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Many types of ants are known to affect honey bee colonies, by entering the hive and removing food and brood. [1] In general, the bees are able to defend their hive entrance against ant attacks, but if the colony is weakened, or the particular ant species is known to act aggressive, ants can severely impact the colony. [2] To avoid an infestation with ants, Crane (1990) suggests to clean vegetation near the bee hives, use ant-proofed hive stands (long legs, that stand in shallow containers filled with oil, or diesel) and the use of pesticides. [3]

Ethiopia: Ants are present and have a severe impact on weakened colonies (especially in honey bee hives with poor hive management). [4] [5] [6] A study conducted by Tolera & Dejene (2014) reveiled, that ants are one of the most threatening pests in the Jimma Zone. [7] In southeast Ethiopia ants belong to the most severe pests in beekeeping. [8] The assessment of an infestation with ants (western and southern Shoa zone) revealed that 44.2% of honey bee colonies were yearly attacked by ants. 24% of invaded honey bee colonies abscond, while 4.2% are too weak to survive the ant attack. An overall economic loss of 3,839,810 Ethiopian Birr (ETB)/year is estimated due to infestations with ants. [9]

Indonesia: There is a lack of data regarding the severity of ant-attacks on honey bee colonies in Indonesia, but Crane (1990) mentioned, that ants and their impact on honey bee colonies are one of the most widespread problems for beekeepers in tropical regions. [3] According to her, migrating ant colonies can contain up to 700,000 individuals that raid and kill along its path. Army ants, that are also present in Indonesia, for example forage in groups and are able to invade and destroy a bee hive within a few hours. [2] [10]


  1. Pirk, C. W. W., Strauss, U., Yusuf, A. A., Démares, F., & Human, H. (2015). Honeybee health in Africa—a review. Apidologie, 47(3), 276–300.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Morse, R. A., & Nowogrodzki, R. (1990). Honey Bee Pests, Predators, and Diseases (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing Associates, USA.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Crane, E. (1990). Bees and beekeeping: science, practice, and world resources. Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Pub. Associates.
  4. Awraris, G. S., Yemisrach, G., Dejen, A., Nuru, A., Gebeyehu, G., & Workneh, A. (2012). Honey production systems (Apis mellifera L.) in Kaffa, Sheka and Bench-Maji zones of Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 4(19), 528-541.
  5. Gidey, Y., & Mekonen, T. (2010). Participatory Technology and Constraints Assessment to Improve the Livelihood of Beekeepers in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia. Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science, 2(1), 76-92.
  6. Teklu, G. W. (2016). Survey on honeybee pests and predators in Sidama and Gedeo zones of Southern Ethiopia with emphasis on control practices. Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America, 7(4), 173-181.
  7. Tolera, K., & Dejene, T. (2014). Assessment of the effect of seasonal honeybee management on honey production of Ethiopian honeybee (Apis mellifera) in modern beekeeping in Jimma Zone. Research Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Management, 3(5), 246–254.
  8. Gidey, Y., Bethlehem, K., Dawit, K., & Alem, M. (2012). Assessment of beekeeping practices in Asgede Tsimbla district, Northern Ethiopia: Absconding, bee forage and bee pests. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 7(1), 1-5.
  9. Desalegn, B. (2015). Honeybee diseases and Pests research progress in Ethiopia: A review. African Journal of Insect, 3(1), 93-96.
  10. Terrence, P., & McGlynn, T. P. (1999). The worldwide transfer of ants: geographical distribution and ecological invasions. Journal of Biogeography, 26, 535-548.