Do you feed hummingbirds? Then you might have to deal with bees trying to feed on the delicious nectar.
Feeders contain sugar that can attract hummingbirdsThis frustrates feeders like youYou might be tempted to insecticides or pesticidesHowever, there are ways to control bees and insects.
Are Hummingbirds Afraid of Bees?
Hummingbirds might not be afraid of birds. However, when too many bees along with other insects feed on the sugar water, it tends to be contaminated. Thus, hummingbirds are less attractive to them. In extreme conditions, hundreds of bees might monopolize the feeder and this can prevent the birds from visiting the feeder. You can control these bees and keep them away from the hummingbird feeders.
How do You Get Rid of Bees on Hummingbird Feeders?
If you want to keep the bees away from the feeder, here are a few ways to do it.
1. Install Bee Guards
Hummingbirds have long beaks and they can easily reach out to the nectar using their long tongues. So, the best way is to make the feeder bee proof.
- You can make small holes that will keep bees and any other insects from getting into it.
- Some feeders already have built-in bee guards.
So, get a feeder with a bee guard and in case you already have a feeder, just install a bee guard. It will prevent the bees from going inside through the hole. Thus, they can’t reach out to the nectar. Bees tend to call for reinforcements when they have access to the nectar.
2. Relocate the Feeder Every Now and Then
The moment the birds find a food source, they will keep on visiting. When they do, they will look for other food sources close by. To keep the feeder away from bees, you can use it; you can change its place from time to time.
- You can move the feeder only a few feet. Even such a little distance can make it difficult for the bees to find it. However, if you move the feeder frequently, it can also be confusing for the hummingbirds. So, make sure you have a moving schedule.
- At times, insects prefer visiting convenient sources and will not look for the hummingbird that you have relocated. Hence, it can minimize insect visits.
3. Prepare a Less Sweet Nectar
Honey bees are pretty partial when it comes to sugar, especially sucrose. If there are multiple nectar sources, bees tend to keep away from a flower that has nectar with weak sugar concentration.
- So, they are primarily after sugar. The best thing to do is to reduce the sugar concentration in the hummingbird feeder. This will make the bees lose interest in it. Opt for 1:5 sugar to water ratio for the hummingbird feeder.
- Bees like higher sugar concentration that they get from their own feeder. In a hummingbird feeder, the sugar to water ratio is 4:1. So, add an additional portion of sugar to the bee feeder. The sugar to water ratio for a bee feeder is usually 3:1.
4. Use Red Saucer Feeders
Hummingbirds can easily reach out to the nectar using their long beak but bees cannot do that. Red color attracts hummingbirds, while the yellow color attracts bees.
- You will find hummingbird feeders in the market that are less insect-friendly. Here, the saucer feeder is further away from the nectar ports. Thus, insects find it difficult to reach the nectar.
- You will find additional accessories that you can easily add to any hummingbird feeder.
- Guide bees towards bowls filling it with 2:1 sugar and water combination. Now, place the bowl close to the hummingbird feeder. As soon as the bees get to know about the bowl, move it away to a spot away from the feeder.
5. Hang the Feeder Away from a Sunny Spot
Hummingbirds, as well as bees, are going to feed on the feeder till it’s accessible. However, bees tend to look for nectar and pollen in flowers that are usually present under sunlight. This is because flowers bloom only in sunlight.
- So, another way to keep bees away from the feeder is to place it in a shady spot. A good advantage of this is. This keeps the nectar from spoiling easily.
- However, don’t forget that hanging it in a completely dark place will make it less attractive to hummingbirds as they will fail to find it. So, the best place to hang is an area that is partially shady.
6. Keep Away Anything Yellow
Bees look for nectar and pollen. Thus, yellow, the common color of flower or food sources tend to attract them. While red isn’t that attractive to them. So, don’t keep hummingbird feeders that have yellow flower accents or insect guards. This will make it unattractive to bees.
- In case you have a feeder with yellow color on it, repaint it red but make sure you use non-toxic paint. Yellow and blue tend to influence bees more than any other color.
- Bees see different spectrums than humans. They can see the electromagnetic spectrum’s ultraviolet part that humans are unable to see. It’s due to this that they are unable to see anything red.
7. Put Up Fake Wasp Nest
Wasps are territorial and don’t build nests close to other colonies. Wasp nests tend to deter bees from obtaining food from the sources close to the nest.
- Yellowjackets and bees can move away from the feeder thinking space that is already taken. In case you want to make the wasp nest look real, create a nest that is 8×11 inches in size.
- Yellowjackets and wasps make their nest in or on the ground. Thus, they don’t take notice of the fake wasp nest that hangs outside the house, particularly during the early spring months when they look for new locations.
8. Clean the Feeder Frequently
Nectar drips from the bills on the feeder when the birds feed. It can also drip when you fill it to the brim. Air pressure forces the nectar out of the feeder. Whenever you refill the feeder, make sure you clean around the feeding ports. This removes the nectar that spills over. In case there are any cracks, repair them. This minimizes leaks.
Even when it’s small in size, the nectar’s exposed portion forming a mess can attract bees. The bees then feed on the nectar that has leaks. Hence, you should clean the feeder daily. It’s only going to take 30-60 seconds. Its grateful shape makes it easy to handle.
9. Stop Leakage
One of the primary reasons why you cannot keep bees away from these hummingbird feeders is the leakages. So, you cannot just leave your feeder unchecked for leakages or slits for several days.
- As sugar water drips, it is going to invite insects such as ants or bees to the feeders. A minor leak is not a problem but if drips are large and constant, you have to stop the flow.
- A good seal between the feeder ports and the bottle reservoir will do the trick. Use a plumber’s tape for reinforcing the seal.
Tips to Place Your Hummingbird Feeder
- Firstly, you have to let the hummingbirds know that you are ready for them. So, place the feeder in a visible place. Place it near sheltering plants and in a spot that offers an unobstructed and wide view from another angle.
- Hummingbirds do not like staying out in the open when they aren’t feeding. So, make sure you place the feeder 10-15 feet away from a shrub or tree. Stay out of the sun and ensure they have a place to rest.
- Place the feeder in an area where you get to see them come and go. Also, you have to place it in a place where it’s convenient for you to reach out.
Remember, not all insects are bad, even when they visit the feeders occasionally. Bees should be kept away as it can help to pollinate flowers. This, in turn, attracts more birds. The insects are a good food source for other birds. With simple techniques, you can manage your hummingbird feeders.