Gardeners often face a problem with ants invading their hummingbird feeders. One main reason is that ants are attracted to the sugary nectar that hummingbirds feed on. Once they find the feeder, they can quickly overwhelm it. This will be difficult for the hummingbirds to access the food.
Scenarios like this can be frustrating and harmful to hummingbirds as they may not get enough food to sustain themselves.
Fortunately, there are ways how to keep ants out of the hummingbird feeder, and that’s what this article will talk about!
Methods on how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder
Here are some of the best methods that you can try on how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder!
1. Hanging feeders
Hanging your feeders is one of the simplest yet most effective solutions how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder. But how do you do this?
First, you need to choose the right location. Place the hummingbird feeder in a location far from trees, shrubs, and other structures that ants can use to reach the feeder.
Then, use a shepherd’s hook or hanger to hang the hummingbird feeder. This will keep it off the ground and make it more difficult for ants to reach it.
You can also replace your old feeder with a new ant-proof hummingbird feeder. Ant-proof hummingbird feeders are designed to prevent ants from reaching the sugary nectar and invading the feeder. It works by having the following features.
- Built-in moat design
- Removable ant guards
- Inverted design
- Removable nectar guards
2. Use of barriers
The second method how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder is about placing a barrier to keep ants from entering the feeder. Here’s how to do it.
- Fill a small container or a plastic bottle cap with water and place it near the feeder pole. This will be your ant moat or barrier.
- Using a brush or your fingers, apply a generous amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly around the feeder pole, just above the water level of the ant moat. Make sure to cover the entire circumference of the pole.
- Hang the hummingbird feeder from the pole, ensuring it is directly above the ant moat.
- Observe the feeder for a few hours to ensure that the ants cannot reach it. If necessary, reapply the Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the pole as needed.
By wrapping the feeder pole with Vaseline or petroleum jelly, you create a slippery barrier that ants cannot cross, preventing them from reaching the hummingbird feeder. This solution is an uncomplicated and effective way to keep ants away from the feeder while providing a safe and accessible food source for hummingbirds.
3. Using Ant Traps
Here’s another way how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder using ant traps. You can choose from these two options.
- Set up ant baits.
Ant baits can be used to lure and extinguish ants that may be invading the hummingbird feeder. To set up the baits, place a small amount of sugary or protein-based bait near the feeder and away from the hummingbirds. The ants will be tempted by the bait, eat it, and carry it back to their colony, ultimately killing off the entire colony.
- Use commercially available ant traps.
Commercially available ant traps are pre-baited and can be positioned near the hummingbird feeder. These traps use a combination of food and a slow-acting insecticide to kill the ants. Simply place the traps near the feeder and wait for the ants to be attracted to the bait.
Maintenance and cleaning of feeder
Ants can be a nuisance, and you don’t have to deal with them if you know how to maintain and clean your feeder. Luckily, we have some tips for cleaning your feeder.
- Before cleaning, empty the feeder in case there is any remaining nectar.
- Wash the feeder thoroughly using warm water and mild soap. You must also monitor the feeding ports and any nooks or crannies where nectar may have accumulated.
- Rinse the feeder with warm water to remove any soap residue.
- Finally, allow the feeder to air dry completely before refilling it with nectar.
Steps on how to refill the feeder with fresh nectar
- Mix four parts of water with one part of white sugar to create the nectar.
- Boil the mixture for two minutes and then let it cool to room temperature.
- Fill the feeder with freshly prepared nectar.
- It is important to change the nectar in the feeder every 3-5 days, or more often in hot weather, to prevent mold and bacteria from growing in the nectar.
Protect your feeder from ants the right way!
You can choose the method you want to save your feeder from ants. For example, you can simply hang your feeder, or if you have the budget, you can also purchase ant traps.
Regardless of what you choose, learning how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder is important for several reasons.
- Ants consume large quantities of nectar, reducing the amount available for hummingbirds.
- Ants can contaminate the nectar with their bodies and excrement, which can be harmful to the health of hummingbirds.
- Ants can create a chain by walking up to the feeder and enticing more ants, leading to a mob of ants that can overwhelm and scare away the hummingbirds.
- Hummingbirds are very tiny and delicate birds, and ants can harm them.
Therefore, it is important to control ants away from hummingbird feeders to ensure that the birds have a safe and healthy food source. Besides, if you want to maintain a hummingbird-friendly environment, it is important to take a few additional steps beyond keeping ants away from hummingbird feeders, such as the following.
Provide fresh nectar.
Make sure to change the nectar in the feeder regularly, especially during hot weather, as it can spoil quickly.
Clean the feeder.
Clean the feeder thoroughly and frequently to prevent the growth of bacteria or mold, which can harm hummingbirds.
Offer a variety of perches.
Provide hummingbirds with multiple perches near the feeder. You can have branches or twigs to help them rest and feed comfortably.
Plant native flowers.
Offer hummingbirds a variety of natural food sources by planting native flowers that bloom at different times of the year.
Reduce pesticide use.
Minimize pesticides in your yard to protect hummingbirds from toxic chemicals.
By following these suggestions, you can create a hummingbird-friendly environment that provides the birds with a safe and healthy source of food, shelter, and protection.