How to Keep Ants Away From a Hummingbird Feeder

How to Keep Ants Away From a Hummingbird Feeder
Providing a reliable, nutritious source of food for hummingbirds is an excellent way to attract hummingbirds to your property year after year. Hummingbird feeders are easily constructed and widely available in retail stores. However, many who enjoy hummingbird feeders experience problems keeping ants away from the sweet nectar. Because ants are attracted to sweets and can climb trees and branches, it can be difficult to repel the pests.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Apply a small amount of Vaseline to the string above the hummingbird feeder. Also apply Vaseline to the branch at the point of contact where the hummingbird feeder is hung. Ants will not be able to traverse the slippery surface. You can also use vegetable oil.
Step 2
Draw a line of chalk around the hummingbird feeder. If your hummingbird is a window unit or on another surface that you can draw on, a line of chalk will discourage ants.
Step 3
Use a longer wire. A 10-inch or longer wire will make it more difficult for ant scouts to locate the nectar.
Step 4
Invest in an ant moat. An ant moat is small attachment that hooks on between the the hummingbird feeder and the tree as if it were a link in a chain. These inexpensive devices prevent ants from accessing the hummingbird feeder when they are filled with water. You can purchase them in most stores that also sell bird feeders.
Step 5
Build an ant moat. You can also build your own ant moat using household materials. Use a drill or a heated nail (held with a pair of pliers) to create a small hole in the middle of a plastic bottle cap. Soda bottle caps work well, as do spray paint can caps. Thread a thick piece of wire through the hole and bend it into a hook on each end. Seal the hole with hot glue. Fill the cap with water and hang between the bird feeder and the branch, as described above.

Tips & Warnings

Never use pesticides, as the hummingbird may accidentally ingest them.
Avoid using sticky traps, such as tape or glue, as a hummingbird may become stuck in them.

Article Written By Anton Busch

Anton Busch earned a B.A. in English with honors from University of Iowa in 2007 and has been publishing content on the Web ever since. His creative and nonfiction works have appeared in print in "Hotel Amerika," "Earthwords," "Lux Magazine," "Quad City View" and "Verdure Magazine." He also writes for various websites.

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