How To Keep Bees And Wasps Away From Hummingbird Feeders

source: The Mercury News via Rich Cordes

If you enjoy bird watching, you likely have a hummingbird feeder somewhere in your yard. And while hummingbirds are certainly attracted to the sweet nectar in the feeder, unfortunately so are insects like ants, wasps, and other types of bees. When it comes to bees, it’s important to note that pollinator bee species should be welcome at the feeder and do not generally cause people or birds any harm. Today, we’re going to be discussing how to keep bee varieties like wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets out of your hummingbird feeder.

Choose the Right Style of Feeder

source: Birding Depot

There are so many types of hummingbird feeders out there, it can be hard to settle on the right one! When it comes to feeders that deter wasps, you’ll want to choose the circular feeders with small, deep holes on the top of the base. Hummingbirds will be able to reach into the holes to suck up the nectar, but wasps will not, and will thus fly away.

Yellow vs. Red

source: Unsplash

When it comes to choosing a feeder, you should also pay attention to the feeder’s color. Yellow is a color that attracts wasps, whereas red greatly attracts hummingbirds but not so much wasps. You’ll also want to avoid feeders that include yellow decorative pieces or yellow flowers, even if the main feeder is red.

Keep the Feeder Clean

source: Backyard Birding

It’s important to clean your hummingbird feeder on a regular basis. This not only deters wasps from hanging around, but also ensures the hummingbirds that visit your yard are eating safe nectar. When cleaning the feeder, it’s best to thoroughly scrub it using either vinegar or a mild dish soap and water before rinsing well and letting air dry.

Hang in a Shaded Spot

source: Wildlifeful

Many insects, including wasps, enjoy feeding in full sun. For this reason, it’s best to hang your hummingbird feeder in a shaded spot where insects are less likely to find it.

Hang with Fishing Line

source: wikiHow

It’s always a good idea to hang a hummingbird feeder with fishing line, as the line is much harder for insects like ants and wasps to crawl down towards the feeder than a feeder hung from a pole. When hanging a feeder with fishing line, look for a sturdy branch or eaves trough in a shaded area, if possible.

What to Avoid

source: Bird Watching Bliss

In the quest to keep insects away from hummingbird feeders, it’s important to avoid anything that may put the hummingbirds in danger. Some sites will suggest slathering the pole or outside of the feeder in Vasoline, petroleum jelly, or oil, but you should never do this. When the birds come into contact with anything slicked in the jelly, it sticks to their feathers, inhibiting the birds’ ability to fly and potentially even killing them.

It’s also important to avoid using any sort of insecticide. These chemicals may keep insects away, but if they come into contact with the birds, it can be deadly to them.

In Conclusion

source: Pixabay

To summarize, there are many natural and safe methods you can use to keep wasps and other insects away from your hummingbird feeders, leaving the nectar for the birds to enjoy themselves. If you have a feeder in your yard and have noticed a problem with insects on or around it, hopefully these simple tips will help!