Hummingbirds are attracted to a good nectar recipe, but so are bees. Fortunately, there are many easy and safe control techniques to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders without harming the birds.
For frustrated backyard birders, it may be tempting to use pesticides or insecticides to deter bees. But Emma Greig, the project leader for Project FeederWatch of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, advises against these options because they may harm birds, as well as the bees whose populations are declining.
“You can deter insects while remembering they’re part of nature, too,” says Greig. Instead, try some of these all-natural solutions to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders. The birds (and bees!) will thank you.
You don’t have to think too advanced on how to keep honey bees away from hummingbird feeder.
Sometimes it’s as easy as keeping your current nectar feeders well-maintained.
A Clean Nectar Feeder Is A Bee-Free Cleaner
Make sure your hummingbird feeders are nectar-free on the outside. Bees and wasps know where to look for good nectar sources thanks to their sight, memory, smell, and a good sense of direction.
As the hummers drink, they can drip nectar on the feeder. If you don’t clean it up, the wasps take that as an open invitation to come on over. Wipe the feeder with a damp cloth at least once a day, and you can keep bees away from hummingbird feeders.
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.
Plant Bee and Hummingbird-Friendly Flowers
Give the bees an attractive alternative. Pollinators will flock to nectar-rich flowers in containers and the garden. Try colorful annuals like fuchsia and impatiens, and perennials like trumpet vine, bee balm and cardinal flowers.
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.
Easy On The Sweetness
Bee sugar water comes in an equal ratio of water and sugar. Some beekeepers use a 2:1 mix. Use a lighter balance of up to 1:5 sugar to water for your hummingbirds.
Keeping the hummingbird nectar more diluted will make bees and wasps lose interest and eventually stay away from hummingbird feeders. Plus, you get to keep more sugar for your morning coffee.
Not all insects are bad in a hummingbird garden, even if they do occasionally visit nectar feeders. Bees help pollinate flowers that can attract even more birds, and all these insects can be valuable food sources for other birds.
Simple, safe techniques can manage insects so they do not bother hummingbird feeders while still remaining as a valuable part of a natural ecosystem.
These are some of the best ways to keep bees and wasps away from your hummingbird feeders.