Hummingbird feeders provide a steady supply of hummingbird food and sweet nectar, so wasps and bees are naturally attracted to them. However, the presence of these insects makes these feeders unattractive to hummingbirds.
Besides overcrowding your hummingbird feeder, these insects also deplete your nectar store. Worse still, bees and wasps become aggressive when threatened, so hummingbirds shy away from your feeders and seek less threatening options elsewhere.
Here are some simple steps to get rid of wasps and ensure that your little energetic friends remain a permanent fixture in your surroundings.
Clean Your Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbirds make some mess when they feed, so hummingbird feeders could spill nectar when these birds come to feed.
High temperatures also cause nectar spills, and extreme heat makes these feeders expel nectar due to increased air pressure. Due to the high sugar content, spilled nectars crystallize on hummingbird feeders and leave stains that eventually attract bees and wasps.
It is best to clean up the hummingbird feeder as often as possible and use a soft cloth dipped in warm soap to wipe away nectar stains. Ideally, cleaning the feeder whenever you want to refill it would be best. It is recommended that you empty and fill the feeder twice a week during hot seasons.
Dilute the Nectar Mixture
Nectar is bound to attract birds and insects alike. However, wasps prefer nectar with higher sugar concentrations.
Filling your hummingbird feeders with a diluted nectar mixture will make them less attractive to wasps and bees. However, overdiluting the mixture may put off the hummingbirds as well.
You might need to experiment with several ratios to reach the right concentration. But, a mix of 4:1 water to sugar ratio is the best recommendation.
Clean up Your Surroundings
Bees and wasps will visit piles of litter and open trash cans in search of food. Manure heaps, rotten fruit, and food leftovers constitute a welcome attraction. These insects will continually be a nuisance if these features are commonly found within the same vicinity as your hummingbird feeders.
You can get rid of this menace by cleaning up your surroundings regularly and disposing of waste correctly. Maintaining a clean environment will also reduce the chances of these insects building colonies close to where you keep your hummingbird feeders.
Go for Red Feeders
A division of the hymenopteran family, which wasps and bees belong to, are normally attracted to brightly-colored objects. Hence, colors such as yellow or orange will make them common guests of your hummingbird feeders.
To effectively eliminate these insects, you should go for feeders with a darker color shade. Ideally, red is the best color for feeders since it is more attractive to hummingbirds and less appealing to wasps and bees.
Install Nectar Guard Tips
While the scent of nectar is bound to attract wasps, they will lose interest once they cannot access the liquid.
You can permanently deter bees and wasps from visiting your hummingbird feeder by installing wasp guards at the feeding ports.
These guards create sufficient space between the nectar and the access point. This space is small enough to prevent the insects from getting to the sweet liquid but not too small to prevent the birds from enjoying the nectar.
Seal up Leaks
Faulty hummingbird feeders allow nectar to seep out of the reservoir, allowing wasps to swarm around leaking feeders.
You can easily identify leaks from the tell-tale signs of crystallized sugar around faulty joints or broken feeder parts. Also, always ensure that the seal between the nectar reservoir and the feeding port is correctly fixed.
Switch Feeder Position
You could pull a fast one on invasive wasps by periodically switching the position of your hummingbird feeders.
These insects prefer returning to fixed nectar sources rather than searching for new ones. Hence, moving any hummingbird feeder away from its usual position will throw off any attendant wasps.
If you do not have many options for moving the feeder around, you could also take down the feeder for some time.
Add Organic Deterrents
Organic deterrents such as cinnamon and peppermint oil could effectively repel pesky wasps from your hummingbird feeders.
You could either add these organic deterrents to the cleaning solution you use for your hummingbird feeder or spray them directly on the feeder. While these organic deterrents will keep wasps and bees away, they are completely harmless and pose no mortal risk to the insects.
The steps listed in this article are simple and cost-effective, so you can use them to rid your hummingbird feeders of wasps once and for all.
You might be tempted to combat wasps and bees with insecticides, glue, or adhesive traps. However, these options are not safe. While using these chemicals may give you the desired results, they pose serious environmental risks and could pose a threat to hummingbirds.