Keeping Ants Out of the Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird perched on a 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 page about keeping ants out of the hummingbird feeder.

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May 29, 2011

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 kerr from Durand, MI

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 148 Posts
August 6, 2012

feeder trap 2If 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.

  1. Take a used water bottle or soda bottle and paint several dots around the bottle about 2 inches or so above the bottom. I used a red Sharpie.

  2. Heat a sharp instrument and punch small holes in the middle of each hole, making is just big enough for the insects to enter. I used a metal ice pick for this step. Also put a couple holes in the cap.

  3. Cut a piece of dental floss about 5 inches long, thread it through the holes in the cap, and knot it to form a loop to hang the trap.

  4. Pour a little nectar in the bottle, or a little fruit juice.

  5. Twist the cap on and hang it near your feeders.

It won't take long for the pests to find the trap. It won't get every one of them, but it will decrease the number. Once they go in, very few will find their way back out.

By Harlean from Hot Springs, AR

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
June 9, 2013

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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August 11, 2015

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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July 31, 2014

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

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22 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.

April 25, 2011

How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeders?

By JERRY from Lampasas, TX


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, 20111 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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August 18, 2012

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


August 20, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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July 3, 2012

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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July 12, 2012

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

By Sally


July 12, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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