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    How to Keep Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders

    Learn how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders if these and other insects are spoiling your attempts to attract the beautiful avians to your yard.

    Lawn & Garden

    How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders Without Harming Them

    How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders Without Harming Them To keep from spoiling the entertainment of hummingbirds hovering as they soak up nectar, learn how to effectively steer bees away from your feeders.

    By Lori Lovely | Published Feb 22, 2022 5:53 PM

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    There’s an abundance of information available about how to attract hummingbirds to your yard and feeders, but information about how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders tends to be scarce.

    The dozen or so species of hummingbirds found in North America gravitate to a variety of colorful garden flowers, such as lantana, bee balm, foxglove, salvias, lupine, flowering tobacco, petunias, and zinnias, as well as the high-calorie sugary nectar in hummingbird feeders. Unfortunately, these also attract bees and other insects.

    While bees are pollinators like hummingbirds, bees are unwanted guests at hummingbird feeders. So, too, are wasps and ants. Too many unwelcome guests at the feeder can contaminate the sugar water, which deters hummingbirds from returning. A swarm of bees on a hummingbird feeder can lead to overcrowding, leaving little room for those hummingbirds still interested in the nectar.

    1. Opt for a Saucer-Style Feeder

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    Whether you make your own or buy a commercial nectar, the same food source that attracts hummingbirds also attracts bees and wasps. The hummingbirds may feed next to a few bees, but large numbers of bees can be detrimental to the hummingbirds—and wasps can become aggressive, chasing off the tiny birds who leave in search of another food source.

    If bees and other insects are rampant in your yard, choose a feeder that is less “insect-friendly,” such as this highly rated saucer-style feeder available at Amazon, which is conducive to long hummingbird tongues but harder for insects to access. Bonus: saucer-type feeders drip less than the typical inverted hummingbird feeder, making less mess and attracting fewer ants.

    RELATED: 10 Types of Bees All Homeowners Should Know

    2. Add bee guards to your hummingbird feeder.

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    There are approximately 4,000 varieties of bees in North America, many of which like nectar and are attracted to hummingbird feeders. To discourage them from drinking up all the sweet nectar in your hummingbird feeder, add bee guards to your hummingbird feeders.

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    Just as the saucer lets only the long-tongued hummingbird drink, a bee guard such as this inexpensive option available at Amazon features an air space that keeps bees from reaching the “juice,” while still allowing the hummingbirds to drink at will. Many of these guards can be added to an existing feeder and are easily replaceable.

    3. Red is best for feeders, but not for nectar.

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    If you want a wasp-proof hummingbird feeder, make sure it’s red. Red is the color that most attracts hummingbirds. Wasps (and bees) aren’t as attracted to red as hummingbirds, preferring yellow instead.

    However, there is no need to color the sugar water red. Red dye is not a necessity in hummingbird diets, so there’s no reason to add it.

    4. Move the feeder to a new location.

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    Moving the feeder around can confuse bees, who might struggle to find it in its new spot. Insects prefer convenience and are less likely to search out the new location.

    Alternatively, you can simply take the feeder down for a couple days in the hopes that the bees will forget about it. Keep in mind, however, that if you move the feeder too frequently, you might also confuse the hummingbirds.

    RELATED: 4 Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds

    5. Look for leaks.

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    Leaks and drips invite bees, ants, and other insects to flock to hummingbird feeders. Make sure that the seal between the reservoir and feeding ports is properly aligned and tight to prevent leaks. And don’t overfill a hummingbird feeder to the point of leakage.

    6. Divert their attention.

    Photo: istockphoto.com

    Source : www.bobvila.com

    12 Tips on How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

    Hummingbirds are attracted to feeders that have good nectar recipes, but bees are also attracted to nectar. Understanding how both … 12 Tips on How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders Read More »

    12 Tips on How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

    Updated on September 17, 2021 / By Garth C. Clifford

    Hummingbirds are attracted to feeders that have good nectar recipes, but bees are also attracted to nectar. Understanding how both birds and bees act can help in our feeding dilemma.

    But the question remains – how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders? There are many ways to achieve this without harming birds or bees. Here are the best tips that actually work.

    1. Install bee guards

    If your hummingbird feeder is bee proof, then that means you will make the feeding holes smaller so that no bees or other insects can get into it. Some hummingbird feeders you buy will come with bee guards already built in place.

    The first thing to consider is to buy a proper feeder with a bee guard, but if you already have a feeder, then you can just install a bee guard.

    Hummingbirds have long beaks and tongues which are able to reach sources of nectar, mainly from the vault of flowers. Putting on a mesh or bee guard around the feeding ports keeps the bees from passing through the holes, which means they can’t reach the nectar and they will eventually give up pursuing it.

    Bees will only call for reinforcements if they have access to the nectar. Otherwise, there won’t be a bee swarm if just a couple investigating bees fail to get the nectar.

    2. Use red saucer feeders

    Hummingbirds can reach the nectar with their long tongues, but insects can’t. While hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, bees are attracted to the color yellow.

    Depending on which type of feeder you get, some types of hummingbird feeders are less insect-friendly than others. With saucer feeders position nectar away from the feeding port, to a point where insects will be unable to reach it.

    Other feeder designs include built-in ant moats or bee guards that are specifically designed to keep insects from accessing the nectar without stopping the hummingbirds. Extra accessories are available to add to any nectar feeder.

    Bees can be guided to a bowl filled with one to two parts sugar and one part water mix. Position a bowl in a place not too far from the hummingbird feeder. Once the bees are attracted to the bowl, move the bowl to a sunny spot a little farther away from the feeder.

    3. Relocate the feeder often

    Once hummingbirds find a food source, they will frequently visit it and will look around nearby for other food sources. Constantly moving hummingbird feeders can be a useful tactic to create confusion and keep bees away from hummingbird feeders.

    While you can move the feeder just a few feet away, there is a chance the bees will find it again quickly. Relocating the feeder too often can result in confusing the hummingbirds as well as the bees, so make sure you have your schedule for moving the feeder rigid but not too rigid.

    Most of the time, insects are only likely to visit convenient sources and probably won’t search for relocated hummingbird feeders. Moving the feeder a few feet can minimize visits from insects without discouraging hummingbirds.

    If your yard has multiple feeding stations when birders simply switch where different feeders are positioned throughout the yard every time the feeders are refilled, then this will be easy to accomplish. This method will also keep ants away from hummingbird feeders.

    4. Use decoy feeders

    Having a feeder that is basically a duplicate of your hummingbird feeder but made for bees is an effective way to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders.

    Place this bee specific feeder near the hummingbird feeder, and hang this detour feeder in the full sunlight they prefer, and use a sweeter sugar water solution. Anything that is stronger than a 5-to-1 water-to-sugar ratio is effective bee bait.

    Place a very shallow bowl with this solution about 5 or 6 feet away from hummingbird feeders. You may need to begin closer to the feeder and then move it farther away incrementally. This will keep bees around to pollinate your flowers while giving them an alternative food source.

    Always keep in mind that insects will visit the most convenient food sources first, so whether it is just a bowl or another bird feeder, make sure that the feeding source is open enough for the bees to access.

    5. Find and stop the leakage

    One of the most common reasons why you can’t keep bees away from hummingbird feeders is the leakages that come from the feeders. You can’t afford to let your feeder go unchecked for any slits or leakages.

    Dripping sweet sugar water will invite other insects like ants to hummingbird feeders. Having a minor leak occasionally is not a concern, but when the drips and leaks become both consistent and large, then it is necessary to stop the flow.

    Source : worldbirds.com

    Keep Bees Off Hummingbird Feeders

    Safe, easy tips to keep bees off hummingbird feeders without harming birds. Also works for ants, wasps, and other insects.

    GARDENING WILD BIRDS ATTRACTING & FEEDING BIRDS

    How to Keep Bees and Wasps Away From Hummingbird Feeders

    How to Keep Bees and Wasps Away From Hummingbird Feeders Easy Ways to Control All Insects on Nectar Feeders

    By MELISSA MAYNTZ Updated on 12/12/21

    Reviewed by BARBARA GILLETTE

    Fact checked by EMILY ESTEP

    The Spruce / Sarah Crowley

    Hummingbirds are attracted to a good nectar recipe, but so are ants, bees, hornets, wasps, and other sweet-loving insects. Fortunately, there are many easy and safe control techniques to keep away insects like bees and wasps from hummingbird feeders without harming the birds.

    Hummingbird Feeder Pests

    Several types of insects find hummingbird nectar irresistible. Bees, wasps, and ants are the most common uninvited guests, but other insects such as moths, hornets, spiders, praying mantises, and earwigs may also be attracted to the nectar.

    Hummingbirds are aggressive feeders and likely won't be deterred by a few bees or ants here and there, but when too many bugs feed on the sugar water, it becomes contaminated and less attractive to hummingbirds. In extreme cases, dozens or hundreds of insects may monopolize a feeder, preventing birds from visiting at all. Knowing safe ways to control these insects can help birders manage their hummingbird feeders and reserve the nectar for the birds.

    Ways to Control Insects on Hummingbird Feeders

    Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018

    There are many ways to keep bees away from nectar feeders, but the first thing birders need to realize is that it is impossible to remove 100 percent of the insects attracted to a feeder. By using multiple methods, however, it is possible to encourage most bugs to dine elsewhere without harming the hummingbirds.

    Some effective and safe ways to control insects on hummingbird feeders are outlined below.

    Choose No-Insect Feeders

    Some types of hummingbird feeders are less insect-friendly than others. Saucer feeders, for example, position nectar away from the feeding port and insects are unable to get to it, while hummingbirds with their long tongues have no trouble.

    Other feeder designs include built-in ant moats or bee guards designed to keep insects from accessing the nectar without stopping hummingbirds. If feeders don't have these safeguards built into the design, extra accessories are available to add those features to any nectar feeder.

    The Best Hummingbird Feeders for Your Yard

    Relocate the Feeder

    Once hummingbirds find a food source, they will visit it frequently and will look around nearby for additional feeders. Insects are likely to only visit convenient food sources and are less inclined to search for relocated feeders.

    Moving the feeder just a few feet can minimize insect visitors without discouraging hummingbirds. This is easy to accomplish, especially in a yard with multiple feeding stations.

    Avoid Yellow Feeders

    Wasps and bees are attracted to the color yellow but do not find red as appealing. Avoid feeders with yellow insect guards or flower accents to minimize the feeders’ attractiveness to insects. If your feeder comes with yellow accents, repaint the accents with red, non-toxic paint. On some feeders, these yellow parts can easily be removed without impacting how well the feeder works.

    Keep the Feeder Clean

    As birds feed, drips of nectar will inevitably fall from their bills onto the feeder. Feeders can also drip if they are filled too full, as the air pressure inside the feeder will force the nectar out of the feeding ports when it heats up.

    Each time the feeder is refilled, carefully clean the outside and around the feeding ports to remove spilled nectar, and take steps to minimize leaks to avoid the mess that can attract insects.

    Use Insect Traps

    Commercial insect traps are available to reduce overall insect populations in the yard. While these can be effective deterrents, use them sparingly so you do not disrupt the insects’ place in your yard's ecosystem. Only choose traps that target the most problematic insects, and remove traps as soon as the feeder is no longer being troubled.

    Hang Feeders Carefully

    Ants may climb a pole to reach a nectar feeder, so hang the feeder from a branch or gutter instead. Using some fishing line to hang the feeder is another option, as the line is too thin for most ants to crawl to access the feeder.

    Keep the Feeder Shaded

    Most flying insects prefer to feed in full sunlight, so make nectar feeders less attractive by hanging them in a shadier spot. This will also keep the nectar cooler and slow fermentation, which can cause the nectar to go bad and harm the birds, as well as minimize leaks.

    Offer Substitute Feeders

    If you hope to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders but still want them around for your flowers or garden, offer the bees a substitute feeder with a sweeter sugar water solution. Sugar solution for honeybees can be made up of two parts water to one part sugar in the spring and summer and one part water to one part sugar in the fall.

    Source : www.thespruce.com

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