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Grease mixed with Vaseline and curry powder keeps off crawling insects invading beehive

beehive on a stand
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Beehive mounted on an ant-proof stand. The stand is greased to prevent insects that invade the hives looking for food. (Photo: jmayot).

Beekeepers can cheaply and easily keep off crawling insects which invade their beehives in search of food by smearing on the hives’ posts grease mixed with Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and curry powder rather than using grease alone which is not fully effective.

According to Ezekiel Mumo, Project Officer at Bee Care Apiaries International Limited, using grease alone may work but the oil is gradually melted and washed away from the posts with time leaving the hives unprotected.

“Farmers using grease alone are always forced to buy and apply grease from time to time because it is with time washed away from the posts and once it is washed hives remain unsafe. This makes it expensive and time consuming,” said Mumo.

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Sugar-loving ants such as safari and sugar ants move up into beehives in search of food. These crawling ants attempting to move up get stuck or repelled with the mixture.

According to Mumo, Vaseline makes the mixture waterproofed hence lasting for a longer period. On the other hand, carry powder contains multiple items that insects dislike on their own such as garlic and pepper. Curry also contains other strong seasonings such as tumeric, coriander and cumin keeping off invaders. Grease remain to keep termites off, therefore, the posts will not be eaten up.

“Since the bees cannot sting the invaders back, they move out of the hive, and in worst scenarios abscond. It is a cheap way of dealing with these intruders, but it has to be applied regularly to be effective.”

Other flying enemies like the wax moth can cause the bees to abscond. The moth’s threadlike excretions cover the larvae cells as it feeds on the combs.

Mumo also recommends the use of metallic beehive posts that cannot be eaten up by termites and are more slippery when smeared with grease and Vaseline as compared to wooden posts.

beehive stand

A greased beehive stand. The grease helps trap insects that invade beehives looking for food. (Photo: jmayot).

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