Wondering how to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders? Learn easy tips and techniques to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders which you can use immediately.
Hummingbirds are attracted to a good sugar content nectar recipe, but so are bees, hornets, ants, wasps, and other sweet-loving insects.
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Hummingbird Feeder Pests
Native to the Americas and belonging from the biological family of Trochilidae, Hummingbirds are the smallest existing bird species in the world.
They feed on small insects and drink nectar for the completion of their dietary requirements. Like bees, they can assess the sugar content within the nectars of flowers on which they feed to extract their food.
That is why they generally reject nectars of particular flowers where the sugar content is less than 10%. Hence, hummingbirds and bees both have similar dietary needs. For this reason, your disk feeders have an equal chance of attracting both for the sweet nectar.
This interspecies competition in between them creates a mutual rivalry and as the bees generally move in swarms, they capture the disk feeders easily.
This kind of attack of a swarm of bees on hummingbird feeders ultimately makes hummingbirds stay away from the feeders.
In order to overcome this issue, we will be discussing some natural and scientific ways to easily control all insects on nectar feeders.
12 Tips on How to Keep Bees And Wasps Off Hummingbird Feeders
1. Keep the Feeders Clean
Keeping the feeders clean and trying to keep it as less messy as possible has been observed to prevent insects.
If there are no spills of nectars on the ground or on the feeders, chances of insect attacks are low enough as the feeders are generally designed in a deep-dish manner.
2. Choose No-Insect Feeders
The best possible way to save the sweet nectar from the attacks of wasps, ants, and bumblebees is to go for no-insect hummingbird feeders.
These are designed in such a way that makes them less-insect friendly than others. The saucer hummingbird feeder is a good example of a no-insect feeder.
It positions the nectar away from the feeding station making it unreachable for the ants and bees, while hummingbirds with their long tongues have no trouble.
3. Avoid Yellow Feeders
Wasps and bees are attracted to yellow color and floral patterns but do not find red as appealing. So in order to control the movement of bees and wasps, it is necessary to avoid yellow-colored feeders.
Installing neutral-colored feeders is the perfect yet effortless way-out in this situation. Another common idea is that bees do not find red color as appealing a yellow, so if you have a red feeder, bees won’t see it.
4. Keep the Feeder Shaded
Most insects prefer to feed in full sunlight and avoid shady and dark regions. On the other hand, birds do not have such preferences.
So make nectar feeders less attractive by hanging them in a shadier spot. It is one of the effective and natural ways to control bees and wasps to the feeder.
If moving the feeder isn’t an option, you can try placing a separate feeder for the insects and make the nectar sweeter than the first one.
Thus bees, hornets, and the yellow jacket will hopefully move to the sweeter nectar. Keeping the second feeder open might also make it more inviting for insects.
5. Hang a Few Wasps’ Nests
Wasps and bees prefer to stay within their own territories. Another measure many people claim is hanging a few fake wasp nests along the yard.
In that case, they will avoid visiting your yard for the nectar as they can sense the presence of their competitors therein.
6. Using Bee Guards for Hummingbird Feeders
Making the feeding holes of the feeder smaller through which the bees and wasps cannot enter in any way possible.
This will only allow the bird’s tongue or beak to pass through and is quite a thoughtful method of bee proofing the feeder.
7. Stop leakage
As already emphasized in one of the earlier segments, messy or leaking feeders can lead to unwanted insect attacks.
To avoid that, never fill your feeder completely with nectar. This will cause dripping of the same on the ground encouraging ants to invade. It will also seek the attention of bees and wasps.
8. Using Decoys and Repellents
Although it is not a natural process of keeping insects away from feeders if you are having a serious infestation of bees and wasps then it is the right route to follow.
Insects generally fear birds or animals. Therefore, you can keep decoys of birds in order to scare them.
You can moreover use various insect repellent sprays. But remember to spray in a safe manner as such insecticides may have harmful effects on the birds too.
9. Use Insect Traps
Using insect traps are another effective way to keep insects away. Bumblebees and wasps are extremely attracted to objects that are yellow in color, as mentioned before.
Hence, you can install yellow-colored insect traps that have sticky pads installed in them. This will trap the legs of insects right away and stop them from moving any further.
It will not hinder the birds’ movement as they can sense the nectar through their smelling ability and not by the color of the feeder.
10. Relocate or Move the Feeder Frequently
Insects such as bees, ants, and wasps prefer food sources that are easy to locate and reach. They do not possess a good memory besides.
These characteristics can be used as an advantage against them. Hummingbirds have an instinctive memory regarding the location of the nectar source.
Also, they are efficient enough to search for the same in the vicinity of a given source.
So, if you can move the feeder by just a few meters from its original location, you will be able to discourage other insect visitors to the disk or saucer hummingbird feeder.
This is one of the scientifically proven methods and if you have a yard with multiple feeding stations, you can sequentially fill them up with nectar by regular switching.
11. Getting Bee-Proof Saucer Hummingbird Feeders
The shape of the feeder might have a role to play in keeping bees and wasps away. Saucer-shaped or disk feeders, for example, position nectar away from the feeding port and insects are unable to get to it, while hummingbirds with their long tongues have no trouble.
The nectar remains below the cover in a disk feeder, which probably will attract fewer bees than top-mount bottle feeders.
12. Offer Substitute Feeders
If you want to be considerate about insects, then offering substitute feeders is a good option. But do not forget to keep these feeders at a sunlit place.
If you can get a yellow feeder for insects, it will be the most appropriate alternative.
13. Alternate Homemade Repellants Ideas
Applying small amounts of cooking oil, peppermint essential oil, or mint extract around the feeding ports (on the plastic petals, or near the perches) may deter bees and other insects from invading the feeder.
However, this home remedy will not drive all of them away though.
IMP NOTE: Not even a single drop should get mixed with the nectar inside.
14. Hang Feeders with Fishing Line
The fishing line is too thin for ants to climb, which means they won’t be able to reach your hummingbird feeders for a free meal.
I hope you got a few ideas today that will help you keep the bees off the hummingbird feeders in your backyard.
Hopefully, these will keep other insects and ants away, decreasing your hassle of feeding birds while avoiding the invasion of insects at the same time.