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
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This does sound like a quick and inexpensive solution for my bee problem. I have tried lots of other things and they don't really work. I will remember to give this a try next spring. I do have some mint extract and also fresh mint growing. If this worked for you, hopefully it will also work for me. Thanx for the tip.
Thank you for this! I didn't have immediate access to mint extract, but I made a little poltice out of ground up mint leaves *my handy mortar and pestle* plus a little oil and water. I rubbed it onto my hummingbird feeder after removing the yellow plastic "flowers" and the bees were immediately put off by it. I even saw them cleaning their feet before they left! The hummingbirds flew in immediately making up for lost time. THANK YOU! It worked miracles!
Can I use peppermint extract?
Any kind of mint extract can be used. I used peppermint extract at first but had to purchase mint when peppermint was no longer available.
BTW, this deters bees, wasps, and yellow jackets.
Are you sure the mint extract is safe for the hummingbirds?
I tried to mint extract...tripled my number of bees.
This is not a good idea. It is not safe for the hummies. When do they ingest mint and get mint extracts on themselves in in nature? The harm potential is worse then the bees. Do not try.
I apply the mint extract on the petals of the fake flowers, around the fake flowers, and where the bottle and lower halves of the feeding base joins. The extract has dried well before I fill and hang the feeders. I do not see how the hummers can ingest the extract or get it on their wings.
I grow spearmint , my yard is full of it. Thinking I could rub the mint around the feeder. Hopefully it will work on those nasty wasps
I tried unscented wax around the flowers on the feeder and that helped but then I tried the peppermint oil and it is amazing. I apply it with a cotton swab lightly occasionally and the bees won't even land and the hummingbirds are free to feed. When bees start landing again refresh the oil
Works like a charm. Thank you so much
It sure didnt stop them for me.
This had no affect on the bees at all. I even put a couple drops on a bee. It didn't care, just kept eating.
How often do you have to put the mint extract on the feeder?
I tried Vaseline first ,and it didn't work. Then I tried mint extract and it didn't work ! What should I try next ?
its toxic to hummingbirds and if it gets on there feathers sorry to say there gonna be easy snacks for cats
I just took a Q-Tip soaked with peppermint oil & rubbed it on top of the feeders, away from the ports. The wasps, who had taken over, are nowhere to be found. Worth the money to invest in the oil & it's not harmful for the birds.
I tried fresh mint.No help at all.I'm starting to think I should take them down.Any other suggestions?
Hi - just tried fresh mint - rubbed on all the ports but within minutes, they were back. Will try the mint oil
I did not have any peppermint oil but i did find some essential oils of my wife had one of the main ingredients is spearmint, i put around the feeder with a cue tip and not one bill has landed on it....thought i would share cause the bees were chasing my hummers away
Ok, as suggested by someone on this site, or maybe another, I took fresh mint and blended it with vegetable oil. Then I strained it leaving only minty oil. I put it all over the outside of feeders (including the top of the feeders where they eat EXCEPT the holes), around the seals and on the bottom where syrup can drip. I took a q-tip and dipped it in the solution and then squeezed the q-tip so that it wasn't soaked and went around the feeder holds with this and slightly in the holes, but the q-tip wasn't wet enough to leave any oil for ingestion for the birds. The birds have NO PROBLEM with this (see gardening-for-life.com on this subject), but the bees had problems. I had swarms of 300-400 honey bees. In my endeavors to keep them off the hummer feeders, at least 50 bees lost their lives. I tried to feed them a mixture of sugar water too. I put it in a container and put rocks in the middle so they could get on the rocks and dip their noses into the water, but the swarm became much greater (up to 500 bees) and they pushed each other into the water. Before I discovered this, many had died. I felt so terrible. So I stopped feeding them and this cut them in half, but the others still wanted the hummer feeders. It took 3-4 days, but most lost interest and moved on. You must keep applying, especially when it rains, but bees do not like this oil/mint mixture. I had about 25-30 hummers before the bees took over. I now have maybe ten. Again, I feel really bad about those bees and I was trying to accommodate them by feeding them too, but that was just inviting the entire neighborhood. I have a beekeeper less than 1/4 of a mile from here with approx. 10 hives. Anyway, problem solved. I did use mint from my herb garden. I probably used 15-20 leaves and a quarter to a half cup of oil. I am satisfied because the birds are happy again.
It did not work for my feeders! Used real mint and it made no difference to the bees
Believe it or not. I filled a zip lock bag 1/3 full of water added some pennies and hung it near the humming bird feeder. NO BEES!!
where do I get the mint extract?
I tried the mint extract and it didn't work. But, when I spread the mint on the feeder and then sprinkle cinnamon on top, the bees were gone in less than an hour. The mixture doesn't seem to bother the hummers either.
I have spearmint and peppermint essential oils... which should I use around the outlets and base of the feeders?
i would be careful and wary of using mint essential oils- as an herbalist we don't allow children under age 7 to use essential oils bc they are too concentrated - so i believe essential oils would be far too much for hummers. you can soak mint leaves in a cheesecloth in side a mason jar filled with water over night (strain the bag and remove from jar in morning) to create a mint decoction that should be safe to for our tiny hummer friends and help keep bees and wasps away
It's true that the wasps and bees didn't bother the feeder, but the hummingbirds didn't like it either.
I just used fresh mint and it seems to be working great. Thanks for the idea. I actually left a sprig of mint on the top of the feeder. Yeah!
I used fresh mint leaves and did not work ,unless, You rub the feeder every couple of minutes..
Mint dose not work
I filled my feeder the other day with orange cake coloring and bees are all over it. I didn't want to take feeder down to change because hummer's were using it before, so I taped a swab on a dowel so I could stand back without getting stung. I soaked the swab in pure mint extract and went around the feeder and little on florets. Bees left but came back but not in full force. Waiting to see if it does any good.
Defiance bees like mint extract! Now what?
Crushed mint leaves worked for me, within 10 minutes one of my feeders was bee free.
Mint only attracted more bees to my feeder! This solution does not work! I have finally given up and taken all my hummer feeders down.
Didn't work on the AZ bees. Only attracted more.
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