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.
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.
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
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
April 9, 2015
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.
I found this recently in my Country Wisdom book, and decided to share it because it really works great at my house! We have hummingbird feeders hanging on our porch and noticed that the yellow jackets were volatile to humans and my poor hummers! So, upon reading how to make hummingbird nectar, it also had how to deter bees.
First of all the nectar recipe is: 1 part water to 3 parts sugar, cook until it comes to a nice boil, but not rolling, then simmer on low 5 minutes. Let cool and pour into container. This will keep for a week in the fridge, if it turns cloudy throw it out.
Okay, now around the holes of your feeder put Vaseline or oil (I prefer Vaseline) with either your finger or Q-tip or small spatula. Hope this helps.
Source: Country Wisdom
By Henrietta B. from Westminster, SC
Editor's Note: Many comments have been sent in to discourage using Vaseline on hummingbird feeders. It can be damaging to the hummingbirds. Also, the most common ratio for making hummingbird solution is 4 (water):1 sugar)
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.
By Beverly 1
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
June 14, 2013
In one of the posts there is a link to "First Nature" web site. Upon reading the post and clinking on the link I found the feeders as suggested. It wasn't until I got to the check out that I noticed a problem. They charge you the price of the feeder for the shipping! So, the feeder just doubled in price. (Even if they state that this is an "estimated shipping cost" they are still charging that amount at check-out). Do not use this link.
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
August 6, 2012
The fishing line & the petroleum jelly did not work for me. Nor the brown bag for the wasp. I think i'll try the water moot next.
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.
July 18, 2015
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.
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!
By clyde n 1
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
August 27, 2015
I have 10 feeders out....we have a ton of hummingbirds. Now the honey bees showed up (for the past four years). A family in our neighborhood has hives. We can't even sit on our deck. There are hundreds of them. All my feeders have bee guards...they do not work. I have one Oriole feeder. The bees also love this feeder...they fall in the holes, float to the top and die. How do we get rid of honey bees from out feeders.
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
September 10, 2011
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.
By fiona 1
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.
August 20, 2015
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!
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
July 31, 2011
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.
My neighbor just put beehives in his yard. We are being bombed by the bees. We cannot sit outside because of them and my biggest problem is how to keep them off of my hummingbird feeders?
This is a guide about using hummingbird feeders. Making sure your feeders are free of insects and clean are important for the hummingbirds.
I have Bees in my Hummingbird Feeder. Does anyone know what can be done about this problem? I think there is a ground nest nearby, but it is in neighbor's yard. Or suppose it is not a ground nest, what can I do?
I have the same problem. We make bee bombs:
Take a 2 litre plastic pop bottle and cut an upside down T about 3/4 of the way up the bottle on both sides. Make it one inch long and high. Gently push the flaps inward, you now have a triangle looking shape. Don't push them in too far just leave a small opening enough for the bee to crawl in. Punch two small holes in the cap and thread a string through to hang it up. Fill the bottle with a can of cola. The bee's are attracted to the pop, they crawl in and can't get out (09/17/2005)
Does anyone have an idea as to how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeder?
Hardiness Zone: 5b
DONNA from Millbury, OH
If your feeder has yellow flowers on the ports, turn them red with nail polish or replace the feeder with one without any yellow on it. I always had the same problem until this year. I purchased a new feeder and its ports were all red. There was no yellow on the feeder at all. Later I read an article about this new feeder which said that yellow attracts bees, thus the manufacturer eliminated yellow. It worked. I did not have any bees or wasps at the feeder this year.
Spray the feeder with "Pam" oil. The stuff that keeps food from sticking. A lodge owner who has about 15 Hummingbird feeder just told me this last week. (08/31/2007)
Don't kill the bees! You're likely to kill honey bees that way, and with the major decline in the vitally important honey bee population, we need all the bees we can get.
I take a cotton ball and soak it with baby oil, and rub the little chain at the top with it to keep ants from climbing down and getting into the ports. For bees, I rub some around the ports. The bees don't like it, and they leave it alone. (09/26/2007)
We had at least 30 bees on our feeder yesterday. We sprayed it, washed it out well, then put crisco oil on it. So far, not 1 bee today. (04/12/2008)
By Renee ONeill
|<img src="http://www.thriftyfun.com//images/articles36/hummingbird300x199.jpg" width="300" height="199" border="0" hspace="7" vspace="0" alt="Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder">|
Jodi from Texas
Here are my ideas for keeping bees, wasps, and other stinging insects away from your hummingbird feeders.
First, keep in mind that it's never safe to use any chemicals to control insects at birdfeeders. That's a given of course, but it needs to be stated anyway. Any flying insects (yes, even the wasps) that choose to feed on hummingbird nectar are likely to play an important role in pollination. In the case of bees, swarming to the feeder for nectar is usually a transient problem. This isn't always the case with other stinging insects, but bees tend to flock to feeders only when other food supplies are low (e.g. few open flowers or lack of rain).
Many people have found that applying cooking oils and sprays to the outside of the feeder ports deters bees, wasps, and other insects. Be very careful if you do this. These tiny birds expend enormous amounts of energy. They need to feed constantly and have little margin for error when it comes to making a livelihood. Oil that accidentally gets on the hummingbird while feeding or during feeder fights can spell disaster when it comes time to preen their feathers. Birds produce their own oils for preening and additional oils can cause their feathers to become matted, which reduces their ability to fly and keep warm. If you decide to use oil on your feeder, please use it with caution.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
I too have honeybees invading my feeders I don't want to kill the bees just send them packing to a different area. I am going to set up a yellow bowl on a ladder filled with a stronger sugar content solution and move the ladder as they drink. (07/17/2008)
You can buy little "traps" that go on the hummingbird feeders. The hummingbird can still eat, but the bees can't get inside it. (07/18/2008)
Just tried the spray canola oil on my hummer feeder and it worked like a charm. The bees do a "fly-by" but never land. For ants, just go to your PetsMart (near Hummer feeders and nectar) and look for a little box called "AntAway" (?). It looks like a green plastic bell with hooks on both ends. Hang it on your hook and the feeder underneath it. Lasts all season so no need to replace it and costs about $7. Haven't had a problem with ants in years. (07/20/2008)
I've tried the yellow dish with super rich nectar. They still went to the feeders. Today, after reading here, I used a cotton swab and olive oil and lightly coated the yellow flowers, red flowers and the connection point between the base and the reservoir. They love to drink there. No bees. I had the great big bumbles; at least 60 swarming around all the feeders. It's worked like a charm and in seconds. Thanks.
The Pam trick worked great and it won't hurt the bees, we need them around. I put on my motorcycle gear and just went out and sprayed the feeders, there were hundreds of bees swarming the feeders at the time, they didn't even come at me to try and sting me in force, just a couple of stragglers. An hour later there are just a few bees flying around, they try and land but just leave.
By John B
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=52110360" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder">
I have tried everything re: bees on previous posts. Nothing helps, Canola or Pam. From my research, I determined that Canola is actually dangerous to animals. I can make "bee bombs" and they work, but I don't want to kill honeybees, which have been in decline.
For ants, using 6 pound monofilament fishing line, with or without ant moats improvised from plastic bottle caps, works fine. (08/01/2008)
Please "don't use oil" on your feeders. The oil will get on the birds feathers and they will not be able to remove it and it will make it very difficult for them to fly. (08/08/2008)
I have used olive oil for years on my hummingbird feeders. It works great for bees and ants. But don't spray the feeders. Instead, spray on your finger then wipe on a thin coat around feeding hole and edge anywhere bees or ants can get in. That way the oil will not coat the tiny wings of our feathered friends. (08/10/2008)
I had the bee problem. Wasp and yellow jackets were running away my birds. So I just found a clear drink bottle of plastic punched a hole on all 4 sides about 4 inches from the bottom of the bottle. I put a little bit of the hummingbird nectar in it and replaced the top. I put a length of wire around the neck of bottle and hung it in the tree, no more problem. The wasps and yellow jackets go in, but don't get out. (08/11/2008)
Here's a picture before I used Vaseline. Works great. Just dab each flower hole and wipe leaving a light film on it. (08/16/2008)
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=61578907" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder">
Please learn how to tell a honey bee from a wasp. Our honey bees are essential to a healthy natural world and are threatened. Screens work for both bees and wasps and are harmless, but must be checked. (08/19/2008)
I am not sure how to keep the bees away. But I do know that if you have an ant problem invading the bird feeders try taking a little bit of dish soap and put it around the hook that the feeder hangs on, but "do not" get it on the feeder itself. Just rub some on the hook and around the area where the hook is placed and this will get rid of the ants. (09/29/2008)
Bees can be a big problem in some parts of the country. Please do "not" use any type of oil, because if the hummingbirds brush against it the oil will get on their feathers and can cause health issues. You must start with a feeder that is specifically designed and advertised to be bee-proof. Then take care when making nectar to not make it too sweet.
For hummingbirds a 4-1 ratio is good, too sweet will attract more bees than birds. Then after hanging clean off drips or spills, I like to spray them off with water from a spray bottle. Any little drip or spill will attract some bees. That should do it, but if not, hang another feeder nearby (not too close) containing a much sweeter mixture and the bees will move to that feeder leaving yours to the birds. For more information check out our website at "The Hummingbird Store".
Enjoy the Flying Jewels! (01/08/2009)
I have hummingbird feeders and the honey bees and bumble bees are taking it over. The hummingbirds cannot feed. Please tell me how to get rid of the bees.
By leveta from TN
Don't fill your feeder much. I change my nectar once every day or two. I only put the nectar in so that there is a couple of inches above the bottom of the bottle, where the feeding tray is. They always have nice, fresh nectar and it's not sitting there to get buggy. (07/13/2009)
I've got one better; I've got a woodpecker that's visiting my feeder. I have one of those bee/wasp catchers near my feeder and the bees go for that. (07/14/2009)
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
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)
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)
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
Smoke keeps bees away. (03/14/2010)
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)
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.
"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)
<img src="http://img.thrfun.com/images/database/tff77894941.JPG" width="400" height="350" alt="RE: 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)