggiest (124 days), snowiest (359 cm (141 in)), wettest (1,514 mm (59.6 in)), windiest (24.3 km/h (15.1 mph) average speed), and most cloudy (1,497 hours of sunshine).26 St. John’s experiences a mild winter season in comparison to other Canadian cities and has the mildest winter for a city outside of British Columbia.27

This reminds me how important it is for beginners (or anyone) to follow the lead of local beekeepers, not beekeepers who live in an entirely different climate. I tried to emulate the kind of beekeeping I learned about from beekeepers in southern California when I first got into beekeeping in early 2010. The climate of southern California couldn’t be more different from Newfoundland. Subsequently, the kind of beekeeping they can get away with there bears little resemblance to what we have to do here in Newfoundland.

All beekeeping is local beekeeping. Don’t forget it.

2 Responses to “Ants Eat Hive Insulation”

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  1. Rusty says:

    “Of major Canadian cities, St. John’s is the foggiest (124 days), snowiest (359 cm (141 in)), wettest (1,514 mm (59.6 in)), windiest (24.3 km/h (15.1 mph) average speed), and most cloudy (1,497 hours of sunshine).”

    That is so funny. I love it. Poor Phillip.

  2. Jeff says:

    And who says XPS is not bio degradeable. The ants make quick work of it….

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