Hummingbirds provide a beautiful scene in your yard and hours of enjoyment. It is easy to attract these beautiful birds to your yard with a feeder supplying a reliable source of nectar. Hanging the feeder near a window or on the front porch gives you “up close and personal” access to these delightful creatures.
Unfortunately, that sugary sweet solution that hummingbirds love also attracts sugar ants. But, when the ants arrive, the birds leave. Fortunately, there are ways to keep ants away from hummingbird feeders so that the birds return to enjoy the nectar you provide.
Keep Ants Away from Your Feeders
Whether you use commercial products or homemade hummingbird nectar recipes, ants are sometimes a problem on your hummingbird feeders. To help, I’ve made a list of how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder so that you and the birds can get the most enjoyment from your hummingbird feeder and the delightful little birds they attract.
If your feeder is leaking with one of your delicious homemade hummingbird food recipes, it will attract ants, too. Check your feeder thoroughly to make sure there are no leaks. Often hot weather causes the nectar to expand and drip so small leaks occur.
Older feeders tend to leak more as the weather takes its toll. Inspect your feeder regularly and keep it in good repair. Windy weather can also lead to leaks so always check the feeder after a storm to see if the nectar has dripped out.
Choose a Shady Spot
Place the feeder in partial shade for best results. Too much sun tends to cause drips and leaks, while too much shade might prevent the hummingbirds from finding your feeder.
Move the Feeder
If ants have found your feeder, move it. By moving the feeder regularly, you can stay one step ahead of the ants and keep them away from your feeder. Hopefully, you have several suitable spots around the yard that you can use to keep the ants away from your feeder.
Hang the Feeder Above Water
Ants will stay away from water, so hang the feeder above a fountain or water feature to discourage them from visiting your feeder. Water at the base of the feeder or spraying into the air around the feeder will act as a deterrent to even the most stubborn ants.
Stop Ants From Crawling Up
It’s really annoying when you’re trying to enjoy hummingbirds and you see wasps or ants crowding the feeding holes on your feeders. The best way to get rid of tiny ants that are eager to suck up that delicious sugar water is to employ preventative measures.
Hang the Feeder with Thin Fishing Line
Ants have a hard time gripping a thin, slippery fishing line and are unable to get to the feeder. Some people use vegetable oil or petroleum jelly on the hanger, but these gummy substances cause problems for the birds if they accidentally brush against the hanger and get it on their wings.
If you feel you need to use vegetable oil or petroleum jelly, use it at the base of the feeder, near the ground, where it won’t come into contact with the birds.
Install an Ant Guard
Also called an ant moat, these devices keep ants from crawling down to the feeder. Hook the ant guard onto the shepherds hook on your stand, then attach the feeder below. Fill the ant guard with a little water to repel ants. Check the ant guard regularly and add more water as needed.
Drill a hole in the center of the cap. Run a wire through the hole and thread it to the supporting line above the feeder. Fill the space between the inner ring and the outside of the cap with water.
Get Ants Out of the Garden
Spray the ground around the base of the feeder with neem oil spray or place insecticide granules around the base. Keep the insecticide low to the ground to avoid harming the birds.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
If you don’t have ants in your yard or garden, you won’t have them in your hummingbird feeder. Get rid of ants naturally with diatomaceous earth.
Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the yard and garden, especially near the hummingbird feeder. The sharp edges of food-grade diatomaceous earth cut the exoskeletons of ants and other garden insects, killing them.
Use Household Ingredients to Repel Ants
Other safe household ingredients that repel ants include cayenne pepper, lemon water, and vinegar. You can sprinkle or spray these in the area to repel ants away from the area or try my Natural Ant Repellent Spray. This may also work to get rid of yellow jackets naturally.
You can quickly mix these ingredients and spray them in your garden or around your hummingbird feeder to repel ants from the area. Ants hate the scent of cayenne pepper and will stay away immediately. The cayenne pepper will settle out, so give the spray bottle a quick shake occasionally.
Your hummingbirds deserve to enjoy their feast without being bothered by these pesky ants. Some of these ideas can keep ants out of food, too. If you follow these tips, you should quickly take care of your ant problem and get back to enjoying the beautiful chirping of these spectacular birds.
If you have a solution not mentioned here, please let me know. I’ve tried to cover the possible solutions thoroughly, but you may know a better way. If so, please share it here in the comments and help all of us enjoy our gardens more.
Also, if you found these hummingbird tips helpful, please share it with others on Facebook and Pinterest. You can help others find this information and keep ants away from their hummingbird feeders.