Watching a hummingbird feed is a wonderful sight. They can’t seem to get enough of sugar water, which is why you need to make sure they have a pleasant and tasty experience every time they visit your feeder.
Why Cleaning Your Feeder Is Important
If you turned up the restaurant with dirty tables and stale food you wouldn’t be very happy. Hummingbirds are no exception when they come to use your feeder. Not only that but keeping it clean will make it more hygienic for them as well.
- In hot weather sugar water can very quickly go moldy and moldy sugar water is not only unappetizing but potentially harmful too. If you see white marks in your sugar water or it appears cloudy then you should clean the feeder and change the water immediately.
- Nectar not only attracts hummingbirds but insects too. You can get ant and bee guards to stop these from getting to the nectar but if there are any drips anywhere on the feeder you could be sure they will find them. A dead insect on their food is a good way to put the hummingbird off from feeding.
- The feeding ports must be kept clear and if they are not cleaned regularly they could get clogged up with a build up of dried sugar. This quite simply means that the birds will not be able to feed.
During hot weather you should check your feeder regularly to make sure that the nectar is clear and healthy and ideally clean it every 3 to 4 days, or more if needed. When you need to top sugar water up, unless you know it is fresh, throw the old sugar water away and replace it with new.
How To Clean A Hummingbird Feeder
Most feeders are designed to be taken apart so that each individual component can be properly cleaned and dried. Before you begin, throwaway any nectar which is left in it.
Some people suggest using a weak solution of bleach to clean your feeder. You do not need to use this and even if you rinse it through the smell and the taste of the bleach can still linger and this will deter the hummingbirds. Not only that, but bleach is extremely harmful to them.
The best way to clean your feeder is with a simple solution of soap and water.
Our Recommended Tips
When you clean your feeder it is important to remember that hummingbirds are small so any cleaning products can be very harmful to them. Always use the weakest solution possible.
- Once you have disposed of the old nectar, completely dismantle your feeder.
- You will need a solution of hot water and very mild, ideally unscented, dish soap. You only need a little dish soap to make sure that no residue is left on the feeder.
- Put all the parts of the feeder into your soap solution and leave them to soak to remove any dried on sugar water.
- You can clean the components with a normal cleaning mop, a bottlebrush or even an old toothbrush, but make sure that all toothpaste has been thoroughly removed before use.
- When all the parts are clean rinse them thoroughly with plain cold water.
- Leave all the parts to dry completely before you reassemble the feeder.
Once reassembled you can top it up with fresh sugar water and hang it back outside.
Some hummingbird feeders are also suitable for your dishwasher. This is obviously a quick and easy way for you to clean but you should always check that all nectar has been fully removed.
- When you clean your feeder don’t be tempted to just clean the reservoir. Mold and bacteria can build up on all parts of the feeder so make sure you always clean the ports, bee guards, ant reservoir and even the perches on which the hummingbirds stand. Keeping all parts clean will also help to deter insects from crawling all over it.
- Never put old sugar water back into your feeder. Always replace it with new syrup.
- Don’t use the cleaning mop or brush for cleaning anything else. This way you can be sure that no harmful chemicals will come in to contact with your feeder.
Here’s a fantastic video to help you.
In summer months if your feeder is particularly busy you may have to top your nectar up during the day or daily. If you know your nectar is fresh in the feeder it’s okay just to top it up. If the feeder is busy, there is less chance of the nectar going moldy. Even if the reservoir is empty always clean your feeder every 3 to 4 days to keep it welcoming and mold free.