How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeder?

April 1, 2009
Ants can be pesky visitors to hummingbird feeders. Photo by Brian Kushner via Birdshare. Ants can be pesky visitors to hummingbird feeders. Photo by Brian Kushner via Birdshare.
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Many hummingbird feeders—especially the saucer variety—have a center “moat” separate from where the sugar water is placed. These feeders are easy to keep ants out of by filling that moat with water. The ants that do get down into it drown, but usually just don’t even try.

If you have another kind of feeder, make sure it’s hanging by a simple rod rather than string, and coat a center spot all around, about an inch wide, with petroleum jelly. The ants won’t cross that.

You can also use an ant trap that is placed between the feeder and where it hangs. If the ant tries to walk down to the feeder, it ends up in the trap. These are easy, inexpensive devices that can be found in most stores that sell bird feeders, or bought online.

We’ve got more tips about how to get the most out of bird feeders in our Attract Birds section.

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