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Hummingbird Feeders vs. Ants

In the summer heat, many people have a problem with ants invading their hummingbird feeders. Here is a handy tool to combat the ant problem. It is called an "ant moat" or "ant baffle" and it is basically a little dish that sits over the top of the feeder like an upside-down umbrella or a cup. Fill it with water and the ants won’t cross it to get to the sweet nectar. Many companies have a version. You can buy one here from Duncraft. And NO, I do not get money for recommending this company! I just order from Duncraft all the time and they have great stuff.


You can also make your own "moat" with a spray can cap. Drill a hole in a cap and thread it over the top of your feeder. Seal it with silicone gel. Fill the "moat with water and you have a nice deterrent to ants. You can also install the "moat" upside down (like a tent) and smear oil inside the cap. Birds will not come in contact with the oil, but ants won’t cross it. Either method will keep ants from your precious nectar.

Another option is to coat the string or wire that the holds the feeder with vegetable oil or spray the wire with a non-stick cooking spray like "Pam". Ants don’t like to walk in the sticky oil and won’t run down the wire to the sugar water. This oil will need to be re-applied each week when you clean the feeder.

If you make your own nectar for your hummingbirds, remember to use 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Boil the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Cool the nectar completely before filling the feeder. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Do not color the water (keep it natural) and clean your feeder each week with boiling water before refilling.

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.