You have finally gotten the hummingbird garden that you’ve always wanted. You have also managed to get hummingbirds to build nests in your garden, and every morning, you step out to fill their feeders with sugar water, and you smile at the bliss that you’ve been able to create.
Everything is perfect until you spot tiny ants overrunning your hummingbird feeder. When your hummers see ants on their feeders, they will get discouraged and refuse to come to your feeders. Is it possible to get rid of these ants? Yes, it is. Read on, and we’ll show you how.
Ten Ways To Keep Ants Out Of Your Hummingbird Feeders
Homemade hummingbird food is made of sugar and water, so it isn’t surprising when you see ants coming to your hummingbird feeder because, well, ants love sugar too!
Hummingbirds don’t mind eating ants as a stand-alone diet, but they don’t like the taste of ants with their nectar. So, to make our hummers happy, we must eliminate those pesky ants. Below are some tips that you can employ to keep ants out of your hummingbird feeder.
- Commit To Moving Your Feeder
This tip can also be used to eliminate bees from your hummingbird feeder. No one likes to be tossed about, not even ants. Hence, if you move your hummingbird feeder from one location to another, you’d effectively confuse the ants.
You can mark a few spots around your garden where you can move the feeder too. Don’t worry about the hummingbird birds; they have a good sense of direction and will always find their way to the feeder. However, please don’t make it a habit to move the hummingbird feeder for no reason, do it only when you notice the first streaks of ants marching in.
Space the feeders at least seven feet apart. If you are thinking of the best location to move the feeder, move it under some trees or shrubs.
- Use A Fishing Rope To Hang Your Hummingbird Feeder
If moving the feeder doesn’t work, try using a fishing rope to hang your hummingbird feeder. Ants are good climbers, but even they will have challenges climbing a tightrope, such as fishing rope. A fishing line is too thin and slippery for ants to have a proper grip on.
If they attempt to climb the rope, they will most likely fall off before they get to the hummingbird feeder. Ensure that the fishing line is strong enough to hold up the weight of your hummingbird feeder. You can buy a fishing line in your local hardware store. Additionally, ensure that the fishing line can hold at least two pounds.
- Use An Ant Moat
This is perhaps one of the best ways to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder. If you don’t know what an ant moat is, an ant moat is a body of water that serves as protection for your hummingbird feeder. The trick is simple; the ants can’t get into the water to reach the hummingbird feeder.
You can place the ant moats in the center of the hummingbird feeder. If you want, you can build an ant moat yourself, buy an ant moat and install it on your hummingbird feeder or purchase a feeder with an in-built ant moat.
- Employ Use Of Bay Leaves
Bay leaf is a pest repelling plant. Just the smell of the leaves sends them running. So, if you place the bay leaves around the hummingbird feeder or rub parts of the leaves around the feeder, there is a high chance that the ants will no longer be coming around.
When deploying the mighty bay leaf against those pesky ants, there are a lot of options you can utilize. First, you can tie the bay leaves to the fishing pole as added protection. Also, you can plant these leaves near the spot where you will hang the hummingbird feeder.
- Try Hanging The Hummingbird Feeder Above Water
You can once again put the ants to a swimming test, which they’d likely fail because ants aren’t exactly Olympic-level swimmers. They are downright terrible at swimming. Do you have a fountain in your garden? Position your hummingbird feeder above the fountain.
Where an ant moat may fail, a fountain won’t. This is because ants may attempt to cross a small body of water, like the ones in an ant moat, but they won’t try to cross a large body of water, such as a fountain.
It is also important to clean the fountain occasionally because your hummers may sometimes poop in the water. One of the best ways to keep pests away from your hummingbird feeder is by keeping your environment clean.
- Petroleum Jelly To The Rescue
Suppose you don’t have a fountain where you can hang the hummingbird feeder, use petroleum jelly. Ants slip and fall when the surface they are trying to climb is slippery. So, whip out your petroleum-based jelly and rub it around the pole of the hummingbird feeder. The ants may attempt to climb it, but they will fall.
When using this tip, it is important to use it carefully. You don’t want to cause your hummers to have difficulty accessing the feeders because you have coated them with slippery petroleum jelly. Remember, the ants are the enemies, not the hummingbirds.
- Try Using Homemade Repellents
It’s time to look inwards. If you are having a hard time fighting the ants, you may have some valuable weapon arsenal in your home that you aren’t aware of. For example, peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar are some repellents that send ants running. Thankfully, these ingredients don’t kill the ants, but they do send them away.
We don’t know why this even needs to be said but do not use harmful insecticides on your hummingbird feeders to get rid of ants and bees. Insecticides are hazardous to ants, but they can also affect hummingbirds. If the insecticide gets into the homemade nectar and is drunk by the hummingbird, it could be fatal.
- Check For Leakages
While employing all the groundbreaking tactics presented in this article, sometimes, a simple solution can be all you need. A hummingbird feeder leaking sugar water is heaven to ants and bees. They will swarm and overrun the feeder. How can you prevent it? By checking the feeder for leakages at least every two weeks.
When filling the feeder, look closely to see if the water is leaking. Also, if any parts of the feeder are loose, a simple tightening can do the trick. Hot weather can cause the nectar to drip, and windy weather may also cause leaks.
- Use Adhesive Tape
Using adhesive tape is one of the more aggressive ways to handle this problem, but it is effective. Get some sticky tape and tape it around the hummingbird feeder; when the ants attempt to climb, the tape will stop them from moving any further.
While the adhesive tape method works, it comes with a major drawdown. The major drawdown is that you will need to change the tape now and then, especially during a hot summer. Even without a hot summer, exposed adhesive tapes don’t stay “gluey” for too long.
- Clean The Feeder
We left the most simple solution for the last. You will hardly have an ant infestation problem if you can commit to cleaning your hummingbird feeder every day. Remember that the nectar in the water is made up of sugar and water, and the solution often becomes sticky very fast.
When you keep your feeder clean, you are doing the hummingbirds a favor because they will be protected from common hummingbird diseases and ant infestations. Make it a duty to clean your feeder whenever you are refilling it. Use warm water to wash it, and use a brush to scrub the insides to remove any sugar residue.
We have previously shown you how to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder, and now, in this article, we have shown you how to keep the ants away. You can’t keep a hummingbird as a pet, but you can still care for them from a distance by getting rid of pesky ants.