Sugar and sweetness are like a magnet for the ants. Wherever the ants smell a sugar or any sweetness, they are automatically attracted to that sweetness. As the hummingbird’s nectar is made up of sugar and it’s a sweeter liquid, so the ants want to reach the nectar. When this unwanted audience reaches the nectar, the hummingbirds don’t attract towards this feeder. Hummingbirds don’t like to feed in the presence of ants, bees, and other unwanted insects.
You don’t need to worry about that; there are specific ways to keep these unwanted audiences out of your hummingbird feeder. First of all, you can buy a hummingbird’s feeder with built-in ant moat function, which can prevent your feeder from ants. There are also separate guards and moats are available which you can attach to your existing feeder. Let’s discuss these ant moats and guards, and how they work?
Table of Content
- Ant Moats and Guards
- Ways to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder
- Make your own Ant Moat
- Tin-can ant moat with perfect rubber sealing
Ant Moats and Guards
If you don’t have a built-in ant moat function, you can buy a separate ant moat and place it between the feeder and the hanger, which you used to hang your feeder. You can fill your ant moat with water or any thick liquid. When the ants try to get to your feeder nectar, they will stick in the thick liquid and not able to reach the nectar.
Whenever you use these ant moats and guards, make sure to clean these regularly because when a maximum number of ants is dead, they start floating over the liquid, and a bridge is formed for the other ants. Then the ants easily cross this liquid and reach the nectar.
You can also follow some general points to keep away the ants from your feeder:
Ways to keep ants out of hummingbird feeder
Everybody wants the maximum number of hummingbirds on their feeders to enjoy a beautiful view of their yards, but the ants and other unwanted insects are the major distraction for the hummingbirds. You can attract the maximum number of hummingbirds on your feeder by concentrating on the below points.
1. Stop leakage
Leakage is the major cause of attraction for hummingbirds towards your feeder. When your feeder is dripping, the ants attract towards your feeder, and soon, the nectar is filled with ants. The ant filled nectar is very dangerous for the hummingbird’s health. The ants leave the toxin in the nectar, which can harm the hummingbirds. To prevent your feeder from any leakage, try to buy a feeder with a special leakage proof ring. Before refilling, makes sure the feeder doesn’t have any leaks. Sometimes the people don’t correctly seal the filling tank with the bottom, which causes the leakage and attracts the ants. So before leaving the make sure your feeder is safe from any kind of leakage.
2. Feeder placement
Feeder placement also plays a vital role in minimizing the ants on your feeder. Especially in hot weather, if your feeder is made up of plastic. The plastic material is expanded at a high temperature, which causes leakage. But you can’t also place your feeder in the fully shaded places where the feeder is not visible to the hummingbirds. So the best place to hang your feeder in hot temperature is the partially shaded area. Where your nectar is also prevented from the early spoil and fragmented, you can also periodically move your feeder to different places to minimize the ants. But make sure all the periodic places are visible to the hummingbirds.
3. Make it slippery
You can also put some oil or any other slippery liquid on the outer surface of your feeder to prevent it from ants. You can also apply some Vaseline on the outer surface of your feeder. But whenever you use this oily material, make sure it is not dangerous for hummingbirds because sometimes these liquid attach with the hummingbird’s wings due to which the hummingbirds have problems in flying. Sometimes the people also use the fishing line to hang their feeders. The fishing line is thin enough that the ants are not able to reach the feeder. It is difficult for the ants to grip this thin line.
4. Insecticides sprays
If your feeder is hanged in your garden with any tree, you can spray on this tree from time to time to prevent your feeder from ants. The use of an insect killer spray is effective in getting rid of ants. Insect killer spray is an effective way to keep the ants out of the feeder. But don’t put that spray on your feeder; it may mix with nectar and causes severe health problems for the hummingbirds.
5. Cleaning feeder
Try to clean your feeder on a regular bases. The dirty feeder attracts the ants and other insects. When the hummingbirds get the nectar from the ports, some more hungry hummingbirds also split some nectar on the outer surface of the feeder, which attracts the maximum number of insects. So try to clean your feeder from outside on each refill. You need the thorough cleaning of your feeder once or twice a month to make your feeder clean from inside.
6. Bay leaves
Bay leaves are the perfect repellent for the ants. The bay leaves taste bitter and have the bitter fragrant which the ants don’t like. So wherever you hang your feeder, you can put some bay leaves around your feeder to repel the ants. If you hang your feeder with any pole, you can put the bay leaves around that pole. You can also put some leaves around the rope which you use to hang your feeder.
7. Adhesive tape
You can also use the adhesive tape to prevent your feeder from ants. You can put this tape outside the feeder surface. Moreover, you needs to put this tape in a way such that the gum side is on the outer side. When the ants use this tape to reach the nectar, they will stick due to gum and can’t enter the nectar. Whenever you use this tape, try to change it early because once the maximum number of ants stuck, others can easily reach the nectar.
8. Cooking oil
When you hang your feeder on a tree-trunk or the pole, you need to soak a cloth with cooking oil and put that cloth around the pole or tree-trunk near the ground. Due to this oily cloth, the ants are not able to reach the nectar. Whenever you use this method, you need to soak the cloth with oil on a weekly basis.
Make your own Ant Moat
1. For smaller feeders
If you have some time to make your ant moat, it’s straightforward and cheap to make it at home with some useless items. You can use the cork, cup hook, and any cape to make a perfect ant moat for your feeder. You need to screw one hook to the bottom of the cork, where it’s attached to the feeder. Now put the other hook through the bottle can and then screw it to the top of the cork. The bottle cap is acting like an ant moat. You can fill this bottle cap with any liquid material to prevent your nectar from the ants.
2. For larger feeders
You can also make the ant moat at your home for your larger feeders. To make the ant moat for the larger feeders, you need j-bolts, washers, coupling nut, and plastic spray paint for leakage proofing at the attachment points. To make a larger ant moat, you need a bigger cape that can be found on aerosol type products. The above hooks only work for small feeders because they can only handle the lower weights, but if you have a larger filling tank with more weight, you can use this design. You can seal the cape bottom with glue, silicone sealant, or candle wax.
Tin-can ant moat with perfect rubber sealing
This is a perfect design to stop the leakages with the rubber rings completely. To make this ant moat, you need a tin-can, threaded hook, turnbuckle, rubber O-ring, metal washer, and a nut. You can attach the tin with two threatened hooks through the turnbuckle. You need to put the rubber ring and metal washer along with both connecting points of tin-cane. There is a nut below all these to seal tight the tin-cane with the turnbuckle. This is a perfect seal packed design with all-metal material and maximum durability.
Do the ants hurt the hummingbirds?
Some peoples don’t know that hummingbirds like the ants are not. They think that hummingbirds eat insects to get the proteins, so the ants are also the source of protein for them. But the hummingbirds don’t like the taste of ants, and they know these insects are dangerous for their health. So if you are waiting for the hummingbirds with dirty ant feeder, try to remove the ants from your feeder because the hummingbirds don’t like to feed in the presence of ants. Moreover, some times the ants enter the nectar and leave the unhealthy toxins in the nectar, which can harm the hummingbirds.
Can I use the petroleum jelly or grease on the hanger rod above the feeder?
Some peoples use petroleum jelly or grease to prevent their nectar from ants. The ants don’t travel through these sticky liquids and are stuck before the nectar. But there is a lot of issues using this material. Sometimes this sticky material is held in the hummingbirds and wing, and the birds can’t fly due to it.
Moreover, in the hot summer, when these liquids melt, they pure down to the hummingbirds’ feeder, where it can mix with the nectar through ports, which can cause serious health issues for the hummingbirds.