So my new bees seem to be getting on very well and as recommended I have been feeding them sugar syrup to help this relatively small colony draw out comb on the new frames and reduce their labour foraging while their numbers increase.
However, checking on the level of the syrup today I found a large number of black ants had also located this free food source and were doing their best to access it. Clearing away the ones I could see I then resorted to my usual first-call for a quick bit of research, the internet – and quickly found several references to a nice bio friendly solution, cinnamon, which apparently ants do not care for at all, whereas bees are apparently indifferent to it.
A quick raid of the kitchen cupboard and a few cinnamon sticks located, broken up and placed around the feeder lid, under the roof where I found the ants congregating. I also used the last bit of cinnamon around the legs of the stand to help discourage the little blighters from climbing up in the first place.
Will check again tomorrow and see if this is working. There are other options, like standing the legs in moats of water (or even oil) but would like to avoid that if I can. May also spend some time trying to work out where the ants nest is and tackle the problem at it’s source with the old fashioned kettle of boiling water option.