How to best keep ants out of your humminbird feeder

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Ants are unwelcome visitors to your hummingbird feeders. They are more interested in the nectar present in the feeder. As nectar is a combination of sugar and water, it serves as the best sugar treat for ants. You may have found them annoying when they come and spoil your favorite delicacies. Similarly, hummingbirds find them annoying as well.

It’s a joy to watch hummingbirds coming to the feeder present in your backyard. However, they may stop coming due to the presence of uninvited visitors like ants who come to steal the feeds. Once these ants start coming, they arrive in thousands and eliminate huge portions of the hummingbird’s meal.

Though hummingbirds consume insects as part of their protein intake, they have a strong distaste for ants. There are aware that these insects can cause illness. Wondering how to keep these pests away?

Here we have a few solutions to keep your hummingbird feeder ant proof. Let’s have a look!

Check for leakages:

Always do a thorough check on the feeders to find any leaks. This is because leaking feeders act as the thriving place for the invasion of ants. Leaks are more or less like placing a welcome mat for them to enjoy the nectar.

Certain feeders leak much more than the rest. We had a cheap plastic bottle style feeder in our yard earlier. This one had a leakage that looks similar to a sieve. The worst part was the ants came in to plunder in large numbers. This sort of feeder is commonly found in most places. They usually tend to break down easily due to the external elements and start leaking quickly. It’s advisable to go for good quality feeders to prevent the ants from approaching.

Get an ant moat

Ant moats are easy to use and also saves a lot of your time. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about sickening or injuring the hummingbirds by using any chemical insect pesticides. Ant moat is a small type of cup. You can keep it between the feeder and the tree branch on which the bird feeder hangs on. Hang it about the feeder and fill it with water. Ants are not capable of wading through water and getting into the feeder. Purchase a moat and fit it to the feeder and adhere to the instructions.

Also, go for a hummingbird feeder that comes with an inbuilt ant moat. It would be worth it to invest in such a setup. Do you dwell in a place that has a hot and dry climate? Then this type of moat will not be useful for you. This is because the water will evaporate at a faster rate. You may have to look out for the other options.

Apply slippery substances

Get little sticky or oily substances like Vaseline and spread it on the exterior part of the feeder. Ants will find it difficult to crawl in the slippery medium and reach the nectar.

Hang on a fishing line

Try to hang your hummingbird feeder on a fishing line that is sturdy enough to hold it firmly. Fishing lines are well known to be quite slippery. As a result, ants will not get a firm grip to climb upwards. They will also find it challenging to move across the wire. Do you reside in a hot climatic region where moats won’t function well? This method will be great to ward off the pests.

Keep in the shade

At times it’s helpful to hang the hummingbird feeder away from the direct rays of the sun. As the nectar is in liquid form and expands on heating, it may result in leakages. However, placing it in a fully shaded area will dispel the hummingbirds form coming. Most individuals prefer to keep them in places where it’s easy to view. This is because hummingbirds are fun to watch for bird lovers. Partially shaded places are also great options.

Most of the time, the best location for viewing turns out to be the sunny areas. This dilemma can be easily solved. Get a shade to shield the feeder. Good quality sun shades are effective and prevent the nectar from heating up in the sun.

Keep it clean regularly

Each time you fill-up the feeder with fresh food, remember to wipe the exterior clean. This will help in removing any sugar residue that has been building up. Ants are mostly attracted to these sugary residues. Hence cleansing them thoroughly using warm water will keep them from coming over.

Keep it over water

Do you have a fountain or any other water source in your backyard? Try hanging the feeder on top of it. As this water source does not evaporate quickly, ants find it hard to crawl into the feeder. Also, it acts as a good place for hummingbirds to enjoy.

Move frequently

Ants tend to build their habitats near the food sources. By moving the feeder on a regular basis will prevent the ants from building colonies nearby. You can move it to a different location every week.

Final thoughts

Who wouldn’t love to have a hummingbird feeder set up on their porch or yard? Watching these lovely creatures is a beauty in itself. To avoid deterring them, follow the above steps and make your feeder ant proof.



Welcome to Fauna Feeders. As a contributor to this site, I like to share my passion for bird watching with others. Hopefully I can share some knowledge of ways to attract birds and other wildlife into your garden.

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