How to Keep Pests and Rodents Away from Hummingbird Feeder

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Hummingbird feeder nectar can attract other creatures too besides the little birds it is intended to feed.

A picture of a bee at a hummingbird feeder
Learn How to Keep Bees “Safely”
Out of Hummingbird Feeder Nectar
The other species of wild birds that are attracted to Hummingbird food are welcome
visitors such as Orioles, Finches, etc.

But other animals, like insects and the more common animal pests such as squirrels, raccoons, and bears are not welcome guests.

We invited them too of course, even though that was not our intention.

So now we have to un-invite them, safely.

How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders? 

There are things which can be done to eliminate or at best reduce the number of pests like ants and bees from getting into your hummingbird feeder nectar:

  1. Bees and wasps are attracted to the color yellow and red is a hummingbird favorite color. So choose a syrup feeder without the color yellow, even a little yellow will attract them.
  2. Purchase a hummingbird feeder that has bee guards in place. The Hummers are able to push their bill into the feeder port, but bees are unable to push in, to get at the syrup.
  3. Bee guards that fit into the feeding ports of existing feeders can also be purchased. They are a small plastic mesh shape that fits in the opening of the feeder where the bird drinks. The Hummingbird bill can fit through the mesh but the bee cannot get in. Unfortunately, bee guards do
    not fit all styles of feeders.
  4. To reduce the attraction of bees and wasps to your hummingbird feeder nectar, place the feeder in as much shade as possible.
  5. Washing down syrup feeders gently with a hose or watering can help to keep bees at bay. This is a quick fix in-between cleanings. It can be especially handy if your feeder is dripping sticky syrup which will most certainly attract insects.
bees on hummingbird nectar feeder
Bees love syrup

Spraying any part of a feeder with pesticides is not recommended. Hummingbirds are very tiny animals and even a little spray on an ant that a bird eats can cause the birds great harm. This also applies when spraying grass or any outside area. Many songbirds like Flickers & Robins eat bugs & worms from the grass.

How to Keep Ants Away from Hummingbird Feeder?

Ants drawn to the Hummingbird food are a problem:

  1. Some hummingbird feeders have ant motes, traps, or ant guards built right into the feeder. It is a
    little cup or trough, at the base of the hanging mechanism, that is filled with water. The ants crawl in and drown. A little vegetable oil can be poured on the surface of the water to prevent it from evaporating too quickly. This device works well but requires a little maintenance.
  2. These guards can be purchased to add on to an existing feeder too if yours does not have one built-in. An add-on ant guard is basically a little cup with a hook on the top and a loop on the bottom.
    The feeder is hooked onto the bottom and then hung up with the hook, on the top of the ant guard.
  3. Moving your hummingbird feeder nectar to a new location where ants cannot access the feeder will also help stop the problem. But let’s not forget that Hummingbirds love bugs. So, who do the “pesky” ants really bother? ?

But there is a concern, if too much of the jelly or oil gets on the Hummingbird’s feathers it could cause them problems in flight. Care should be taken to use only a small smear around the feeding ports and not right up to the edge of the hole or not at all.

A picture of several bees swarming around a hummingbird feeder.
One Or Two Bees Are No Problem, But…

What About Pesticides and Chemicals?

Another method used by some people to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder nectar is to spray chemicals on the piece that is attached to the hummingbird feeder to hang it.

Spraying any part of the feeder with chemicals is not recommended. Hummingbirds are very tiny animals and even a little spray, on an ant that a bird eats, can cause them great harm.

Hummingbird information sources warn against using pesticides on flowers or any plants in or around your yard. Bugs or nectar from flowers that are Hummingbird food could become contaminated and be fatal to the birds.

This is certainly not just for the safety of Hummingbirds. Many birds will be eating bugs and worms, or even drinking water that collects on leaves after a rain. Any pesticides or chemicals which have been used could cause great harm.

bluebird speaktoleft

Gardening Tip!

This is not a gardening site but here is a tip for getting rid of unwanted plants or weeds. Undiluted vinegar poured directly on any plant so that it penetrates the roots, will kill that plant in a few days. This is a much healthier alternative to chemical use. There are many excellent natural gardening methods available.


What Animals are Attracted to Hummingbird Feeder Nectar?

squirrel drinking hummingbird feeder nectar
Sure Is Hard for a Squirrel
to Believe You Don’t Like Sharing ?

Hummingbird feeders attract animals like squirrels, raccoons and bears, that cannot resist the sweet
drink they contain.

The only solution is to place your hummingbird feeder nectar where it cannot be reached.

Some hummingbird feeders can be mounted on a pole or hung on a shepherd’s hook. Then a baffle can be installed on the pole under the feeder to prevent raccoons and squirrels from reaching the feeders.

Bears are not so easy to deter. Taking feeders in and not feeding the birds may be the only solution to this problem. If problems persist, of course, animal control may be necessary.

bear at bird feeder
Bears Are Attracted to Hummingbird Feeders
As Well As Seed Feeders

Once all the wrinkles have been smoothed out with your hummingbird feeder nectar, there will be nothing left to do but a little maintenance and a heap of enjoyment!

 Pest Control & Nectar Feeders

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

These Oriole & Hummingbird Feeders Have Pest Control Features Built Right In

Ants & Bees Can Be Kept Out of Nectar Feeders
With the Help Of These Items

 “Ant Motes, Ant Traps or Ant Guards” are great items to keep ants from getting into your nectar feeders, Hummingbird or Oriole feeders & fruit feeders. The ant mote/trap hangs from the hook and your feeder hangs from the mote/trap. Fill the trap with water. Add a couple of drops of cooking oil in the water, voila! No ants in your feeder!

  • Keeping Hummingbird Nectar From Freezing in colder climates is very possible and I have some great info that will help you do this successfully.
  • Hummingbird Feeder Quiz Test your knowledge after reading all the information about feeding the tiniest birds in the world and keep going with other interesting quizzes.
  • Hummingbird Feeders are specialized feeders designed to attract a specific little bird that has a unique eating style. Care must be taken to prepare the food safely for these unique birds and feeders maintained properly to prevent disease. Learn more…

About Habitat & Behaviour

  • Attracting Hummingbirds
    is not that hard. There are ways to make attracting these beautiful
    little birds to your backyard easier for hours of enjoyment.
  • Hummingbirds’ Migration
    is a marvel when you think about the tiniest bird on the planet, flying
    thousands of miles each year and not just once but twice. How do they
    do it against the wind, inclement weather, and find enough food?

Hummingbird FAQ’s

  • Garden Pole-Hanger Question:

    Can a Hummingbird Feeder & a Seed Feeder Hang on the Same Pole?


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