Many people find that after hanging hummingbird feeders, various pests like wasps and bees tend to infest them. Not only do they hang around the feeder itself, but they also contaminate the water. And that is not particularly healthy for hummingbirds.
So, how to keep wasps away from hummingbird feeders? I will give you 5 different deterrent options to choose from in this article!
Why are wasps and bees flocking to your hummingbird feeders in the first place?
There are many different types of bees and wasps. While they may often be lumped together, it is important to distinguish between the two because their behavior around hummingbird feeders can be quite different.
Wasps are attracted to the sweet nectar in hummingbird feeders and will try to get at it by stinging or otherwise disrupting the birds. Bees, on the other hand, are not interested in the nectar and will leave the feeder alone.
However, there are two main reasons why these pests are attracted to the hummingbird feeder that you’ve set up!
Your area lacks flowers that have nectar for the pests.
One of the reasons why you may be seeing more wasps around your hummingbird feeder is because there is a lack of flower nectar in your area. Since the wasps are looking for food, they will visit the hummingbird feeder to get their fill.
Wasps and bees can source water from the hummingbird feeder.
Obviously, you’ve prepared the ideal hummer syrup for the colorful birds. And you’ve had to use water to do that!
In fact, you’ve also used sugar to prepare the syrup. And that, through no fault of yours, per se, is one of the main reasons that these pests are flocking to your hummingbird feeder.
Both water and sugar attract bees and wasps. And if your area is lacking in nectar and it’s a sunny day, you can be sure that these bugs are going to find their way to your hummingbird feeder!
Why do you need to keep wasps away from hummingbird feeders at all?
The simple answer is that wasps become hindrances for hummingbirds if they are swarming near and around the feeder. And, let’s not forget that hummingbirds are the target audience for these feeders.
When there are too many bugs feeding on the sugar water, it can make the feeder less attractive to hummingbirds. In extreme cases, dozens or hundreds of insects may monopolize a feeder preventing birds from visiting at all.
To avoid this, you can take some simple steps to keep wasps away from your hummingbird feeders. I have outlined 5 different ways to keep wasps away from hummingbird feeders below!
How to keep wasps away from hummingbird feeders – 5 ways!
Here are the 5 ways that I found to be most effective in preventing wasps from flocking to my hummingbird feeders!
Almond extracts repel wasps and bees.
Almond extracts have been found to be effective in repelling these pests. Putting almond extract in your sugar water is a great idea because it will repel the bees and wasps, but not the hummingbirds.
However, make sure that you source alcohol-free almond extracts. Alcohol is not something that hummingbirds can consume safely. And the last thing that you want to do is harm the pretty birds. You can use a non-alcoholic almond extract if you want to try this idea.
However, you should avoid using any type of oil around the feeder ports as it can damage the hummingbird’s feathers. Tea tree extract is another great alternative to almond extract if you don’t have almond extract.
You can plant flowers that bees are attracted to.
I’ve already told you that bees and wasps are attracted to the sugar in your hummingbird feeders. Therefore, it only makes sense to plant flowers that are a good source of nectar for these bugs in your garden or verandah.
This will provide a food source apart from the hummingbird feed for the wasps, and they will be less likely to go after the hummingbird feeders. You can also use other methods such as moving the feeders around.
Fill your saucer-style feeder a little less with the sugar water.
You can also keep wasps away from your hummingbird feeder by filling the saucer-style feeder a little less with sugar water. This will create another barrier for the bees and wasps to get to the nectar inside.
Your hummingbird guests won’t be impacted by the decreasing liquid level. They’ll have no trouble using their tongue to get inside.
The only disadvantage of this approach is that you might have to restock your hummingbird feeder more frequently, but it is a tiny price to pay to keep those annoying wasps at bay!
Use red-colored hummingbird feeders instead of the typical commercial yellow ones.
It is a fact that wasps and bees are highly attracted to the color yellow. Therefore, it seems counterintuitive to use yellow feeders for hummingbirds. Especially if you generally face bee and wasp infestations in your area or house.
Red is a better color to go with if your priority is to keep wasps away from the feeder. So, you can either buy red-colored feeders directly or simply use non-toxic acrylic paint to color over the yellow portions of a commercial feeder.
Use a bee guard on your hummingbird feeder.
A bee guard is a device that is placed on top of a hummingbird feeder in order to keep wasps away. They come in different colors, but it is important to choose the right color for your specific needs.
For example, if you are trying to attract bees to your garden, then you should avoid using yellow bee guards as they will prevent bees from accessing the nectar in the feeder.
How can you keep ants away from hummingbird feeders?
The best way to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeders is to use ant moats. Ant moats are typically about 3 inches wide and 1 to 2 inches deep.
They can be hung above the hummingbird sugar-water feeders. Another way to keep pesky ants away is to make sure the feeders are clean and filled with water.
Can you plant flowers to keep hummingbird feeder pests away?
Yes, you can plant flowers to keep hummingbird feeder pests away. Lavender, Bluebells, Aster, Salvia, and Sage are some of the flowers that will attract bees.
These bees will not bother the hummingbirds since they have an alternative source of nectar in your yard. You can also use other methods such as moving the feeders around and using bee guards.
When do wasps and bees flock to hummingbird feeders?
Wasps and bees are usually an issue at your feeders at the end of summer and early fall. The nectar from most flowers becomes harder to find as the days grow shorter and cooler.
Your hummingbird feeder is an overflowing source of nectar for them, so you’ll see more activity amongst bees in the winter months.
However, their activity is low because they’ve either migrated, hibernated, or clustered together for warmth. In spring and early summer, you’ll see these bugs more as they search for food.
Yet, they don’t seem to bother hummingbird feeders as much since they have a rich supply of nectar from the flowers in bloom.
Generally speaking, the bees and wasps will disappear once the outdoor temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C). Depending on your state, the natural decline of bee populations will happen anywhere from November to December.
In my experience, I have found that consistency often plays a big role in keeping wasps away from hummingbird feeders. If these methods don’t seem to work for you, you could also simply try to change the location of the feeder to another part of your house!