Ants are known for their foraging prowess and natural affinity for sweet nectar. This affinity for nectar hummingbirds heavily relies on this food source for energy. The specialized bills on hummingbirds allow them to extract nectar from feeders, making them a prime target for aggressive ants species.
Aggressive ant species can dominate hummingbird feeders, driving away the birds that come to feed. This territorial behavior disrupts hummingbirds’ feeding patterns, preventing them from returning to the feeder altogether.
An effective way to make hummingbird feeder ant-proof is using an ant moat. This involves placing a water-filled container between the feeder and its hanger.
Can ants harm hummingbirds and hurt birds?
Ants are known as forgers and like to exploit sources such as nectar. Hummingbirds are highly reliant on nectar as their primary source of energy. It’s common knowledge that they have long specialized bills to extract nectar from your hummingbird feeder.
With this in mind, some ants are particularly aggressive in searching and seeking this sweet nectar. When ants infest hummingbird feeders, they can deter hummingbirds from accessing the necessary nourishment.
In certain instances, hummingbirds set their nest next to your bird feeder. While ants do not directly threaten adult hummingbirds, these tiny insects can be a significant risk to nesting hummingbirds and their offspring.
This is because ants are opportunistic scavengers who eat anything they can find, including the defenseless chicks or eggs in a hummingbird’s nest. If the nest is within reach of ant trails or is not well-protected, ant invasions can significantly reduce the hummingbird population.
In some instances, aggressive ant species can directly threaten hummingbirds by establishing dominance over hummingbird feeders. When certain ant species take over a feeder, they can drive away hummingbirds that visit the nectar feeder. This aggressive nature will deter hummingbirds from returning to your feeder.
In the article, we will delve into other natural remedies for keeping ants out of bird feeders. The tools provided below will ensure that your hummingbirds can enjoy their meal without any interruptions caused by ants.
How do I make my hummingbird feeder ant-proof?
Ants exist to find food for their colony. Ants are naturally attracted to sweet nectar, which could be troublesome for birds relying on that food source. A persistent challenge for attracting hummingbirds to your garden is dealing with pesky ants invading their hummingbird feeders.
Fortunately, there are various effective ways to make your feeders ant-proof to address this issue and ensure that ants do not invade your feeders.
Ant Moats: One of the most recommended and time-tested ways of keeping ants off your bird feeder is having an ant moat. The tried and true solution involves placing a small water-filled container between the hanger and the feeder. The water provides a barrier that ants cannot cross, which helps protect the nectar from an ant invasion.
To make an ant moat, you will need to attach a shallow dish or cup filled with water to the hanger before hanging your feeder. Refill the moat regularly to ensure its effective deterrence of ants accessing the feeder.
Relocate the feeder location: One way to keep ants from overtaking your hummingbird feeder is to relocate it to different garden areas. Ants are known to leave behind a scent trail to alert their colony of a food source, so moving the feeder around will prevent them from returning for more.
Please find a few different spots to hang the feeder and switch it up occasionally. Just be sure not to move the feeder for no reason, as hummingbirds may have trouble finding it. Keep feeders at least 7 feet apart and avoid clustering them near other birdhouses or birdbaths. Consider placing the feeder near small trees so hummingbirds have a safe place to perch or shelter.
Apply petroleum Jelly: Another option for keeping ants off your feeder is applying a layer of petroleum jelly. A generous layer of petroleum jelly around the hanger’s hook or the top of the feeder creates a barrier that deters ants from reaching the nectar without harming the birds.
The stick texture deters ants from reaching the nectar and doesn’t contaminate or harm the birds. Since petroleum jelly is exposed to outdoor elements, the jelly is susceptible to melting from the sun and erosion from pouring rain.
Reapply the petroleum jelly periodically to maintain its effectiveness in keeping away ants.
Using Cinnamon and Cucumber Peels: Cucumbers contain a natural compound called trans-2-nominal, which is known to repel ants. This compound gives cucumbers a scent and natural deterrence. The big question is how you apply this natural deterrent.
1. First, slice a fresh cucumber and place the slice around the base of your hummingbird feeder or any entry point. The scent will discourage ants from going past the cucumber
2. Replace the cucumber every few days as soon as you notice the cucumber decaying and drying out.
Cinnamon is another natural deterrent that deters ants due to its strong smell and essential oils with ant-repellent characteristics.
Sprinkle the ground cinnamon in a line around the feeder’s access point for the ants. The natural barrier prevents the ants from crossing into the nectar.
Keep the feeder clean and well-maintained: Ants are attracted to nectar spills and drips. If left unchecked, ants will find your hummingbird feeder; therefore, cleaning up any spills promptly is necessary.
Keep an eye on the feeder weekly to ensure no leaks or spills. Any indication of spillage should be cleaned up and identify the issue.
Prepare a mild soap and water solution for feeders that need to be cleaned. Take the feeder apart and soak the components in soapy water. The soapy solution will break down the sugar residue.
Ensure the feeder is completely dry after cleaning before refilling it with fresh nectar. Dampness encourages mold growth and spoils the nectar.
Keeping ants off your hummingbird feeder requires strategic placement in your garden and employing natural or eco-friendly repellants. Understanding ant behavior will ensure that your feeder remains ant free and attract more hummingbirds to your feeder.
Regular cleaning and maintenance will keep ants at bay. With the measures provided, you’ll create an oasis that attracts beautiful hummingbirds and encourages them to nest in your backyard.
Check these related posts: