Hummingbirds are beautiful little birds that are a pleasure to see at your feeders.
One of the most frustrating things that can happen after setting up a feeder is noticing that it is overrun with ants. They can easily arrive by the thousands and completely take over the feeder. Ants commonly get into the feeding ports and die, which contaminates the precious nectar.
Hummingbirds do eat insects, but ants are not on the menu. So if you are thinking that perhaps the ants are providing additional nutrients for the hummingbirds, think again.
If you are wondering how to keep ants out of a hummingbird feeder, or if it’s even possible, it is. And there are some great ways to keep those pesky ants out permanently.
6 ways to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder
Does Your Feeder Have a Leak?
It’s entirely possible that your hummingbird feeder may be leaking, and if so, the ants will find out. They are attracted to anything with a sweet scent and will flock to leaking nectar.
Thoroughly check your feeder over for any leaks or cracks and fix it right away. Purchase a new one if you have to. Be sure that there are no loose parts on your feeder that could be attributed to a leak.
Hot weather can often cause the nectar to expand and drip, and because hummingbirds frequent hot weather, this is something you want to look out for. Wind and rain will also take a toll on your feeder over time, so make sure you recognise when it needs to be replaced.
Consider an Ant Moat
One of the best ways to prevent ants in your feeder is to install an ant moat. Ant moats serve as a barrier, turning the ant’s attention away from the nectar.
Several hummingbird feeders come with ant moats already installed, and this may be your best bet. Or you could buy a moat separately. Ant moats are fairly simple, but they are very effective at keeping ants away from your feeders.
Be especially vigilant in the summer, as the water in an ant moat will evaporate very quickly, so you need to be sure you refill it consistently.
Use Water to Your Advantage
The positioning of your hummingbird feeder is key. If you have a birdbath or water fountain in your yard, consider hanging your feeder over it.
Ants naturally avoid water, and so this will prevent them from crawling towards the feeder. This may not keep all of the buggers away, but it will certainly help decrease the number of unwanted party guests at your feeder.
Hang the Feeder From Fishing Line
Fishing line is naturally slippery, and it’s almost impossible for ants to balance themselves on it. Hanging your feeder from fishing line will be a great deterrent to ants who are trying to access the precious nectar. Just be sure to buy a grade of fishing line strong enough to hold your feeder securely.
The fishing line itself is enough of a hindrance for ants, so you don’t need to add any extra materials to it. Don’t ever smear oils or jellies on the fishing line, as this will most likely end up on a hummingbird’s delicate wings and feathers, which can prevent them from flying.
Give Sticky Tape a Go
Using sticky tape can be very effective in keeping ants away from your hummingbird feeders. Apply the tape with the sticky side up, and wrap it around the wire or pole your feeder hands on. In their attempt to reach the nectar, ants will find themselves stuck to the tape and no longer allowed to move.
This method can be a bit tedious in the summer, as you will need to replace the tape often. The adhesive properties of sticky tape tend to lose their effectiveness after only a few days in the sun.
If you do decide to use adhesive tape, be sure to purchase a strong brand, as you want it to be sticky enough to trap the ants.
Relocate Your Feeder Often
It may be as simple as moving your hummingbird feeder to a different location now and then. You don’t need to move it far, but you may notice fewer ants if you are constantly switching out the spot.
Once an ant finds a good food source, they love to bring the rest of the colony. But if the feeder is being moved, it will be hard for them to follow the trail.
Feeding hummingbirds can be such a delightful pastime. And there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t be able to do so without having to deal with ants.
Hopefully, by following some of these tips, you will soon have an ant-free hummingbird feeder!