Keeping Ants Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

The sweet liquid in your hummingbird feeder attracts more visitors than just your intended guests. Ants also love the sweet nectar and often invade the feeders. Keeping them out can be a real hassle. This is a guide about keeping ants out of the hummingbird feeder.

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Hummingbird perched on a feeder.
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A hummingbird feeder.My husband made us a moat for our hummingbird feeder to keep ants out of the nectar for just pennies! He cut a water bottle in half, drilled a hole in bottom just big enough to fit the coated wire that holds the feeder on the shepherds hook. He fed the wire through, set the "moat" on top of the feeder, then sealed the hole in the water bottle so no water would leak out. Let sealer (bathtub sealer) set up, add water after dried, and no more ants in the nectar.

By Brenda from Durand, MI

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This works great. Put Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the hook, pole, string, or whatever the feeder is hanging from. The ants get stuck while walking to the food. Just make sure that they have no access without having to walk through the goo. They have completely disappeared from my yard.

By Brenda2u from Huntington Beach, CA

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It's a little late in the season for this tip but if needed, it works well. I put packaging tape on my feeder to catch the ants as they crawl down to get to the sweet stuff. Since I have been doing this, I have had no ants in my feeder and the tape still works after it rains. I have been using this method for several weeks and have replaced the tape only once.

I noticed that the ants were disappearing but not showing up inside the feeder and was wondering what was happening to them. Then, I saw a bird perched on the feeder reaching up and pecking an ant off the tape.

Hummingbird Feeder

Supplies:

  • 1 piece packaging tape
  • 1 piece Scotch tape

Steps:

  1. Use a piece of Scotch tape to tape the end of packaging tape to the feeder to hold it in place as you pull the packaging tape, sticky side up, around the bottle.
  2. Hummingbird Feeder
  3. Overlap the packaging tape where the scotch tape is and make your cut. The tape should be sticky all around with no bridges for the ants to cross. I place a little piece of popsicle stick on the packaging tape before making the cut so I don't lose the end of the tape.
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Base of hummingbird feeder with shipping tape to deter ants.I was finding ants getting into my hummingbird feeder that was hung on a shepard's hook. They apparently climbed up the pole and into the food. I took shipping tape and tied it with string around the post (with sticky side out) starting at the bottom. I went about 12 inches up the pole.

I also put a Terro ant bait trap on the ground so they would be busy eating and not climb up. However, if they did climb up they'd get stuck. Also, fly bait that comes in a long paper strip that is sticky on both sides would work fantastic too. You'd just wrap it around the post and it should stick with no string. This tip is an amazing idea.

By LITTLE SUZY from Millbury, OH A hummingbird feeder on a shepard's hook. Base of hummingbird feeder with shipping tape to deter ants.

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If the bees are chasing your hummingbirds from the feeders, and ants are draining them, as they are mine, you can solve the problem for the most part by making a quick and cheap trap.

feeder trap 2

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After several years of trying everything possible, I've found that liberally applying vegetable oil all over the shepard's crook and the feeder hanger itself keeps ants away. Nothing toxic, messy, or unsightly, and the ants don't like it!

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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.

Hummingbird Feeder With Bees

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I clean and change the sugar water in my hummingbird feeder every other day and was having a big problem with earwigs and ants getting into the container. I think I have solved that problem.

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To prevent ants on hummingbird feeders, use a dryer sheet on the wire supporting the feeder. It works great!

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Is there a way to keep ants out of the hummingbird feeder? Is there an ant-proof feeder?

Thank you.

By Kathy

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I have made an ant moat from a hairspray cap and wire and where I inserted the wire, I used a caulk to seal the hole. If you can look at one at "Wild Birds Unlimited", you can go home and make one. They were like $8 and you can make one much cheaper than that.

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I have an expensive glass hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds come to it very regularly. My problem is that these huge black ants (and they are numerous) are floating in the liquid and are also on the actual feeder. When the liquid is finished, which seems to be every second day, I take it apart and wash it down and clean out all the ants. I then put in fresh liquid. Does anyone know how I can eliminate all these large black ants without jeopardizing the birds?

By Joyce

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We had ants crawling down the wire that the feeder hangs from. We slathered Vaseline all over the wire. Now the ants get stuck in the Vaseline and can't go anywhere. End of problem and it didn't cost a penny because we had a large jar of Vaseline in the medicine cabinet!

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How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?

By Jerry from Lampasas, TX

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I feed about 300 hummers everyday. I go thru about five gallons of feed a day. Ants and bees are a real problem. I hang all my feeders on sheppard hooks. About one foot up from the ground I use axle grease smeared on the pole for about a foot. Product is about 4ft from the feeders. Axle grease is unaffected by heat so even if it's 105 the grease stays in place. I have red ants, black ants, fire ants, carpenter ants and one I don't have a name for. If you do this be sure to wear throw away gloves. And yes I have a large bee problem. So many they killed one of my dogs. I have another solution for bees but unless they are bad and I mean to where I couldn't go near the feeders without bee gear on good luck. Me, I use a shop vac to knock them down. The bees are being managed and the hummers are happy. Every year my hummers return by the hundreds.

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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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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.

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I've put Vaseline on the bottom portion of the pole where I hang my hummingbird feeder. I avoid putting it where the birds may land just on the bottom portion of the pole. It sure helps keeping ants away.

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I have the Perky-Pet type of feeder that mounts on a post, or with suction cups to a window. How can I keep ants away from the feeder? It only takes the ants a few hours to find the feeder, and the only thing I can do is change the nectar, clean the feeder, and remount it.

By Richard

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Hi! I use Vaseline around the holes of the feeder, it keeps ants away as well as yellow jackets. The only thing is it does melt so just replace frequently!

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I can't seem to get rid of the ants on a hummingbird feeder and with this drought it's really hard to keep a mote full of water. I am using a scrap of jewelry wire to hang the feeder from. So far it's working! It is too small for the ants to travel on!

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How do I get rid of ants from a hummingbird feeder?

By Sally

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It is called an ant trap or oil cup and it hangs between the feeder and whatever you have the feeder hanging on. Ant traps are filled with oil and you should be able to find one wherever you find hummer feeders. 10W30 or some such is the best choice as ants can walk short distances on water.

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Put a small hole in the center of a large lid. Run the line you use to hang the feeder through it. Push the lid down to sit on the feeder and seal the hole. Now fill it with water, the ants will drown.

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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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How can I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeder when it's hanging in a tree? I don't want to harm the tree.

By Penny from Branch, AR


Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Place a band of Vaseline about 1 inch wide where the feeder hangs and the ants will not cross the band. (09/24/2010)

By lgsiy

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Tanglefoot, is made for exactly that problem. A small tub will last years. Smear on the wire, holder, support, or hanger above. Ants, earwigs, any bug that crawls will not cross. Weatherproof for the whole season, heck the whole year. Cheers. (09/24/2010)

By muttmom

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Spray the area at the location of the string or wire with bug spray. This will keep the ants off. If you feel this is inhumane, you can also buy a feeder that has an ant mote. I got mine at Walmart. (09/24/2010)

By Suntydt

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Go to Birds and Blooms.com there is a wealth of information on all kinds of things there. (09/24/2010)

By Great Granny Vi

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

I've always heard you don't want to. Humming birds gain protein and other nutrients from the few bugs that they ingest when they feed. At least this is the info that I got from several sources. Bottom line: ants aren't your enemy. (09/25/2010)

By TENKILL

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Tie Bounce dryer sheets very tightly around your hanger or hook. Ants will not touch or cross it. Be sure to replace it every so often after it rains. I've used this for years and it always works. (10/22/2010)

By Innovativemom

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Spray around the hanger with cooking spray. (01/05/2011)

By beanblossom

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You will need a plastic cap from spray paint or a cosmetics top. Drill a hole in the center of the cap. Insert a piece of a coat hanger wire through the hole, position the cap in the middle of the wire, empty side up, and bend a hook each end. Seal around the hole in the cap with glue. Fill the cap with water. Attach the hummingbird feeder from one hook and hang it from the other.

By Eileen

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Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

We made this hanger shown on this website made from a hanger and spray can top. Oh Mylanta, it worked like a charm. Hundreds of ants in the spray can top and none in the feeders. It took maybe five minutes to make and did the trick. Thanks for helping! (08/30/2010)

By leftybish

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I need help with ants in the hummingbird feeder.

By Linda from Port Angeles, WA


A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

Try spraying cooking spray on the hanger (cover the feeder with plastic wrap before spraying if feeder contains food, just to keep ports clean). I sprayed some on my mom's feeder, and didn't see any ants even near the feeder for the 3 days I was there. May have to reapply every so often, but I'm not sure. (05/30/2010)

By agdb1958

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

I put a blob of Vaseline on the hook that is attached to my porch that I hang the feeder from. Just a good coating on the straight part of the hook will keep them from climbing down. (05/31/2010)

By Glenn'sMom

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

Vaseline on the cord it is hanging from will do the trick. Peace and blessings from Texas (06/01/2010)

By jantoo1

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How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?

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I hung a hummingbird feeder last year, no problem. I hung one this year and the ants took it over. Any suggestions?

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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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Home and Garden Gardening Birds & Bird HousesAugust 19, 2011
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