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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19 found this helpful
May 29, 2011 Flag

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.
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By Brenda from Durand, MI

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August 24, 20140 found this helpful
Top Comment

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.

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6 found this helpful
November 4, 2011 Flag

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.

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By Brenda2u from Huntington Beach, CA

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November 30, 20111 found this helpful
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Sorry, but I do not like the vaseline anywhere near hummingbirds. Hummers do not have the right equipment to remove it from their wings if they come in contact with it. As they may well, with their energetic flights and fights around feeders. It coats their feathers & beaks, causing distress, hampered flying and possible digestion and body temperature problems. Buy a feeder with a water moat on the top or make your own with a lid. Poke a small hole through the lid, slip on the "moat" to the top, and add water.

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September 9, 2013 Flag

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.

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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.

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. 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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October 28, 20160 found this helpful
Top Comment

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.

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8 found this helpful
August 6, 2012 Flag

feeder trap 2

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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.

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August 25, 2011 Flag

Base of hummingbird feeder with shipping tape to deter ants.

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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.

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1 found this helpful
July 14, 2014 Flag

Hummingbird Feeder

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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.

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7 found this helpful
June 7, 2016 Flag

Flypaper around feeder hanger

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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.

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Questions

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.

11 found this helpful
April 25, 2011 Flag

How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?

By Jerry from Lampasas, TX

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April 26, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I usually will spray the pole I have mine hanging on with vegetable oil spray. They usually won't be able to climb it then.

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May 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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September 7, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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0 found this helpful
September 24, 2010 Flag

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

Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

Answers:

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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July 14, 20161 found this helpful

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.

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0 found this helpful
April 25, 2011 Flag

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

Answers:

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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0 found this helpful
August 16, 2010 Flag

I need help with ants in the hummingbird feeder.

By Linda from Port Angeles, WA

Answers:

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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0 found this helpful
May 30, 2010 Flag

How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?

By smiles56 from M-ville, KY

Answers:

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

Try tying some bay leaves to the top of the feeder. thriftyfun.com (05/16/2009)

By Anonymous

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By theseamstress

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By mapl1948

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

Oil the feeder post or hanger. The ants slip off. Vegetable oil works well. (05/25/2009)

By catastrofy

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By Ariela

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By CreekTreeUSA

RE: A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By midastouch

RE: A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

A Remedy for Ants in the Hummingbird Feeder

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)

By cookiepls

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0 found this helpful
May 16, 2009 Flag

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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0 found this helpful
July 30, 2007 Flag

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.

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0 found this helpful
June 20, 2007 Flag

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.

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