Keeping Bees Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

Bee on 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.


Solutions: Keeping Bees Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Protecting Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird Feeder With BeesI 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.


ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Tip: Getting Rid of Yellow Jackets and Ants on Hummingbird Feeders

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)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Tip: Use Mint Extract to Deter Wasps from 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

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Tip: Deterring Pests Around Hummingbird Feeders

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 JunieB [3]

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

    Tip: Keep Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders

    I read this tip somewhere. To get rid of sweat bees, wasps, yellow jackets and other bees at your hummingbird feeders, take a 2 liter bottle. Cut the bottle off about 3 to 5 inches below the neck of the bottle and fill the bottom half with a super strong solution of sugar water or some kind of canned soda or flavored drink. Put Vasoline or oil around the inside of the top where you screw the cap on (a thick layer), don't put the cap on it either. Flip the top upside down into the bottom half and secure the two halves together with super glue or packing tape. Poke a hole in the sides, loop some fishing line through the holes, knot the ends of the fishing line at the top and hang it near the hummingbird feeders.

    The bees will be attracted to the solution inside go in and won't be able to get out. They will drown and die. The oil will be slippery so they can't climb back up and the top of the bottle will be cone shaped inverted into the bottom of the bottle so they can't climb the sides and get out. I thought it was a really good idea and I intend on trying it myself.

    Hope this helps!

      By Kristy Lynn Heard D. [1]

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Using Hummingbird Feeders

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


      Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


      Here are questions related to Keeping Bees Out of the Hummingbird Feeder.

      Question: Bees on Hummingbird Feeder

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Best Answer

      By DCA [4] 04/09/2015

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Most Recent Answer

      By Angel59 06/14/2013

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Ants and Wasps in Bird Feeders

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By Roxie Munn [2] 08/06/2012

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Keeping Bees and Wasps Out of Hummingbird Feeders

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By Elizabeth B. 07/18/2015

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Honey Bees and Hummingbird Feeders

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By Janice L. 08/27/2015

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Keeping Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeder

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By tntme [2] 09/10/2011

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Keeping Bees Out of Hummingbird Feeder

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By al Proctor 08/20/2015

      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!

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Keeping Bees Off Hummingbird Feeders

      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

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No

      Most Recent Answer

      By audi [2] 07/31/2011

      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.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Hummingbird Feeders and Honeybees

      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?

        By Brenda J [1]

        AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


        Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

        Archive: Bees in Hummingbird Feeder

        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?


        RE: Bees in Hummingbird Feeder

        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)

        By PICO

        Archive: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        Does anyone have an idea as to how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeder?

        Hardiness Zone: 5b

        DONNA from Millbury, OH

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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. (08/28/2007)

        By charscorner

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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)

        By Dave

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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)

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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

        Archive: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        We have hummingbird feeders and its horrible to see the little hummingbirds trying to eat at the feeders with all the bees. No matter how many feeders I put out the bees are all over the feeders.


        Archive: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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)

        By kathyj311

        RE: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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)

        By mom of towers

        Archive: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

        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

        RE: 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

        RE: 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

        Archive: Keeping Bees Away from a Hummingbird Feeder

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