Is this working for anyone else? Hummingbirds are only found in the western hemisphere extending from Alaska to Chile. 4. Once ants find a fantastic food source (such as your hummingbird feeder), they leave behind a scent trail to make it easy for the rest of the colony to locate. Just like flying insects, many varieties of ants will be interested in the sugary taste of hummingbird nectar. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 22, 2017: Oh, that's great news. Fishing line is too thin for ants to climb, which means they won’t be able to reach your hummingbird feeders for a free meal. A larger bird like the woodpecker wouldn’t be able to mob the small feeder. Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. It turns out there are about 22,000 different types and we have our fair share here in Brazil. Thanks for sharing! Question: I've been using vegetable oil in the moat above the hummingbird feeder for the last four years to prevent ants - so far so good. It is quite fun to see the small eggcup-size nest being constructed and then filled with eggs the size of Tic Tacs. Ants are generally unable to get to nectar in dripless hummingbird feeders that require hummers to use their tongues to retrieve nectar from the inside. I can see the benefits to that as it won't evaporate like water or be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I done this two months ago and no more ant problems since. Make sure the sprayed side is facing the top to serve as a landing zone for ants. Mary, I agree, this is very well written and assembled article. It's so infuriating putting out a hummingbird feeder only to find it quickly overrun with pesky ants. They can be aggressive and territorial. Here is an easy and inexpensive way to keep those unwanted ants off your feeders. I have received a message from a reader that he used Dawn dish soap and that worked for him! Hummingbirds are very social creatures. You can of course jazz it up so it doesn't look like a plastic lid but just keep in mind you need to have a surface that you can wash and reapply the bug spray as and when needed. A plastic lid sprayed with household cleaner and placed above the hummingbird feeder can keep ants at bay. Hang the Feeder Above Water Ants will stay away from water, so hang the feeder above a fountain or water feature to discourage them from visiting your feeder. Although not an ideal solution, in the short term, it may have long-term benefits. Answer: I have never done it but I see no reason not to. Keep Ants From Crawling Up the Hummingbird Feeder The loop should be strong enough to support the weight of your feeder. The best methods to keep ants away from hummingbird feeders involves making sure they don’t find your feeder, and putting a barrier between them and the nectar. Slip nectar guard tips over hummingbird feeder holes. The ants crawl in and drown. At least now you've got a plan of action, just in case. So, if you are looking for a more natural approach to deterring ants around your hummingbird feeder, this may be an effective way to do just that. If they are bees and not wasps, I personally would do nothing, the plight of the bees is frightening and we should all be doing more to encourage bees into our gardens. They are inquisitive. Once they hatch, all we can see are the pointed beaks sticking out of the nest. It largely comes down to one simple fact: ants are extremely territorial — especially when a food source is involved. They have completely disappeared from my yard. Muscle or 409. Question: I am following your directions but the WD40 spray on the lid STINKS! Putting baby powder on the hanger and if they are hanging on a deck, also put some baby powder on the wooden deck top you have to reapply every couple of days but it works. Red dye #40 (a common food coloring in hummingbird nectar) may also be carcinogenic. This is a method we haven’t tried ourselves, but several sources have told us that it is a fairly effective all-natural remedy. I love having hummingbirds visit my feeders. How to Keep Ants Away from Hummingbird Feeder? This will act as a deterrent for ants in reaching the feeder I used red electrical tape. I'll be looking for some of the plants on your list to help attract these birds. Since the reservoir is made of glass, you may want to go with a higher strength fishing line if you’re using that ant-control method, but also the red color will help to attract hummingbirds to your property. Question: I have tried two different hummingbird feeders, and they both leak. For its size, a hummingbird's brain is bigger than ours. This is good to know however for all those with feeders for these tiny and cute creatures. Just another reason I believe it is best to use natural cleaning products in the kitchen. Not only does it keep the hummingbirds and other nectar-feeding birds away, it encourages more ants—and that is something nobody wants. When a hummingbird comes into contact with an oiled feeder, they will spread that oil over their wings while preening. So, you may also look at other dye-free alternatives, such as boiling sugar in with water. Also thoughtful of you to share. I was desperate to find a solution to the problem. Tip: Keeping Ants Away From Bird Feeder. What about bees ? 3. I have been doing this for 2 years and its been working for me. Slide the plastic lid—which has been sprayed and left to dry—onto the metal wire. There is no way that ants can cross a large body of water. I tried the Vaseline with no luck, the ants just walked over it. Hello, My name is Blane and I’m a life-long resident of Southeastern Louisiana. But once they go in and sample the liquid, they will know there is no danger. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on January 08, 2017: Just remember to reapply the spray occasionally, especially if you have had rain. After reading your ideas, I came up with one of my own. Lucy said products designed to keep ants and squirrels away from her bird feeders range in price from $7 to $25, all way more expensive than a little Vicks or WD-40. I have seen a video of one flying to a camera strap that had a red Canon logo on it. We will now teach you how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder by creating your ant moat using regular household materials. Your solution is very innovative. This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional. Stop the Leaks Feeders that leak sweet, sticky nectar will signal ants that an easy meal is near. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on May 22, 2016: Ants don't only spoil picnics, lol. Many hummingbird aficionados use fishing line to suspend their feeders. But sometimes not-so-welcome guests like ants, … Sharing this forward. Tania, I bought ant moats at a bird supply store. 8, 2010 12:00 AM The Arizona Republic. Here on our farm, we seem to make a solution to a problem instead of buying commercial items. It's often the unusual things that work the best. One great option is the Sufix Magic Fishing Line (Clear). Spray WD-40 on shoe string. Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles. Your birds may at first wonder what the heck this new contraption is. What I have found works best for me is a simple plastic lid, the type that comes on a carton of ice cream or margarine container. I enjoy seeing the hummingbirds, and I wanted to continue attracting to our outdoor area. Many people are plagued by ants, and this is going to be a Godsend to those that have wanted to retain feeders, but don't because of the pests. They certainly like my red bee balm. The ants don't like it, it cheap, no harmful effects to the ecosystem. Something to poke a hole, such as a pair of scissors, a skewer, or the point of a knife. To stop leakage, hang the devices in a less-than-breezy area and stow them away in rough conditions. My only concern is that you will need to keep using more tape, as the sticky part gets coated in dust from the air. Just make sure that they have no access without having to walk through the goo. I have glass bottles, and they have never leaked. 5) Keep feeders away from hiding spots. This could include adding an “ant moat” or using a slippery fishing line to suspend the feeder. I would also like to add here that not only do we get the hummingbirds visiting our feeders, we have them nesting in our garden. Clean the feeder. This all-weather fishing line is thin enough to keep the ants away but strong enough to support four pounds of continuous weight. When I change the sugar water, I leave the wire and plastic lid in place and only remove the bottle. The logic is that the fishing line is too thin and slick for ants to traverse vertically. I will have to find out if it will grow here. Thanks for the idea. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 24, 2019: Thanks for adding that. If you are worried about using this spray near the feeder, don't be. Need is the mother of invention ain't it? Thanks for reading this article from Pest Control Gurus. Start with a new lid and use either a kitchen cleaning spray, such as 409, Mr. Although many of us use these cleaning products, I suspect many people don't rinse their surfaces after using them. Do you have any ideas? You can either get a hummingbird feeder with a built-in ant moat, attach a guard or moat to your existing feeder or make your own. In fact, they take a great interest in anything red. Question: Do you ever paint the lids of the hummingbird feeders before spraying the cleaning solution? But if it is going to cost me a lot of time and/or money, I would need to rethink hanging my feeders out. I always use one about the size of that shown in the photo but it cost you virtually nothing to try another size. We haven't had wasps on the feeders for a couple of years now. I'm going to give the plastic lid a try next time I refill the feeder. Finally, success! At one point I had small wasps which hounded my hummingbird feeders preventing the birds from getting to a feeding station. The way they can delicately hover over a flower, is amazing to see. I tried the moat idea, but like the author, I don't have the time to fill it several times a day. The distance is too large for them to create a bridge with their bodies, which ants sometimes do … We’ve talked to a number of experts on the matter and they universally conclude that adding oil is a bad idea. The oil prevents the wasps and ants from putting their feet (legs) on feeder to get necter. 1.) While this seems like a plausible life hack, ants have an exoskeleton made of chitin, a substance made of cellulose polymers. Therefore, it’s best to skip oils — even “essential oils” — and try an approach that doesn’t endanger the welfare of hummingbirds. Thanks for throwing your idea into the basket of things to try to get those ants away from the hummingbird feeders. Put Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the hook, pole, string, or whatever the feeder is hanging from. If it’s too dark, the hummingbirds may have trouble locating it. But it quickly became an ant feeder. And, you have to be vigilant bc the ants will take over quickly if the moat is dry. How to Keep Ants Out of Your Hummingbird Feeder One of the best ways to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders is to use an ant moat, guard or trap. Since the gel goes on the underside of this “moat-less moat” you don’t have to worry about rainwater affecting its ant-deterring properties. About five years ago I decided that there had to be a way to keep ants out of the cat food proactively, and I tried a few things that I found online. A piece of wire (I used a flexible and plastic-coated wire, but a wire coat hanger would work.). A hummingbird can hover by making a figure eight with its wings, which can beat up to 200 times a second. Another way to keep ants away from hummingbird feeder is apply Vaseline or some oily liquid on the outer side of feeder. We will also throw in a few tips from people who have found creative solutions to this common problem. At a whopping 4.2% of its body weight, it makes ours at 2% seem tiny by comparison. Push from the underside towards the top. Hummingbirds can see the color red, but bees cannot. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 29, 2017: I bought my feeders from the States as the only ones I've seen here are plastic, and not attractive. Here Are the Most Effective Ways to Keep Ants Away from a Hummingbird Feeder. So far this year we haven't had ants on our hummingbird feeders, but last year we did. Easy way to rid ants from humming bird feeder. Plus, they are eager to get to the sugar water. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on May 06, 2016: Sometimes I am like a dog with a bone and won't give up easily. Before we dive into the ants on the hummingbird feeder problem, we should probably answer why hummingbirds are so reluctant to share a hummingbird feeder with ants. Reading through the comments I see that I'll have to address the tiny wasp issues as well. But, there is also one other thing you didn’t expect: ants (and likely lots of them). While a drip pan below the hummingbird feeder can be effective, one other alternative is to buy a dripless-style hummingbird feeder. One of the most popular dripless hummingbird feeders on the market these days is the Cuboid Insect-Proof Hummingbird Feeder. Sometimes, these industrious ants also create a bridge of ants over the water and cross over. Thanks for sharing the suggestions which didn't work and then your creative idea that solves the problem. Previously I had some plastic ones, and in our sunlight, they eventually became brittle and cracked. (In case you didn't know, those kitchen cleaning products also work against bugs, and it is a secret that professional exterminators don't want you to know about.) A leaking hummingbird feeder is an open invitation to ants, bees, and other sugar-loving critters. Thank you. While this article is mostly focused on keeping ants away from your hummingbird feeder, it is worth mentioning that bees can also be a nuisance. Home » Pest Guides » How to Keep Ants Off Hummingbird Feeders (7 Smart Ways). If this repeats over the span of several days, a hummingbird’s ability to fly is diminished and they may ultimately fall victim to common predators such as cats, hawks, eagles, and other animals. How do I deter them? To conserve energy at night, hummingbirds go into a short hibernation, called torpor. The smell might deter them, but after a few sunny days, the adhesive and scent properties of tape usually wear off. Some experts also warn about using adhesive tape and Tree Tanglefoot insect barriers as these can also cause health issues for birds. You are so lucky to have a lot of hummingbirds. They will be most successful in catching birds around your feeder if they are able to sneak up on them. Ah, you’ve made it! The best place to position a hummingbird feeder is in an area with partial shade. You can see an example of this in the photo. I took a shoe string and rapped it around the hanger cable. All of my feeders are glass, so they are quite weighty when full of the sugary water solution. And, the gel won’t dry, collect leaves, or spill. The feeders have been moved around on different branches of the trees but the persistent pests keep finding them. by Clay Thompson - Jul. If you have any recommendations, suggestions, or thoughts that are not covered in this article, please let us know! Bushes, decks, patio furniture, woods along the yard line, etc. Make the hole as small as possible but large enough to allow your wire to pass through. My hummingbirds don't mind the smell at all but the ants sure do! *Edit. Hummingbird Feeder Ants are a real health hazard for the hummingbird! I don't know if this is because the spray penetrated the plastic or if the ants remember that as a potential danger. I use a metal skewer but you could use a knife, scissors or whatever you have to make a small hole. Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on June 27, 2018: Well that's a new one I hadn't heard before. Each time you add new feed to the hummingbird feeder, wipe down the exterior to remove any built up sugar residue. Muscle etc or an insecticide. As you say, it would be much more appealing to look at. I do know what you mean though, natural nectar is better. On some blogs, you might see a mention of wrapping adhesive tape around the pole of your hummingbird feeder. As you may have witnessed, once they come to the feeder, the ants come by the thousands and are capable of eliminating a noticeable portion of the hummingbird’s dinner. Answer: Firstly are they leaking because the wind is strong causing them to spill? Use moats as barriers to keep crawling insects away – 
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