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Hummingbirds are fascinating to watch. No wonder many bird watchers do their best to attract them to their properties by putting up hummingbird feeders containing nectar. Unfortunately, hummingbirds aren’t the only ones who like nectar. Have you ever had a picnic ruined by annoying ants?
Ants are more than just a nuisance for hummingbirds. Ants flock to the feeders in droves and steal a significant portion of the hummingbird’s dinner. Also, dead feeder ants contaminate the nectar and stop the hummingbird from returning for more nectar fixes.
If you fail to keep them out of the feeders, you might never watch the hummingbirds up close again. The good news is that you can keep the damn ants away without breaking your bank and continue watching your favorite birds from the comfort of your home. Here’s how.
Bottom Line Up Front
You can keep ants out of the hummingbird feeders in several ways, including;
- Installing ant moats
- Fixing all cracks and leaks in hummingbird feeders
- Moving the hummingbird feeder a few inches from time to time
- Use mint and bay leaves
- Keep your yard clean
- Provide alternative feeders for insects
- Hang hummingbird feeders above ponds or fountain
- Clean hummingbird feeders regularly
- Suspend hummingbird feeders using a fishing line
All the above methods help to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders. I recommend installing this Ant Moat for Hummingbird Feeders to protect your feathery friends. While keeping ants away, its bright color attracts more hummers and blends easily with a hummingbird feeder.
Ant moats are highly effective, besides giving the hummingbird feeder a classic look that your friends will envy. It’s simple to maintain. Refilling with water and regular cleaning is all that is required.
It’s simple, yet it stops ants right in their tracks. Just fill the ant moat with water. The ants can climb into the moat but cannot climb out and can’t crawl to the hummingbird feeder.
You can either buy a Hummzinger Ultra Hummingbird Feeder with a built-in moat or purchase a moat for a hummingbird feeder. And if you are handy, why not have fun and build your DIY ant moat for hummingbird feeders?
How to Keep Ants Out of Hummingbird Feeders
Here are practical ways to keep ants out of the hummers’ feeders.
Install An Ant Moat On Your Feeders
Ants can be a nuisance at feeders. They go up and around the keeper’s hook and down onto the feeders because they are drawn to the sugar water. Once at the feeders, they feed or drown in the sugar water.
It looks terrible and ruins the food for the hummingbirds. Hummingbirds enjoy eating ants and nectar, but they dislike the two together, and they will quit feeding if the ant invasion becomes too severe. The moat is constructed as follows: a cup of water is hung from the shepherd’s hook, and the feeder is suspended beneath it. When the ants climb in droves, the moat is the first item they come across on their way to the feeder.
They will either drown in the cup of water or stop climbing and return to the ground because they have nowhere else to go but down the middle eye hook. Meanwhile, your hummingbird feeder remains free of ants.
Some hummingbird feeders have an attached or built-in ant moat. It takes more effort to keep your moat full of water, but it enables you to continue attracting hummingbirds rather than ants. If your hummingbird feeder does not have an inbuilt ant moat, attach one between the feeder and the hanger. Just fill the moat will clean water. Ants happily go in but can’t reach the valuable nectar.
The secret is to empty the moat regularly. If you don’t clean it of all the debris, ants will beat you in your own game. They’ll use the dead ants as a bridge to cross the water, get to the feeders, and wreak havoc. However, a water moat may not be a good option if you live in areas with low humidity. This is because water will evaporate quickly. You will be on your feet constantly filling water, which is hectic. Fill the moat with cooking oil instead of water because the oil won’t evaporate.
Insecticide-filled ant guards are another superb alternative to water moats. These guards are safe for birds and humans if used per the product instructions.
A Quick Review of Ant Mounts for Hummingbird Feeders
If you don’t want the hustle of fixing an ant moat, you can opt for a built-in ant moat for hummingbird feeders like the hummzinger ultra. I love it, and you may love it too because it is compact and easy to clean and fill. Besides, it is leak and drip-proof; and comes with raised flowers to divert rain.
You can never go wrong with the Skinny Ant Moat with Guard for Hummingbird Feeders. The skinny name can be misleading. It is made of copper for durability while keeping ants from nectar feeders. It is simple to use and does not require water, either. Instead, add a new drop of vegetable oil, whirl it around to smudge the interior, pour away the excess, and then hang it.
The Perky-Pet 245B Ant Guard for Hummingbird Feeders contains encased permethrin in a plastic dome. The insecticide repels ants from getting into hummingbird feeders and oriole feeders too. It is safe for birds, humans, and other pets when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. But don’t use it close to water bodies like ponds and streams.
Here is an affordable yet effective and long-lasting ant moat hummingbird feeder. It’s made of durable plastic for longevity and painted red to attract birds. You can either fill it with water or smear the inner part with vegetable oil. It comes with an S-shaped hook for easy attachment to different hummingbird feeders.
How to Build a DIY Ant Moat
Your hummingbird feeder is a castle, and you should safeguard it as one with an ant moat. An ant moat is one of the safest and most effective methods of keeping feeders free from ants. You can build one with readily available materials in less than ten minutes if your feeder does not have one. Here’s how to make one.
Supplies and Equipment Needed
- A flat-bottomed plastic bowl (should be at least 1.5 inches deep)
- 2 5/16-18 nuts
- Eyebolt 5/16-18 x 2″
- Washers 2 5/16″
- Putty, silicone sealant, or two rubber washers
- J bolt 5/16-18 x 3″
- Threaded rod coupling nut 5/16-18
- 1/2-inch wrench
- Drill bit 5/16″
The 5/16″ threaded rod may seem overkill for holding a moat, but I chose it for the extra weight, ensuring the moat will hold up even in very strong winds.
Procedure to Build a DIY Ant Moat
- Step 1 Drill a hole in the bowl or cup: Drill a hole in the middle of the bowl or a cup with the drill and bit. Most bowls have a minor groove in the center, which makes alignment a breeze.
- Step 2 Prep the J hook: Thread your nut as far down as the J-hook allows. On top, position a washer. The bowl will sit here.
- Step 3 Close up the bottom of the bowl: Add a seal to the bowl’s bottom. Make a circle around the hole with putty. If you chose silicone, put a bead around the hole. If you selected a rubber washer, lay it on the hole.
- Step 4 Seal the Bowl’s Interior: Insert the J-hook into the bowl’s bottom, shoving the washer into your sealant. Apply your favorite glue to the bowl’s interior around the J-hook that has been inserted.
- Step 5 Tighten Nuts: Tighten the interior nut with the wrench while clutching the bottom one. The nuts will effortlessly “jam” together, eliminating the need for a second wrench. Wipe off excess sealant that may have been squeezed out when tightening.
- Step 6 Thread Coupling and Eye Bolt: Thread the coupling onto the J-bolt and turn it until it’s about halfway through. Then, thread the eye-bolt through the opposite side of your coupling and flip it until it edges out. Twist the J-bolt and the eye-bolt together to fasten the whole thing. Hand-tight is sufficient. You need no tools.
- Step 7 Hang the Moat: Hang your DIY moat by the eye hook from the hook that usually holds your hummingbird feeder. Fill the moat with water.
- Step 8 Hang the feeder Beneath the Moat: Finally, hang the feeder from the J-hook at the moat’s bottom. Sit back and wait for the little fa to return. They will return to the feeder within minutes, even if they’ve been gone for a while, and the ants will be gone for good if you keep it clean. Keep adding water to stop it from drying up.
Find And Fix All the Small Cracks in Your Hummingbird Feeders
If nectar leaks from hummingbird feeders onto your patio, it will attract ants like crazy. Ants love the sugary staff and won’t hesitate to show up and share the spoils. You will stay one step ahead of ants invasion if you keep a keen eye on your feeders and notice and fix any cracks. You can use a plumber’s tape to repair the cracks or crannies. Tighten all feeder parts to ensure they snuggly fit together.
Nectar leaks from your hummingbird feeders because nectar heats up in sunny weather and becomes thinner, allowing it to seep through small cracks. To avoid this problem, place the feeder in a partially shaded area.
Avoid placing the feeders in a fully shaded area because the hummingbirds may not see it, meaning they won’t eat the nectar. So, all your hardwork will go down the drain.
Move Your Feeders Now and Then
Hummingbirds have a very sharp memory. They can remember every feeder they’ve visited during their lifetime. So, rest assured that they will recall that you had set up a feeder the previous breeding season, and they’ll keep looking for it until they find it.
They’ll also look for additional food sources and won’t mind flying around your garden for a quick nectar fix. So, even if you move the feeder a few yards away from the previous location, these beautiful birds will still find it.
Insects, on the other hand, are a little more laid back. They prefer convenience. The bugs will not go looking for the hummingbird feeder if you move it just a few meters from where it was. They will give up and try their luck somewhere else.
Use Mint and Bay Leaves
Bay leaves and mint makes ants’ lives miserable. They detest its smell and can’t come near it. So, if you are trying to keep the ants from your hummingbird feeders, using bay leaves and mint is an excellent step in the right direction.
The strong scent of bay leaves repels the ants without harming them. So, place or rub the leaves near the feeder, and ants will take off in a moment and not return any time soon.
Just tie the leaves to the feeder’s pole or the fishing line that suspends the feeder. You can also plant mint next to the feeder’s location.
The method is effective because it is friendly to both ants and hummingbirds. However, the leaves will dry in hot weather and lose their scent, so you must keep bringing fresh leaves if you’ve not planted them in the feeder’s surroundings.
In your zeal to keep ants out of the feeders, remember they have a crucial role in the ecosystem. The hummingbird also preys on ants, so it is critical to opt for eco-friendly solutions to preserve the ants. It helps to build a community where every living thing wins.
Cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar are a few other household ingredients you could try to keep ants away from the hummingbird feeders. Another excellent natural insect repellent that works magic against ants is peppermint essential oil.
Sprinkle or spray one of these products around the hummingbird feeder. They will not kill the ants but stop them in their tracks and won’t reach your feeders.
Maintain a Clean Yard
Remove any unintentional food sources. Bees, wasps, and ants are drawn to a location if they discover uncovered trash containing sweet leftovers such as soda cans.
Provide Insects With Their Own Feeders
Hang a detour feeder in sunlight to enchant insects using a sweeter sugar water solution. Position a shallow bowl with more concentrated sugar water six or seven feet away from your feeder and move it further away progressively. Remember, you still need insects to pollinate your flowers. So, be kind to them too.
Hang Your Feeders Above the Ponds or Fountains
Ants are masters in crawling, climbing, and building bridges out of their bodies. However, they are poor swimmers. If you have a fountain or a pond, you are lucky because you could place your hummingbird feeders in them and kiss ant troubles goodbye forever.
Having a birdbath could be even better as you get the best of both worlds. It will keep the ants away and attracts the hummingbirds as they will gladly use it for drinking and preening.
Keep Your Feeders Clean All the Time
Let the gorgeous hummingbirds feed like a boss by giving them a superior dining experience. Keeping the feeders spotless is essential to stop the crazy ants from crawling in and keeping the hummingbirds away.
Keeping the nectar from expiring also helps to ensure the birds get the nutrients they deserve.
Wipe your feeders every day and refill them daily with fresh nectar. After all, you signed up for it. Right? Empty any remaining nectar and clean the pots thoroughly inside and outside before refilling.
The best way to keep ants out of your feeders is to keep them clean. Ants will fall for anything sugary and sticky. So, if you need them to leave you alone, clean the sticky, messy feeders regularly, and dead and live ants in your feeders will be a thing of the past.
You must keep your hummingbird feeders clean. When bacteria begin to grow inside a feeder, emptying it will not kill the germs. Clean it thoroughly with a mini mop and warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to ensure that no soapy residue remains inside.
To ensure your feeders are clean, opt for the one you can clean easily. Go for one with parts you can dismantle and reassemble effortlessly so you can clean them extensively as needed.
Suspend the Feeders with A Fishing Line
Make it challenging for ants to reach the feeders by giving them an unmatched tightrope challenge by using a fishing line to hang the feeders. The fishing line is an excellent hindrance for ants trying to climb the feeders to feast on nectar because it is very slippery and naturally thin.
Ensure the fishing line is sturdy enough to support the weight of a nesting bird. The ideal weight should be two pounds to ensure the feeders stay in place.
The Do’s And Don’ts to Ensure the Safety of Hummingbirds After Installing the Feeders
Installing hummingbird feeders in your garden is a fantastic way to attract hummingbirds. You’ll watch hummers bolt around your yard and float at your feeders for some delicious nectar for hours.
However, you can’t work your you-know-what off to get them to your yard only to leave them to their own devices. You need to go the extra mile to guarantee their security when they’re at your property. Here’s what to do to keep them safe.
Avoid Using Pesticides Near or Around Hummingbird Feeders
Avoid using insecticides in or near hummingbird feeders. These chemicals can hurt your little guests. Remember, hummingbirds prey on ants. So, if you use harmful insects to kill the ants, it might get to hummingbirds indirectly.
The scent is intended to repel pests, but hummingbirds lack a sense of smell. They are oblivious to the dangers of these poisonous substances.
These cute birds will suck in the chemicals in the air or blooms, and it only takes a small amount to harm them. Furthermore, hummingbirds are swift flyers. They occasionally collide with their feeders and flowers, causing them to consume the chemicals accidentally.
Instead, Spray Environmental Friendly Insecticide at the Base of the Feeder
Spray an environmentally friendly insecticide to keep ants away from the hummingbird feeder. Pay special attention to the ground beneath the feeder and any areas of your deck or railing where you notice ants crawling.
Opt for a natural insect repellent, such as neem oil. It’ll keep the annoying ants away without harming your family, pets, or native wildlife. Even if they are all-natural, avoid using insecticides on the hummingbird feeder itself, as they could also restrain the hummingbirds.
Don’t Apply Petroleum Jelly or Cooking Oil to the String or Hook from Which the Feeder Hangs
Do not apply a thin layer of cooking oil or petroleum jelly to the chain, string, or chain from which the feeder hangs. It’s a bad idea because it could tamper with their flying.
Hummingbirds are territorial. Even though they flock to a feeder to share the nectar grudgingly, it takes only one wrong move to send them on each other’s necks with their long sharp bills.
During one of these territorial brawls, they may collide with the oiled hooks or chains.
The oil might get to their wings and compromise their ability to fly. Hummingbirds’ ability to fly for lengthy periods is vital to their survival. They cover hundreds of miles during migration in search of nesting grounds and visit over two thousand flowers in a day looking for nectar. So, if a hummingbird can’t fly, it is as good as dead.
Place the Hummingbird Feeders A few Meters from the Ground to Avoid Predators
Hummingbirds, like all other creatures, are prey to predators. Cats, birds of prey, dogs, and anything else quick enough to grab one from the sky will enjoy a tasty treat.
That is why it is critical to place hummingbird feeders near a tree or bush – I recommend providing shelter within fifteen feet of a feeder. When the hummingbird detects danger, it only takes a short flight to seek refuge.
Also, keep the hummingbird feeder four feet or higher off the ground. This reduces the possibility of a cat or dog ripping one right off the feeders.
Avoid Feeders with Yellow Accents
Avoid hummingbird feeders with yellow accents as yellow is phenomenal at attracting wasps and bees while red color attracts the hummers. If you own one with yellow accents, use non-toxic paint to paint it red, making it less attractive to insects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds on the planet, but fluttering those tiny wings can be a strenuous exercise. Flapping close to ninety beats per second burns calories quickly; hummingbirds must eat a lot to maintain their high metabolism.
These cute busy birds devour half their body weight in minor bugs and nectar to gratify their fast metabolisms. They feed every ten to fifteen minutes and can visit up to two thousand flowers daily.
You can make life easier for these diligent foragers in getting the nutrients they require by providing their preferred post-workout meal—nectar.
Answer: You can make this savory hummingbird snack at home with a few simple ingredients. Materials You Need:
● 1/4 cup of pure white cane sugar
The recommended ratio for hummingbird food ( nectar formula) is 4:1. Four cups of clean unchlorinated water and one cup of white cane sugar.
Procedure To Make Hummingbird Nectar at Home
● Step 1: Begin by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil.
● Step 2: Add 1 cup of white granulated sugar
● Step 3: Stir vigorously until the sugar dissolves.
● Step 4: Bring this mixture to a boil for two minutes to prevent it from going bad too quickly.
● Step 5: Allow it to cool completely.
● Step 6: Pour it into clean hummingbird feeders with a funnel because it is easier.
Please do not replace sugar with honey, as it can encourage harmful fungal growth. Also, do not use red dye, which is not required and may hurt the hummingbirds.
Filling your feeders with this DIY delight allows you to supplement nectar-rich plants while watching these lovely tiny birds feed and dart all day.
Answer: Flowers are the foundation of a hummer’s diet, but they need to eat small insects and get more nectar from feeders people set up to keep up with their high metabolism.
If you’re considering installing a hummingbird feeder, you might be wondering whether to make your nectar or buy one from the store.
One of the primary reasons why most birders prefer to prepare their sugar solution is the desire to provide hummingbirds with pure, healthy nectar. Store-bought nectar may contain preservatives and flavorings.
Though these preservatives, such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, are fit for birds and human consumption, they do not add any nutritional value.
So, you can prepare hummingbird nectar at home or buy it from a store.
Purchasing a hummingbird solution is not a bad idea. Although making your nectar is reasonably simple, it’s appealing to save a few minutes and serve commercial nectar.
People lead hectic lives, and it is okay to save time.
Furthermore, many hummingbird food producers produce dye-free nectar solutions, and numerous solutions are created without preservatives; however, If you have a few minutes to yourself, prep the hummers food since it is painless and more affordable.
One part sugar to four parts water is the best rule of thumb when preparing hummer’s food in your home. Mix the solution thoroughly until it is completely dissolved. use white cane sugar. Avoid powdered sugar, brown sugar, and honey as they may contain substances unfit for hummingbird consumption.
Answer: Although hummers can be considered fair weather guests, some hummingbird species can be seen throughout the year. For example, You can see Anna’s hummingbird in the Washington state garden in winter.
When temperatures drop, hummingbirds’ nectar starts to freeze. The hummers can’t consume it when it is frozen, so you have to devise a clever way to keep it in a liquid state to help them survive even when the flowers are not blooming.
Because of the sugar concentration, hummingbird nectar has a lower freezing point than regular water. The approved hummers nectar recipe of four parts of water to one amount of white cane sugar starts freezing at 27 degrees but becomes clammy at 29 degrees Fahrenheit.
Backyard birders are bothered about bees, earwigs, wasps, and ants competing with hummers at feeders every fall. Although some hummingbirds coexist with these insects, others wrestle with hornets and honey bees tooth and nail. A contaminated and crowded feeder could keep hummingbirds away. How can you safely keep pests away from your feeders so that your visiting hummers can drink the sugar-water nectar? Use the tips I’ve given you in this comprehensive post, and you’ll never have to worry about ants disturbing hummers in your feeders again.
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