Having Hummingbirds all over your yard is a magnificent sight, indeed. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm. Sometimes, these small little fellows need our help badly.
However, keeping them inside of your yard can sometimes be a tricky job- especially if you are fighting sugar ants.
You probably already know that Hummingbirds are fed on sweet water. On the other side, we have sugar ants, whose name speaks much for itself. So, these two “arch enemies” are both feeding on the same food.
And it’s quite simple, if there are some ants in your Hummingbird feeder, what you actually have is not a Hummingbird feeder but a sugar ant feeder.
If that’s the case, say goodbye to that magnificent view of Hummingbirds flying all around your yard. Now, we don’t want that, and to all of you that don’t want this either, there are simple tricks that will keep those ants nowhere near Hummingbird feeders.
- 1 11 Simple Steps on Keeping Ants Out Of Your Hummingbird Feeder
- 2 Final Word
11 Simple Steps on Keeping Ants Out Of Your Hummingbird Feeder
You must be thinking: “Why would I invest my time and efforts in keeping Hummingbirds inside my yard?” Actually, you don’t even need such big investments to keep them flying around. These methods are neither time nor money-consuming. So, let’s get straight to the point.
1. Prevent leakage
The first thing that should be on your checklist is stopping and sealing any potential leakage. Dripping sweet water will only attract sugar ants and help them fight their way through to the free food. This seems to be the most common reason for your Hummingbird feeder transforming to an ant feeder.
2. Food ratio hack
We already discussed that ants are feeding just like Hummingbirds- on sugar. There is a hack that you can use. Homemade hummingbird nectar is generally one parts sugar to four parts water. So, if you use slightly less sugar, your Hummingbirds will still feed on it and enjoy every sip. However, less sugar means fewer ants as they are attracted by sugar as vampires are attracted by blood.
3. Feeder position
Feeder positioning is of high-priority, no matter how strange or irrelevant it may sound. If your feeder is exposed to the sunlight and hot weather, it wouldn’t be strange if the plastic expands, creating a leakage that we previously discussed.
On the other hand, keeping it in a fully-shaded area will prevent Hummingbirds from finding it at all. So, what would be the compromise? Well, put it in some area which is partially shaded, where there’s not enough sunlight to do any harm to the feeder, yet visible to your loved flying creatures.
Also, you should constantly change the feeder’s position. Since ants tend to build their colonies near the food source, moving it from time to time might ruin their plans. Therefore, every couple of weeks, you should move your feeder to a completely different and distant location of your yard.
One great solution might be placing Hummingbird feeder above water. Ants are not the biggest fans of water as they are not the best swimmers. If there is some fountain or any water in your yard, placing feeder over it will make things more difficult for ants. They won’t be coming anywhere near Hummingbird feeders.
4. Use some oily liquid
Vaseline or some oily liquids are great against ants. All you need to do is apply it to the outer side of the feeder. In some strange way, this will act as a deterrent, discouraging ants from even approaching the feeder.
However, you should have in mind the downfall of this solution: if a Hummingbird accidentally touches Vaseline or oil, it might get in some troubles as its wings will get sticky and hard to control while flying. Therefore, I do not suggest greasing the entire feeder, but just the parts that are hardly reachable for Hummingbirds and extremely reachable (bridge-like) for ants.
There is another great idea, for some much better- hang feeder somewhere with the thin fishing line, or any thin durable line. That will make ant’s approach a lot more difficult, as they will hardly grip these lines.
5. Ant Traps
Believe it or not, they have invented the so-called ant traps. Yep… and those are highly effective. While doing the research, I’ve found this ant trap as one of the most effective ones.
They are cheap and quite easy to install.
Simply hang the cup pointing upwards, add 2-3 drops of vegetable oil to the cup, swirl it around to coat the inside, pour out the excess, and hang it on your feeder! That’s it!
These traps will most certainly keep sugar ants away from your Hummingbird feeders. The question lies: are you willing to invest $20 to scare these ants away?
6. Use Sprays
Hummingbird feeders are often hung on trees. In those case scenarios, it’s highly possible that a tree’s trunk is full of insects and hence, ants as well. Spraying it once in a while might keep these nasty little creatures away from your Hummingbird feeders.
7. Clean the feeder on a daily basis
Well, this measure takes only 30 sec of your time. Just clean the feeder on a daily basis. It’s not that hard as Hummingbird feeders have grateful shape and are more than simple to clean. It’s not only about preventing ants from infesting Hummingbird feeders, but also keeping the hygiene at some normal level for the creatures that you care about.
8. Tie some bay leaves
As superb a repellant to ants bay leaves are, you can use them to save your feeders. If you have hung your Hummingbird feeder on a pole or on some wire, you can use these leaves around the pole or wire to prevent ants from reaching the feeder.
Not only bay leaves are good against ants, but mint leaves as well. It’s a simple and cheap trick to saving your beautiful view of Hummingbirds flying around your yard.
9. Adhesive tape
It’s effective, but a bit inhuman measure of dealing with ants. You can apply some adhesive tape so that adhesive is on the outer side, around the wire or pole that your feeder is hung on. Ants will get stuck and won’t be able to reach feeders at all.
Basically, the idea behind is as the one used for flies with the sticky tape.
10. Use cooking oil
One of the cheapest methods, yet quite an effective one – the cooking oil. No matter where your feeder is hung, you can make use of already used cooking oil. Simply soak a cloth in this oil and apply it to anywhere near the feeder- a pole, wire, or trunks of trees. You will get amazing results.
11. Make your own ant moats
DIY ant moats are not that hard to make and you can probably use some of the waste materials that you have lying around at home. For this venture, you would need nothing more but an old bottle lid. Here are some steps that you will have to take in the making of ant moat:
- Find a spare bottle/ can lid that has two rings and a gap between them. Simply put a small hole through the center of it with a sharp nail or a drill if you prefer.
- Find a piece of wire that you will run from the hole you just made to the bird feeder.
- Remember to seal the hole. Completely. You can use silicone or strong glue to do so.
- Now, pay attention to the positioning of the lid, since the lower side of it should be pointed upwards.
- The next step is filling the hole between the two rings on the lid with water. This way, those ants that are trying to reach your birds’ feeder will have to cross the water and stay trapped once they get caught up in it. Of course, there is a chance that some of them will manage to escape, but, however silly it may sound, ants have great communication system within their colonies and they will inform the rest about the dangers in the specific area.
If you are having serious problems with ants and their overrunning your feeder, simply take a bigger and deeper lid and just follow all of the steps above.
Note: Do not forget that the water evaporates much more quickly during the summertime, so you will have to re-fill the lid occasionally.
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If you really care about Hummingbirds as I do, these are the minimal investments that you can make to secure them a nice daily meal.
You should spend a few minutes of your time to apply some of these methods to effectively keep ants out of your
Hummingbird feeders, not only because of the beautiful view you get but rather for some humane reasons.
Hopefully, this article will make things a lot easier and will help you deal with ants that are invading Hummingbirds’ feeders.