Pet Guide

Effective Tips: How to Keep Ants Out of a Hummingbird Feeder

Hummingbird feeders are a great way to attract these incredible birds to your yard, but they can also be an open invitation for ants. If you’re struggling with ants invading your hummingbird feeder, don’t worry – there are several effective methods to keep them out. Here are some tips to help you ant-proof your hummingbird feeder.

Key Takeaways:

  • Select an ant-proof hummingbird feeder
  • Create an ant barrier for your feeder using water moats, petroleum jelly, or ant traps
  • Keep your feeder clean and dry to discourage ants
  • Use natural repellents such as cinnamon or citrus to deter ants
  • Remove other food sources for ants in the vicinity
  • Monitor and adjust the placement of your feeder as necessary to prevent ant access

Understanding the Attraction of Ants to Hummingbird Feeders

If you’ve ever noticed ants crawling around your hummingbird feeder, you’re not alone. Ants are attracted to the sweet nectar, and once they find the feeder, they can be a persistent problem. But why are they so attracted to the feeder in the first place?

The answer lies in the sugar content of the nectar. Hummingbirds have a high metabolism and need to consume large amounts of sugar to fuel their energy. As a result, hummingbird feeders are filled with a sugar solution to mimic the nectar found in flowers. Ants are drawn to the sweetness and will do whatever it takes to access the nectar.

To keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder, it’s important to understand why they are attracted to it in the first place. By knowing what they’re looking for, you can take steps to prevent them from invading.

Choose an Ant-Proof Hummingbird Feeder

An effective way to prevent ants from accessing your hummingbird feeder is to choose a model that is specifically designed to be ant-proof. These feeders typically have features that make it challenging or impossible for ants to reach the nectar, such as:

Features Benefits
Mothball compartment The smell of mothballs repels ants, so storing them in a compartment built into the feeder can help keep the pests away.
Bottom-filling reservoir Since most ants are not strong swimmers, a feeder with a bottom-filling reservoir can make it difficult for them to access the nectar.
Audible Deterrent Some models are equipped with an audible deterrent that produces a sound frequency that ants dislike, effectively repelling them.

Look for feeders that have been tested and certified as ant-proof, and be sure to read reviews from other users to see how effective they are in keeping ants out.

In addition to selecting an ant-proof hummingbird feeder, you can also install an ant barrier to further protect your feeder from ants. Keep reading to find out how.

Create an Ant Barrier for Your Feeder

Ants can be relentless in their pursuit of sweet nectar. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to deter them from invading your hummingbird feeder.

One popular method is to use a water moat, which is a shallow dish that surrounds the feeder and is filled with water. The ants cannot cross the water, so they are unable to reach the feeder. Make sure to keep the water level topped up, as ants can use even the smallest gap to cross.

Another option is to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly onto the hooks or poles that hold your feeder. The slippery surface prevents ants from crawling up and accessing the feeder.

Ant traps are another effective solution. These small, baited containers attract ants away from the feeder and trap them. Make sure to place the traps away from the feeder, so the ants aren’t lured closer to it.

If you prefer eco-friendly options, natural repellents like cinnamon, mint, or citrus can be used to create a barrier around the feeder. Simply sprinkle the desired repellent around the feeder or create a sachet filled with the repellent and hang it near the feeder.

Whatever method you choose, make sure to regularly monitor and clean your ant barrier to maintain its effectiveness. With a little effort, you can prevent ants from accessing your feeder and keep your hummingbirds happy.

Keep Your Feeder Clean and Dry

One effective way to prevent ants from accessing your hummingbird feeder is to keep it clean and dry. When sugar water spills or leaks from the feeder, it can attract ants and encourage them to climb into the feeding ports. Therefore, it is essential to clean the feeder thoroughly after each refill to remove any trace of nectar that may remain on the surface.

Start by emptying any remaining nectar from the feeder and then wash it with hot, soapy water. Use a cleaning brush or sponge to scrub the inside of the feeder, paying particular attention to the feeding ports and crevices where ants can hide. Rinse the feeder thoroughly with clean water and let it air dry completely before refilling it with fresh nectar.

In addition, consider storing the feeder in a cool, dry place when not in use. Moisture can also attract ants and make it easier for them to access the feeder. By keeping the feeder clean and dry, you can discourage ants from being attracted to it and prevent them from accessing the nectar.

Use Natural Repellents to Deter Ants

Chemical repellents can be harmful to both the ants and the hummingbirds that visit your feeder, so it’s important to consider natural alternatives. Here are some ant-proofing tips for hummingbird feeder using natural substances:

  • Cinnamon: Sprinkle ground cinnamon around the base of the feeder and on any exposed surface. Ants are repelled by the smell and texture of cinnamon.
  • Mint: Use fresh or dried mint leaves or mint essential oil to create a barrier around the feeder. Ants dislike the strong scent of mint and will avoid it.
  • Citrus: Rub a slice of lemon, lime, or orange around the rim of the feeder to create a sticky, acidic barrier that ants won’t cross. You can also use citrus essential oil.

Additionally, you can make a natural ant-repellent spray by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar with a few drops of peppermint or citrus essential oil. Spray the solution around the feeder and on any potential ant pathways.

Remember to avoid using chemicals or any other harmful substances near the hummingbirds or their food source. Natural repellents are effective, eco-friendly, and safe for both the birds and the environment.

Remove Other Food Sources for Ants

If you want to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder, it’s important to remove other food sources that may be attracting them. Ants are always on the hunt for sources of sugar, and if they find any other food nearby, they may ignore your hummingbird feeder altogether.

Start by clearing away any fallen birdseed or sugary spills from the area around your feeder. If there are any overripe fruits or sweet flowers in the vicinity, you may want to remove them, too. Ants can detect sugar from a distance, and if they find it, they will follow the trail until they reach the source.

If you have an ant problem in your home, make sure to keep your kitchen clean and store all your food in sealed containers. Ants can easily find their way into your house and may cause problems for your hummingbird feeder if they find a food source indoors.

By removing other food sources for ants, you will increase the chances that they will focus their attention on your hummingbird feeder. This will make it easier for you to deter them using the effective methods discussed in this article.

Monitor and Adjust Placement of the Feeder

After implementing the tips mentioned above, it is important to monitor the placement of your hummingbird feeder regularly. Ants are persistent creatures, and they may find a way to reach your feeder despite your efforts. You may find it helpful to observe the feeder for a few minutes every day to see if any ants are making their way to the nectar.

If you notice ants accessing the feeder, consider adjusting its placement. Make sure the feeder is at least 10 feet away from any trees or other structures that may offer ants a bridge to the feeder. You can also try hanging it from a thin wire or fishing line that ants cannot travel across.

Keep in mind that hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors and direct sunlight, so make sure to place the feeder in a location where they can easily find it. If you do need to adjust the placement of the feeder, do so gradually to allow the hummingbirds to adjust to the new location.

By monitoring and adjusting the placement of your feeder, you can help ensure that ants do not have an easy path to your hummingbird’s nectar. Following these tips should help you keep your hummingbird feeder ant-free and your feathered friends happy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some common questions about keeping ants out of your hummingbird feeder:

Q: Why do ants like hummingbird feeders?

A: Ants are attracted to the sweet nectar in hummingbird feeders. They also leave a pheromone trail to signal other ants to follow, which can quickly lead to an invasion.

Q: Can ants harm hummingbirds?

A: While ants are not harmful to hummingbirds, their presence can discourage hummingbirds from visiting the feeder. Additionally, if too many ants access the nectar, they can prevent hummingbirds from getting to it.

Q: What is the best way to prevent ants from accessing the feeder?

A: There are several effective methods, such as using an ant-proof feeder, creating an ant barrier, or using natural repellents. It is also important to keep the feeder clean and remove other food sources that may attract ants.

Q: How often should I clean my hummingbird feeder?

A: It is recommended to clean your feeder every 3-4 days, or more frequently in hot weather. Make sure to use hot water and a bottle brush to remove any mold or bacteria.

Q: Can I use pesticides to keep ants away from the feeder?

A: It is not recommended to use pesticides near hummingbird feeders, as they can harm both the birds and the environment. Instead, try using natural repellents or physical barriers to deter ants.


Congratulations! You have now learned several effective methods to keep ants out of your hummingbird feeder. Remember that keeping your feeder clean and dry, choosing an ant-proof feeder, creating a barrier, using natural repellents, and removing other food sources for ants are all important strategies to prevent ants from accessing your hummingbird nectar and potentially harming your feathered friends.

By implementing these tips, you can ensure that your hummingbird feeder remains a safe and enjoyable place for hummingbirds to visit. Keep monitoring the feeder placement and making adjustments if necessary, and you’ll be rewarded with the sight and sounds of these amazing creatures.


Q: How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird feeder?

A: There are several effective methods to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder. You can use ant-proof feeders, create a barrier using water moats or petroleum jelly, keep the feeder clean and dry, use natural repellents like cinnamon or mint, remove other food sources for ants, and monitor the feeder placement.

Q: What is an ant-proof hummingbird feeder?

A: An ant-proof hummingbird feeder is specially designed to prevent ants from accessing the nectar. These feeders often have built-in barriers or moats that ants cannot cross.

Q: How often should I clean my hummingbird feeder?

A: It is recommended to clean your hummingbird feeder at least once every few days, or more frequently if it becomes dirty. Cleaning the feeder regularly helps prevent ants and other pests from being attracted to it.

Q: Can I use chemical repellents to deter ants?

A: While chemical repellents can be effective in deterring ants, they may also be harmful to hummingbirds. It is best to use natural alternatives like cinnamon, mint, or citrus to repel ants from the feeder.

Q: Why is it important to remove other food sources for ants?

A: Removing other food sources, such as fallen birdseed or sugary spills, helps redirect the attention of ants away from the hummingbird feeder. By eliminating alternative food sources, you can discourage ants from being attracted to the feeder.

Q: How can I adjust the placement of the feeder to keep ants out?

A: Monitoring the feeder placement is important to prevent ants from reaching it. If you notice ants accessing the feeder, you can try moving it to a different location or adjusting the height to make it more difficult for ants to reach.

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