The best way to attract hummingbirds into your yard is to fill your garden with food sources such as the nectar-producing flowers that are vital to their survival.
However, in order to thrive, these little birds need a balanced diet. You should also plant other flowers and other plants that attract the insects that hummingbirds enjoy.
And if you’d like to go one step further, you can also set out hummingbird feeders full of hummingbird food.
While you can buy hummingbird food in the store, it’s way too easy to make your own! Some people boil a sugar-water solution for hummingbirds on their stoves, but if you prefer, you can also use a microwave for this job.
Keep reading for a complete guide on how to make hummingbird food in the microwave, plus a few other relevant tips!
How Do You Make Homemade Hummingbird Food?
The homemade hummingbird nectar recipe is very simple: one part white cane sugar to four parts water.
Need help? Check out our hummingbird food calculator.
After you’ve mixed your sugar and water, boil the mixture to make sure it’s combined properly and also to reduce the chance of the mixture spoiling too quickly.
Be sure to not deviate from this recipe. Brown sugars, powdered sugars, molasses, honey, beet sugar, or any other kind of sugar substitute and unrefined sugar, can encourage mold and bacteria growth and pose a major threat to the birds that you want to help.
Avoid any recipes that include red dye in hummingbird nectar.
While it’s true that red attracts hummingbirds, red dye (as well as other food coloring)is dangerous for them to consume. Red feeders, however, are OK!
When it comes to ready-made hummingbird mix, many contain harmful additives. Therefore, it’s best to stick to a simple sugar and water mix to supplement the natural hummingbird food sources in your garden.
Should You Boil Sugar Water for Hummingbirds?
You don’t necessarily have to boil your sugar mixture, as long as you fully dissolve the sugar in your water.
However, boiling the hummingbird food is a great way to slow down bacterial growth, which could cause the mixture to spoil quicker.
It should be noted that boiling water helps the sugar to dissolve quicker in the water.
Does All Hummingbird Food Need To Be Boiled?
As stated above, you don’t have to boil hummingbird food. Boiling just ensures that the mixture won’t spoil as quickly, as any existing bacteria will be killed.
If you think that your water isn’t pure and clean, boiling might make the best sense. However, freshwater requires no boiling.
Can You Use Tap Water to Make Hummingbird Food?
Unlike humans, hummingbirds are not picky!
Tap water is perfectly acceptable as a base for your hummingbird food. Where possible, however, natural spring water is best.
Just be sure to avoid waters filled with iron and other harmful chemicals.
There are some cases where tap water may not be an acceptable option. You have to consider how your water is treated, and the overall quality and composition of the water in your area. But most of the time, using tap water will be just fine.
Think about the environmental costs of buying bottled water and avoid this where possible. Remember, in most instances, tap water works. If you drink the water from your tap, it should usually be fine for hummingbirds too.
How To Use a Microwave to Make Hummingbird Food
Most people use stovetops to make hummingbird food, but you can totally use a microwave if you wish!
Just make sure that you add the sugar mixture to a microwave-safe container with a lid. After it’s boiled, stir it to make sure all of the sugar grains are dissolved.
It’s also important that you do not use a clean, high-grade dish so that harmful substances do not leech into the food.
How Often Do You Need to Replace Hummingbird Food in Hummingbird Feeders?
Making hummingbird feed in the microwave is a much quicker and easier solution than doing it on the stove. Given that you’ll have to make food semi-regularly (perhaps as often as every couple of days in warmer areas in summer), this is an easy alternative.
Any sugar-based dish can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so cleaning and changing your feeders regularly is a must to avoid spoilage.
How frequently you replace hummingbird food and clean feeders depends on a range of factors, including the environmental conditions, where you live, and the time of year.
You might only need to change the food in your feeder once a week or so when it is cooler, perhaps even every 10 days in some areas. But mostly, you will have to change it more frequently – especially in warmer weather and when a feeder is placed in full sun.
Should You Feed Sugar Water to Hummingbirds?
Is feeding your homemade hummingbird food to hummingbirds really a good idea? Even if you do get the process and ingredients just right – does setting feeders up really help the hummingbirds in the long run?
The answer is yes!
Hummingbirds have fast metabolisms that require a constant supply of food. Sugar water is an excellent supplement to their diet. And when you correctly fill and maintain hummingbird feeders, they can only ever be a boon for the birds!
Will Feeding Sugar to Hummingbirds Prevent Them From Migrating?
There’s some concern that feeding sugar water to hummingbirds too late in the year will keep them from migrating as they should.
The good news, however, is that hummingbirds will naturally migrate most of the time even when there are abundant natural or man-provided food sources around.
Migrating hummingbirds will arrive sometime in the spring, depending on where you live, and will head back south in the fall. The only reason that birds will not migrate is that they are, for some reason, not up to taking the journey.
Providing food will not negatively affect them. However, it can definitely help to migrate hummingbirds build up their energy reserves after the spring migration, or before the fall trip to their wintering grounds to the south.
Sugar Water Is an Additional Food – Not the Only Food Source for Hummingbirds
Supplementing your hummingbird friends’ diets is a great way to support their diet and help them to make their labor-intensive journeys each season.
However, the extra hummingbird nectar should only ever be an addition to their diet.
The local ecosystem should be able to support them without human assistance. Do your part to aid the hummingbirds by adding diverse plants to your garden.
If you’d like to do everything you possibly can, consider supplying water and places within your garden for them to perch and shelter.
Do these things, and your yard should soon be filled with these gorgeous little birds!