11 Tricks For Keeping Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders

source: Wild Bird Store

Hummingbirds are one of most beautiful creatures on earth. That’s why we’ve always had hummingbird feeders in our backyard in the hopes of catching a glimpse of these magical little birds. Unfortunately, hummingbirds aren’t the only ones attracted to the sweet nectar. We often find the feeder overrun with ants, and have to empty it out and clean it almost every day. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks for keeping hummingbird feeders free of pesky ants – here they are!

1. Hang Above Water

source: Wildlifeful

This may sound odd, but hanging your hummingbird feeder over water (whether that’s a pond, fountain, etc.) will deter ants from getting in the feeder. Ants won’t go through water, limiting their access to the feeder.

2. Avoid Vaseline

source: Audubon via Bill Gordon/Great Backyard Bird Count

Many sites explain that slathering the pole and feeder in Vaseline can help deter ants. However, you should not use Vaseline on or around a hummingbird feeder – any oily products can be extremely harmful to hummingbirds, coating their wings and making it difficult for them to regulate body temperature. To keep your hummingbird friends safe, don’t use Vaseline or similar products!

3. Regular Cleaning

source: The Spruce/Candace Madonna

Cleaning the feeder on a regular basis not only helps to deter ants, but also helps to ensure you’re feeding hummingbirds safe food, and maintaining proper hygiene.

4. Floating Feeder

source: Birds and Blooms/Amy Wheeler

A floating hummingbird feeder placed in a pond or fountain will still allow hummingbirds to eat, but prevent insects from getting into the food.

5. Check For Leaks

source: Birding Depot

Especially if your hummingbird feeder is a bit older, it’s important to check for leaks. If the sugary nectar begins leaking out of the feeder, it will attract ants that much more quickly.

6. Ant Moat

source: Duncraft

Many hummingbird feeders come with built-in ant moats. If yours doesn’t, you can buy a very inexpensive one that will deter and trap ants before they make it to the actual feeder.

7. Coffee Grounds

source: HGTV/Julie Martens Forney

Many people suggest placing some coffee grounds around the bottom of the feeder’s pole. Ants apparently hate coffee grounds, so this deters them from climbing up the pole to the food.

8. Fishing Line

source: World Birds | dreamstime

If you’re unable to hang your hummingbird feeder above water, use fishing line to hang the feeder. Ants have a hard time navigating the thin, slippery fishing line, making it less likely that they’ll reach the feeder.

9. Change Locations

source: Seasoned

It’s not a bad idea to move your hummingbird feeder around from time to time. This will decrease the likelihood of ant colonies locating and climbing the feeder.

10. Cinnamon

source: YouTube/Gardening at Douentza

Like coffee grounds, ants and other insects hate the scent and feel of cinnamon. You can try sprinkling some cinnamon at the base of the feeder’s pole to deter ants from climbing up it.

11. Mint Leaves

source: Taste of Home | shutterstock/Pefkos

Sprinkle some mint leaves around the base of the feeder’s pole. Mint is another strong scent ants will steer clear from!

Hopefully these tips will help keep ants out of your feeders, leaving the nectar for their intended guests – the hummingbirds! Happy bird watching, everyone!