Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
By Brenda from Durand, MI
Your husband is a genius. This is the first year that we have had a problem with ants on the feeder. I spent a lot of time changing the sugar water after flushing out all the ants. When I read your post, I immediately tried it. It works beautifully. The hummingbirds love it, I love it, and the ants hate it. Thanks for the tip.
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.
The packaging tape does work well. When I was using that method, my feeder was hanging in a tree and actually inviting ants to come and drink. Ants were a real problem. Since then, we have cut the tree down and I put my feeder on a pole. I got some Home Defense insect spray from Walmart. It is the kind that is safe to use inside your home. It says it is not harmful to animals after it dries which does not take long. I sprayed the grass just around the bottom of the pole and up the pole just a little above the grass line. No ants at all. I had to spray each time it rained. It solved my problem with ants and we had a lot of hummingbirds this summer.
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.
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.
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!
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.
To prevent ants on hummingbird feeders, use a dryer sheet on the wire supporting the feeder. It works great!
I have tried "everything" over the years to keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders without success, but have finally solved this problem. As soon as the weather warmed up they arrived in great numbers. I used a wire to hang the feeder, and then twisted an old fashioned fly strip around the wire above the feeder.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
By Jerry from Lampasas, TX
I spread Vaseline on the hook and up the chain and I also have a ant molt keep it filled with water it should not touch anything close to where the ants can reach the feeder like leaves.
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.
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.
Be careful that the vaseline can't melt into the feeder, it can cause the hummingbirds to get sick, remember it is a petroleum product. Better to put it around the container part.
I used spray vegetable oil on top and hanger ants don't seem to like the oil
How do I get rid of ants from a hummingbird feeder?
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.
Please do not use any oil products near a hummingbird feeder. The ant moats are to be filled with water. Please NO VASELINE. Please please do not spray your feeders with Pam spray. Don't put any oils, Vicks Vapor Rub, Pam Cooking Spray, Duct Tape, Off, Skin-so-soft, or Vaseline on your hummingbird feeder. These may work slightly. However, hummingbirds have a tendency to fly around frantically and bump into feeders quite often. They also land on shepards hooks and if there is oily stuff or duct tape on the feeder, it can get into the feathers. The hummingbirds will have a hard time getting it off and it's not all that good for them. They can't get it off their feathers and it will lead to hypothermia and death. Plus, most of these items will melt in the heat making goo run all over the place. Please don't use these items.
Is there a way to keep ants out of the hummingbird feeder? Is there an ant-proof feeder?
I use double sided tape at the base of the Shepard hook. The ants sense it's at their peril to cross it.
Oh my, please please don't do this. The cup is used for water. It is called an ant moat. Please NO VASELINE. Please please do not spray your feeders with Pam spray. Don't put any oils, Vicks Vapor Rub, Pam Cooking Spray, Duct Tape, Off, Skin-so-soft, or Vaseline on your hummingbird feeder. These may work slightly. However, hummingbirds have a tendency to fly around frantically and bump into feeders quite often. They also land on shepards hooks and if there is oily stuff or duct tape on the feeder, it can get into the feathers. The hummingbirds will have a hard time getting it off and it's not all that good for them. They can't get it off their feathers and it will lead to hypothermia and death. Plus, most of these items will melt in the heat making goo run all over the place. Please don't use these items.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
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.
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)
I used this trick this year but used drapery cord instead of a metal coat hanger and then superglue to seal the hole. I also put a Popsicle stick underneath the cap for more stability (otherwise the cup would list to one side). I put tap water in the cap so the hummingbirds have fresh water to drink in case they need to get hydrated.
How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?
By smiles56 from M-ville, KY
Try tying some bay leaves to the top of the feeder. thriftyfun.com (05/16/2009)
Rub cinnamon on your fingers and slide it down the cord or hanger to your feeder, ants do not like cinnamon and will not cross it. (05/16/2009)
Re: Water filled moats. Add a drop of dish soap to the container. I use old pudding cups or other snack cups and a piece of coat hanger wire. Very frugal. (05/22/2009)
Oil the feeder post or hanger. The ants slip off. Vegetable oil works well. (05/25/2009)
I have read NOT to use oil or Vaseline the post or hook or anything near the Hummingbird feeder! If those precious little birds get it on them it can impair their flying. Google it. (05/25/2009)
The most effective method we have found for keeping ants out of hummingbird feeders is an
ant moat or ant guard. While some people make their own, Parasol Garden makes a great ant moat. It looks like an upside down umbrella, and has a loop on top for hanging on the hook, and a hook underneath to hang your feeder on. The ants won't cross the water to get to the feeder.
These moats come in a black umbrella shape, red flower shape, or green leaf shape. We carry these under Hummingbird accessories in our CreekTreeUSA store. They really do work. (05/27/2009)
We found a fantastic solution for keeping ants and earwigs out of our feeder. Get a plastic takeout container and make a small hole in the center at the bottom. The hole needs to be small enough to require some pressure to pull the cord through, as you want it to be a tight fit.
The container we found fit perfectly on the top of the feeder (see picture below) and has high, smooth sides. Fill the bottom of the container with cinnamon. Firstly, ants don't like cinnamon and it doesn't take long before they don't come calling again. Secondly, the cinnamon coats the sides of the container too and, once the ants and earwigs are in the bottom they cannot get out as they keep slipping down.
It did not take long before neither ants nor earwigs were coming around anymore. We keep the container up to prevent this from happening again. The lid on top of the glass cylinder screws off, making it easy to clean the feeder without having to pull off the plastic container from the cord each time. (08/24/2009)
So far I've tried the fishing line. In less than 10 minutes the ants had become bold enough to climb down the line. The next thing I tried was the cinnamon. They crossed right over it like it was nothing. I guess I'll try the moat now. (04/21/2010)
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.
I need help with ants in the hummingbird feeder.
I hung a hummingbird feeder last year, no problem. I hung one this year and the ants took it over. Any suggestions?
Since summer is here, I'm sure a lot of people have hummingbird feeders. Well here's an idea of how to keep ants out. If you have the feeder hanging from a small pole, go out and buy the sticky paper that catches flies and wrap it around the pole.
I had the problem of having ants in my hummingbird feeder. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a couple of small plastic bowls and some super glue.