What to do With Hummingbird Feeder Nectar
When It Attracts Unwelcome Guests

Take It Down?

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


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.


Hummingbird feeders and parts to help you get rid of unwanted guests on this page below.

How To Reduce Bees At Nectar 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 colour yellow and red is a Hummingbirds favourite colour. So choose a syrup feeder without the colour yellow, even a little yellow will attract them.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.





  1. To reduce the attraction of bees and wasps to your hummingbird feeder nectar, place the feeder in as much shade as possible.
  1. Washing down syrup feeders gently with a hose or watering can may 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.

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.

What to do About Hummingbird Feeder Nectar Attracting Aggravating Ants?

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.
  1. These guards can be purchased to add on to an existing feeder too, if yours does not have one buildt 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.
  1. 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? ;)
  1. Some sources of Hummingbird information recommend a little jelly or oil to keep bees out. These lubricants can be put on the hanging mechanism and around the port holes where the Hummingbirds drink, to make it too slippery for insects to land. 

But there is 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.


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.


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 Other Animals are Attracted to Hummingbird Feeder Nectar?

squirrel at hummingbird feeder nectarSure Is Hard for a Squirrel to Believe You Don't Like Sharing ;)

Hummingbird feeders attract some animals that cannot resist the sweet drink they contain. The only solution is to place your hummingbird feeder nectar where it cannot be reached.

There are hummingbird feeders that are made to mount on a pole. Hanging feeders can be hung on a shepherd’s hook. A baffle can then 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.

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


 Pest Control & Nectar Feeders

Some nectar feeders have pest control built right in.


Keep Ants & Bees Out of Nectar Feeders

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"Ant Motes/Traps" are great items to keep ants from getting into your nectar feeders, Hummingbird or Oriole 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!



There is a lot to know about Feeding Hummingbirds, find more below & in sidebar at top.


  • 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?
  • Hummingbirds Don't Like Food What Can We Do, Our Hummingbirds Don't Like Our Food? We have been feeding the hummers all spring and summer with homemade nectar …


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