Hummingbirds are very popular visitors to backyards and one of the best ways to attract them is to put out feeders filled with nectar. Hummingbirds just love the sweet, sugary taste but unfortunately so do ants and they can be a real pain to keep away. And hummingbirds are unlikely to feed anywhere that is over-run with ants. So let us consider how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders.
Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders
The easiest way to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders is obviously to buy feeders that have built-in ant barriers and traps. Many of these have moats that you fill with water which prevent the ants from crossing.
It is important that you do not let the water dry out and also make sure you clean out any debris that may fall in it and act as bridges for the ants. Other specialist hummingbird feeders let you put in vegetable oil or other sticky substances which will not dry out like water will.
If you already have feeders that do not have moats you can easily make your own moats out of old plastic bottles or large plastic caps. Here is a simple guide to doing this.
Use a thin wire or line, such as a fishing line, to hang your feeder from. This will stop many of the ants from getting to your feeder as they will not be able to grip the line.
If you have a bottle feeder it is important to check that your feeder is not leaking. If nectar is leaking out of it, it is sure to come to the attention of the ants. Try and make sure your feeders are partly in the shade to prevent the nectar heating up and starting to ooze.
A Word Of Warning About Vaseline
You may have read that one way of keeping the ants away from your feeders is to spread Vaseline on whatever the feeder is hanging from, e.g. the pole, wire or string.
As long as you make sure the ants do not have any other way of walking to the feeder, they will get stuck in the Vaseline if they try to reach it. U
nfortunately, the Vaseline is not good for the birds either. They are sure to bump into the pole or string at some point and come into the contact with the Vaseline, which they cannot then remove from their feathers. They then struggle to fly and even to keep warm.
For this reason, it is not recommended that you use Vaseline or cooking oil or other similar products to keep the ants away from your feeders.