7 Effective Ways to Repel Bees and Wasps from Hummingbird Feeders Naturally

1. How to Keep Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders

Three hummingbirds are gathered around a clear glass bird feeder with a red base, sipping nectar. A fourth bird is approaching in flight. The background is blurry with green hues, likely trees or foliage.

If you love hummingbirds and want them to visit your garden, you might have experienced the issue of bees and wasps taking over your hummingbird feeders. Bees play a vital role in pollination, but their presence can prevent hummingbirds from getting to the sweet nectar. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to repel bees and wasps from your hummingbird feeders. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Use Saucer Feeders with Narrow Flowers: Choose saucer feeders that have small flower openings. Hummingbirds have long beaks that can easily reach the nectar, while bees and wasps will struggle.
  • Hang Ant Moats Above Feeders: Ants are another common problem with hummingbird feeders. To keep them away, hang ant moats above your feeders. These moats have water that acts as a barrier for ants trying to get to the nectar.
  • Hang Hummingbird Feeders with Fishing Line: Wrap fishing line around the hanging wire or hook of your feeder. Bees and wasps find it hard to hold onto the slippery surface of the fishing line, stopping them from reaching the nectar.
  • Slip Nectar Guard Tips Over Feeder Holes: Nectar guard tips are small plastic devices that fit over the feeding holes of your hummingbird feeder. These tips let hummingbirds access the nectar while keeping bees and wasps out.
  • Periodically Move Feeders: Bees and wasps are creatures of habit. By moving your hummingbird feeders a few feet every few days, you can confuse these insects and make it difficult for them to find the feeders again.

Implementing these natural solutions will make your garden more welcoming for hummingbirds while reducing the presence of bees and wasps at your feeders. Remember, it's crucial to create a safe and peaceful space for hummingbirds to enjoy their nectar without being bothered by other insects.

2. When to Put Out Hummingbird Feeders

Two hummingbirds hover around a hanging feeder designed to look like yellow and red flowers. They sip from the artificial blooms, with greenery and bright pink flowers in the background. The scene is set against a soft, out-of-focus green backdrop.

When deciding when to put out your hummingbird feeders, it's important to consider the seasonal patterns of bee and wasp activity. By understanding the life cycles of these insects, you can strategically time the placement of your feeders to minimize unwanted interactions with bees and wasps.

Here are some tips on when to put out your hummingbird feeders:

  1. Early Spring: This is the ideal time to start putting out your hummingbird feeders, as it coincides with the arrival of migrating hummingbirds in many regions. During this time, bee and wasp populations are usually low, so you're less likely to attract them to your feeders.
  2. Late Summer/Fall: As summer comes to an end, bee and wasp activity tends to decrease. By this time, resident hummingbirds may have also established their territories and become more dominant over other nectar-seeking insects. Putting out or maintaining your feeders during this period, as mentioned in these frequently asked questions about attracting hummingbirds, can help ensure a steady food source for hummingbirds before they migrate south.

Understanding the optimal timing for putting out hummingbird feeders will help you attract these delightful birds while minimizing the presence of bees and wasps.

3. How to Keep Ants Out of Hummingbird Feeders

Three hummingbirds are feeding at a red hummingbird feeder, which is partially filled with nectar. The background is blurred, emphasizing the birds and the feeder. One hummingbird is perched while the others hover around the feeding ports. Remember to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders for a cleaner setup.

When you want to attract hummingbirds to your feeders, the last thing you need is a line of ants coming for the nectar. Not only can they make the food dirty, but they can also scare away hummingbirds completely. To stop ants from getting near your hummingbird feeders, here are some effective and natural ways:

  1. Clean Hummingbird Feeders Regularly: The best way to stop ants from being interested in your feeders is by keeping them clean. Ants like sweet things, so clean your feeders often with hot water and mild soap. Rinse them well and let them dry completely before filling again.
  2. Create a Barrier: Stop ants from reaching the nectar by making a physical barrier around your feeder. Here are some options you can try:
  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly or cooking oil around the hook or hanger holding your feeder. This makes it slippery for ants to crawl across.
  • Hang ant moats above your feeders. Ant moats are small devices filled with water that act as barriers. Hang them between the hanger and the feeder so ants can't go past.
  • Use sticky ant traps or tape around the pole or bottom of your feeder. These traps catch any ants trying to climb up towards the nectar.
  1. Move Your Feeder: If ants keep finding their way to your feeder, think about moving it somewhere else. Choose a spot where it's harder for ants to get to, like far from trees or other things they can use as bridges.

Remember, always check your feeders regularly for any signs of ants and take action right away if needed. By doing these simple things, you can enjoy watching hummingbirds without ants bothering their mealtime.

4. How to Clean Hummingbird Feeders

When to put out hummingbird feeders:

Understanding the optimal timing for putting out hummingbird feeders is essential to attract these beautiful birds to your yard. Hummingbirds start their migration in spring, so it's crucial to have your feeders ready before they arrive in your area.

How do hummingbirds find feeders:

Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored objects and may spot your feeder from a distance. They also have an excellent memory and can remember where reliable food sources are located.

The Importance of Proper Feeder Placement and Timing:

  • Cleanliness is Key: Regularly scheduled cleaning is important to maintain a healthy environment for the hummingbirds.
  • Strategic Placement: Positioning the feeder in a shaded area can help slow down fermentation and bacterial growth in the nectar.

Proper feeder placement is vital to attracting hummingbirds, and clean feeders will ensure that they keep coming back for more. By understanding the behavior of these fascinating creatures, you can create an inviting space for them while maintaining a clean and safe environment for their nourishment.

5. How to Keep Bees off Hummingbird Feeders


Bees and wasps are attracted to the sweet nectar in hummingbird feeders, which can deter hummingbirds from accessing their much-needed food source. If you want to create a bee-free environment for your backyard hummingbirds, here are some natural solutions to repel bees and wasps from hummingbird feeders:

  1. Use Saucer Feeders with Narrow Flowers: Opt for saucer feeders with narrow flower openings that are specifically designed to accommodate the long bills of hummingbirds while making it difficult for bees and wasps to access the nectar.
  2. Hang Ant Moats Above Feeders: Ant moats can be effective in deterring ants from reaching your hummingbird feeders. These small devices are filled with water and hung above the feeders, creating a barrier that prevents ants from reaching the sweet nectar.
  3. Hang Hummingbird Feeders with Fishing Line: By suspending your hummingbird feeders with fishing line instead of traditional wire or string, you can discourage ants from climbing up to the feeders. The slippery surface of the fishing line makes it challenging for ants to gain access.
  4. Slip Nectar Guard Tips Over Feeder Holes: Nectar guard tips are small plastic devices that fit over the feeder holes, allowing hummingbirds to access the nectar while deterring bees and wasps. These tips create a physical barrier that prevents larger insects from reaching the nectar.
  5. Periodically Move Feeders: Bees and wasps have a remarkable ability to remember locations, so periodically moving your feeders by 3-4 feet can confuse them and make it harder for them to find the food source while still allowing hummingbirds to locate the feeders easily.

Implementing these solutions not only helps repel bees and wasps but also ensures that hummingbirds can enjoy their food undisturbed. By creating a bee-free environment, you provide a safe haven for these beautiful and important pollinators.

Remember, it's crucial to select solutions that are safe for both hummingbirds and the environment. Avoid using chemical-based repellents or traps that may harm beneficial insects. Instead, opt for natural methods that are effective and environmentally friendly.

6. When to Put Hummingbird Feeders Out

When it comes to putting out hummingbird feeders, timing is everything. To attract these beautiful birds and ensure they have a reliable food source, here are some important factors to consider:

1. Migration Seasons


Hummingbirds in North America typically migrate during spring and fall. To welcome them back in the spring and provide support during their journey, follow these guidelines:

  • Place your feeders out a week or so before you expect the first arrivals.
  • Keep them up until a week or so after you've seen the last hummingbird of the season.

2. Local Climate

Understanding your local climate will help you determine the best time to put out hummingbird feeders:

  • Warmer Regions: If you live in a place like the southern United States where winters are mild, you can put out feeders earlier in the year.
  • Cooler Climates: In areas with colder winters, it's crucial to wait until the last frost has passed before placing feeders outside.

3. Flowering Seasons

Hummingbirds are attracted to flowers that provide nectar, their main source of food. By keeping an eye on the blooming patterns in your area, you can get a sense of when natural nectar sources become available:

  • If flowers are blooming nearby, it's a good indication that it's time to hang your hummingbird feeders.
  • Remember to choose feeder locations that mimic the natural environment, such as near flowering plants or trees.

4. Consistent Feeding Schedule

Once you start putting out feeders, it's important to maintain a consistent schedule throughout the season:

  • Refill the nectar solution every few days, especially during hot weather when it can spoil more quickly.
  • Clean the feeders thoroughly once a week to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
  • Hummingbirds rely on a steady food supply, especially during their long migration journeys.

5. Year-Round Feeding

While some hummingbird species migrate, others remain in certain regions throughout the year. If you're lucky enough to have resident hummingbirds, consider these tips:

  • Keep your feeders stocked even in winter to ensure that these birds have access to food during colder months.
  • Opt for feeders with built-in heating elements or use insulated covers to prevent the nectar from freezing.
  • Place feeders near sheltered areas like evergreen trees or shrubs where hummingbirds can find protection from harsh weather conditions.

By taking these factors into account, you can strategically time the placement of your hummingbird feeders to attract and support these delightful creatures throughout their lifecycle.

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