Keeping Bees Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

Bees and hummingbirds are often found in the same places in your garden. However, if you are putting out food for the hummingbirds it can attract an unwanted amount of bees. This is a guide about keeping bees out of he hummingbird feeder.
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November 2, 2011 Flag

The best solution I have found for keeping bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders is mint extract of some sort. After I wash the feeders, and before I fill them, I take a Q-tip, dip it in the extract, and apply it to the ports. I also apply to the edge where the bottle comes in contact with the bottom, and, if applicable, along the seal created when putting top and bottoms together.
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This simple solution worked the first time I used it and has worked ever since. Using extracts can be costly. My tiny bottle lasted for over three years, and yes, it froze during the winter months.

I haven't tried rubbing fresh mint leaves to the ports, etc., but I am sure this would also work.

Source: I cannot recall exactly where online I found this solution. Perhaps hummingbird(s).net

By Leeanne C. from Clio, MI

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July 14, 2014 Flag

I have been reading about a variety of ideas for keeping ants, etc., out of hummingbird feeders. I have cared for hummingbirds for over 30 years and I've tried just about everything out there.

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I have two of the very largest Perky Pet Hummingbird feeders made. Each year we end up with between 20 to 30 hummingbirds. The best things we've done is to hang the feeders from the eaves of the house with a pully that allows me to raise and lower the feeders to change their feed, which is at least once a day in each. To get to the wire that the feeders hang from, first the ants have to climb across our brick wall and up the drain spout to get to the point from which the feeders hang. From there, they can climb down. But I beat them to the punch by dusting the wall and the drain spout with Sevin Dust. I don't like killing the ants, but they seem to get the point after a while and don't bother the feeders anymore after that.

Flying insects, especially wasps, are a different matter. Since one of my feeders hangs in front of my kitchen window, I have a good view of them. As soon as I see one buzzing around the feeder, I go outside with a flyswatter.

Keep all sorts of poisons, and other deterents, like oils, etc., away from the feeders and their hangers. My birds perch on the lines, as well as the cord the hangers hang from while waiting their turn to the feeders. Anything they pick up on their little feet can easly wind up in their beaks, or be carried back to the little ones in the nests.

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June 3, 2015 Flag

I have had a lot of problems with yellow jackets, ants, and paper wasps around my hummingbird feeder. To solve this problem I took a strip of cotton and sprayed it with Raid Hornet and Wasp spray. You only want to dampen the cotton. Then I enclosed it in an onion bag, those mesh or net bags onions come in.

I tied both ends shut. Then I tied it onto the hanger and twirled in around so it came down the one side short of the feeder holes. This has worked like a charm and the hummers do not have any problems feeding. *Be sure the cotton is damp and NOT drippy!

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July 31, 20161 found this helpful
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That is poisoning the humming birds as well.

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August 3, 20160 found this helpful
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also do not want to kill honey bees..

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July 14, 2014 Flag

This is a guide about using hummingbird feeders. Making sure your feeders are free of insects and clean are important for the hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Feeder

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Questions

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September 10, 2011 Flag

We have honey bees in our hummingbird feeders. We have the feeders with the red flowers which someone suggested would keep bees and yellow jackets away, but it doesn't work. Any other suggestions will be appreciated.

By Clyde N

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September 13, 20111 found this helpful
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They sell little caps for the feeders that don't allow the bees or wasps to penetrate the water. I bought a set of them for just a few dollars at the Backyard Bird Shop here in Portland.

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June 2, 20163 found this helpful
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We had 19 feeders, and 15 hummingbirds that enjoyed them every day for years, and when the bees came, every single hummingbird left within a few days. We then bought the feeders with the bee guards on them, and those don't work for nothing! Finally, we bought what they call Flat Feeders, and those WORK. The bees absolutely cannot, at all, get to the juice and the bees will continue checking to see if they can for a day or two, then they'll leave as they see there's nothing there for them.

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April 8, 2015 Flag

My brother insists that 100+ bees drained his hummingbird feeder within minutes, and I say this is impossible. Anyone have an answer for this?

By B. Jones

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April 9, 20150 found this helpful
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Definitely can happen! Bees can empty a hum feeder and quickly. I have not seen it happen myself but my husband has and he is an entomologist.

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July 22, 20161 found this helpful
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I have honey bees and hummers. The solution that has worked for me is to use a bee feeder close to Hummer feeder. These can be found at bee supply stores or online. Instead of the recommenced 4 to 1 Hummer mix, the bee feeder uses a 50/50 mix more suited to honey bees and yellow jackets. The design of bee feeder only accommodate insects, thus draws the pest from the Hummer feeders, also water cup or barrier holding water prevents ants from crawling to Hummer feeders.

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July 31, 2011 Flag

I have been using vegetable oil around the holes to keep bees off. It really works! It is very sticky when cleaning though. Has anyone else tried this?

By Mainehummerluver from Bridgton, ME

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July 31, 20110 found this helpful
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If you get feeders where the feeder part is deep and the sugar water is not to close the bees will not be interested in the feeder. the color of the flower part has nothing to do with it, the bees smell the sugar. if they cant get to it they wont come back. the oil is not good overall to the bees but not good for the hummingbirds either.its not going to kill them but this will help keep down any uneccessary things to our critters to help keep them healthy! but the yes the oil does help on our two fancy favorite feeders (we have since put up)but the others we make sure the the feeder part is deep. hope this helps when you buy feeders in the future.

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Anonymous Flag
April 27, 20160 found this helpful
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I'm trying aquaphor instead of Vaseline. It's slippery but made of water with nothing such as oil or preservatives, so far, so good. 

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May 9, 2009 Flag

How do I keep ants from getting into my bird feeders? I have gone to clean them out and had literally thousands of ants come out of them. Also, any suggestions on keeping wasps and other creatures away from the hummingbird feeders?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

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Anonymous Flag
March 13, 20160 found this helpful
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I wrap one of those fly-catcher strips around the very top of the hanging wire and the ants will not cross over it. It has never harmed by hummingbirds either! We have those big, black ants, but this stops them!

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June 9, 20160 found this helpful
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I put dab of vaseline on the hangers. Works like a charm on the ants. Beekeepers on the feeding ports keeps out the bees too! Hummers are happy! ! !

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September 8, 2010 Flag

Would anyone know of any homemade solutions or handy tips on how to keep yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders?

By Beverly from Easley, SC

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September 10, 20101 found this helpful
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I use mint extract, purchased from the baking aisle of my local grocery. I dip a Q-tip into the extract, then paint the ports, both top and bottom, with the extract. I also smear it randomly on the feeder as well as where the bottle attaches to the base. The yellow jackets ignore the feeders, until it rains. Then you may have to repeat the process, something I always do when I change the nectar water.

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October 3, 20102 found this helpful
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The bees are attracted to the yellow part of the flower. That's all there is to it. I have purchased so many feeders in search of one that is easy to clean. I noticed that the ones with the yellow part in the flower (I have), the bees take it over. The ones that are only red. . .NO BEES! No ants. I put all the feeders with the yellow on one side of the house, and the others on the kitchen side so I can watch while I cook etc.

Oh, and speaking of trying to clean those horrible small holed feeders. Through the years I have been buying so many brushes that I thought would get through the bottle neck. Spent tons of moolah. Guess what I ran into on the net?! Feeders that have the neck large enough for not only a baby bottle brush, but larger! Even the bottom part comes apart in a snap so I can scrub it totally inside and out. The main part that holds the sugar water is clear so you can see how clean it is and the feeding part is completely red! You bet! No bees! I got two of them from the net.

http://www.firstnature.net

Check it out. There are 10 portals. YES. They all do get used at once! The 16oz was 9.99. They have an ant thingy for 3.99. Oriole feeder for 12.99. Need to get me some. Their beaks are too big for the hummingbird feeder and like I said, the bees took theirs over. The Oriole feeder also does not have yellow on it. I have to fix 6 cups of nectar each day to keep up with them cuties. Of course I have not used that red nectar stuff they sell for a pretty price. 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. You can get 25 lbs of sugar from Smart & Final for $12.39. In California anyway. Some states are higher/lower than others.

Happy Humming

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August 25, 2016 Flag

I have hummers every year, I can get ants and bees away from the feeders, but I have the black and white bald face hornets, they are really nasty! I have tried smaller holes and moving the feeders, but I just can't get rid of them and the hummers are afraid of them big time, any suggestions?

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August 28, 20161 found this helpful

I use the paper wasp nest that scares them, they are afraid of a huge nest so they stay away, just hang up on a near by spot. also you can blow air into a paper bag and tie the end and hang it, works also.

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September 2, 20160 found this helpful

I put Avon's Skin So Soft around the little indentations that hold jelly for the orioles. The big black and white bees give up in about 3 days. They need to stand on the feeder and don't like the oil. My feeders are the flat ones that hold nectar and jelly. The yellow striped wasps are still here, but the nasty black and whites ones are gone.

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January 7, 2015 Flag

Bees are going to the coloured sugar water I hang from the tress for the birds, near their food. How can I prevent or distract the bees from taking over the bottle? They get angry if I chase them away.

By Fiona

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July 24, 20161 found this helpful
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I've learned that the coloring is very bad for hummingbirds. Making your own nectar is simple (1 part sugar to 4 parts water) -- the red coloring is not necessary as most feeders are red anyway.

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August 20, 20151 found this helpful

We have again this year been thru 60 lbs of sugar in 65 days so far. We do not know how many birds but hundreds in three waves since June 15 in NM. Wash you feeders with every refill ( 120 ) so far on 32 oz feeders we use 3 very well with cold water and dry off before, do not spill and only use. 1 sugar to 4 parts water no need to boil, no color added, do otuse store bought humming bird solutions ever. Wehave been doing this for 8 years,they come back every year with more!

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July 11, 2011 Flag

When I hang my hummers food trays, all I get is bees and wasps. What can I do? And no matter where I hang it, they come.
Thank you.

By Lorraine

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July 18, 20152 found this helpful
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Birds are super sensitive to the spray. Reading the can is your first hint. It will kill your pet bird is another hint. Please do not do this ever. It is horrible. Also the bees carry it back to the hive and you can guess the rest. Bees are in big trouble and do not need us to add more threats. There are much more sensitive ways to control them. Yellow flowers on feeders are no good, reduce proportions to 1:5 instead of 1:4. Make super strong 1:3 or 1:2 nectar for bees in their own feeder and move it away from your hummer's feeders, a little further each day might be best so the can move along. Call Hummingbird Society in your area for more ideas but no bug spray. Ever.

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Anonymous Flag
May 2, 20160 found this helpful

I bought an ant guard for my hummingbird feeder. So far, it has kept most bees away. No rhyme or reason just glad. I paid a lot for it, about 6$ but you just hang it above the feeder. It has lasted 3 hrs!

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September 9, 2011 Flag

I need to know how to keep bees away from my hummingbird feeders. I have two hanging in my yard and the bees just all of a sudden showed up one day a couple of weeks ago and now the poor hummers can't get a drink in edge wise. I have to hose them down just to be able to get the feeders down to refill them.

They have even found a way to get inside the feeders, then they float to the top and paddle around until they die or until I open it to refill it, then they are in my kitchen and I have to battle them with the fly swatter! I have already been stung twice and I really enjoy watching the hummers and would hate to have to take down the feeders.

By tntme from Long Beach, CA

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September 9, 20110 found this helpful
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Normally they can't make it into the feeder that just puzzles me. It sounds like the holes in the feeder where the hummers stick their beak and tongue in is too larger, a bee only needs 3/8 inch space to get into. I hate to say get new feeders with smaller feeder holes but that is what you might be what you need to do. Or if you can find a mesh small enough to put behind the first little screen.

If the bees can't get to it, they will after several days quit coming to it. They smell the sugar and want it but if they cant get to it the busy little critters don't waste time with it and move on.

If there are that many is there a beekeeper keeping bees close by? Bees travel up to 1/2 mile away from the hive. Check any small opening into something dark like a wall or piece of equipment.

If you do have a beekeeper with bees close by contact them because they might have to reevaluate the situation for their bees and can give you more tips for handling the busy little bees! Good luck

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September 10, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks I will have to check into it but I'm in a very rural area and I think they are just wild bees. But you are probably right about getting a new feeder.

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June 14, 2016 Flag

How do you use the mint on a hummingbird feeder?

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September 8, 2010 Flag

How can I get rid of honey bees at humming bird feeders? The bees chase the hummers away. They completely cover the feeders.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

By Debbie from MO

Answers:

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

Smoke keeps bees away. (03/14/2010)

By Dorty

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

I always make sure that there's no nectar on the outside before hanging and, last summer, I got one of those "bee catchers" and put it near the feeder, so the bees go for that and leave the feeder for the "hummers". I'm sure someone on this site has instructions to make your own, to save $$$, too! (03/19/2010)

By mom of towers

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

Please learn the difference between a bee and a wasp! You do NOT want to kill bees and a plastic bottle trap that you hang from a tree will kill both.

ebeehoney.com

"Wasps are thinner, can be aggressive, and interested in food and garbage. Bees are generally plumper, mild mannered and interested in flowers, not your lunch or garbage can." (04/10/2010)

By HeatherM

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

I have just tried this method of keeping honey bees away from my hummingbird feeders and it seems to be working very well. At least there is no swarm of bees. Put vegetable oil on the spout and on the flower where the hummingbirds drink. I just smeared it on with my fingers. Now my hummingbirds can drink in peace, so far! I think I will apply the oil to the entire base of the feeder to totally get rid of the bees! Thank goodness. I have spent a whole day trying different things and this works. (07/07/2010)

By righteousrose

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Anonymous Flag
May 31, 20160 found this helpful
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Do not use an kind of oil or vaseline around Hummers feeders..it gets on their feathers and is fatal for them

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March 14, 2010 Flag

I am looking for a solution to keep bees and yellow jackets away from my Humming Bird feeders. I had a Thrifty tip about a brown paper bag, but lost it. Please help. Thanks.

By Bevvie from Placerville, Ca

Answers:

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

I had the same problem as most of you, so my husband went to the local hardware store and got Sterling RESCUE yellow jacket trap for about $13.00. Boy does it ever work. In one day we caught a bunch of them. The Hummingbirds are now happy. (08/12/2009)

By Bevvie

Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

Keeping bees away from your hummingbird feeder is actually a very easy fix and you don't need to use dangerous oils. True hummingbird feeders have holes in the flowers too small for the bees to get the nectar. I have one that was also for larger birds as well, but the feeding holes were large enough for the bees to crawl into so I had to cover the holes with sticky back covering and make my own smaller holes in the center of the covering so that the bees cannot fit into. I painted around the covering with yellow acrylic paint so it still looks like a flower. Works great and no more bees. Hummingbirds are all happy. (08/20/2009)

By RoxyCares

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