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Keeping Bees Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

Category Pest Control
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

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

Comment Was this helpful? 9
April 8, 20170 found this helpful

What kind of mint extract did you use? Did you dilute it any?

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8 found this helpful
July 14, 2014

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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Comment Was this helpful? 8
January 4, 20171 found this helpful

As far as ants go, and they do, I have my feeder hanging on a

Shepherd's hook. My husband wrapped a piece of double-sided tape around the pole and the ants are not able to cross it.

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6 found this helpful
June 3, 2015

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.

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July 14, 20141 found this helpful

Hummingbird Feeder

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

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Questions

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0 found this helpful
September 10, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 13, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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, 20164 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 4
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April 8, 20153 found this helpful

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

Answer Was this helpful? 3
April 9, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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
Best Answer

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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3 found this helpful
July 31, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? 3
July 31, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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
April 27, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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1 found this helpful
September 8, 2010

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

Answer Was this helpful? 1
September 10, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
October 3, 20102 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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0 found this helpful
March 4, 2017

What is the best way to keep bees away from my hummingbird feeders?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 5, 20170 found this helpful

I got so frustrated with this very issue and I ended up buying 4 more feeders and put them in different areas and still had bees but not as many in one spot so the hummingbirds had a chance at least. So basically I decreased the masses in each area. Linda H. Omaha, N.E

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March 5, 20170 found this helpful

OK, it's gross but it works. I had bees as big as the hummingbirds, flying up fast enough to bump them out of the way. I made sugar water in a jar-used an old spaghetti sauce jar and filled it about 1/3, I just mixed a bunch of sugar with water until it seemed thicker, no heat or anything. I just sat the jar on the porch rail near the hummingbird feeder. The gigantic bees would dive right in and drown. as they filled the sugar solution I would just add more; by the end of the summer I had a jar full of bees...put the lid on, put them in the trash. These weren't bumblebees or honeybees, the pollinators, they were the size of my thumb and pretty aggressive.

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0 found this helpful
May 9, 2009

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
Anonymous
March 13, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

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
Best Answer

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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0 found this helpful
August 25, 2016

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?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
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.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
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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0 found this helpful
January 7, 2015

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 24, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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0 found this helpful
July 11, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 18, 20152 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
Anonymous
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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0 found this helpful
September 9, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 9, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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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0 found this helpful
June 14, 2016

How do you use the mint on a hummingbird feeder?

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April 8, 20170 found this helpful

I am having this difficulty for the first time ever... I have had hummingbird feeders for at least 10 years and this is the first time for honeybees to be attracted to my feeders. This is what I am trying: 1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 cup water in spray bottle. Spray around the base of the feeders only. So, far so good.

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April 9, 20170 found this helpful

Use Mint Extract. After washing your feeders and before you fill them, take a Q-tip, dip it in mint extract, and apply it to the ports. Also apply underneath feeder, 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. Also dab the mint sporadically on bottle. Bees do not like the scent and will eventually give up. The bottle of mint will go a long ways by using a Q-tip.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

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September 8, 20100 found this helpful

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

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