Keeping Bees Away from your Hummingbird Feeder: Tips and Tricks

Bees can be a nuisance for those who enjoy watching hummingbirds, as they are attracted to the sugar water in hummingbird feeders. While bees are important pollinators, they can be aggressive and cause harm to hummingbirds. There are a few methods to try and keep bees away from hummingbird feeders

To keep bees off your hummingbird feeder, use feeders with bee guards or hang them in shady areas away from flowering plants. Regularly clean the feeder to avoid attracting bees and other insects.

You can enjoy watching hummingbirds without worrying about bees by taking a few simple steps. This blog post contains more detailed information, so keep reading.

Non-Toxic Ways to Keep Bees And Wasps Away

Bees and wasps are common visitors to hummingbird feeders. There are some non-toxic ways to keep them away from your hummingbirds feeder.

Natural Repellants

  • Peppermint oil: Bees and wasps dislike the strong scent of peppermint oil. Apply a few drops near the hummingbird feeder or on nearby surfaces to deter them.
  • Cinnamon: Sprinkling cinnamon powder around the feeder or placing cinnamon sticks nearby can help repel bees and wasps.
  • Cloves: The smell of cloves can be unpleasant to bees and wasps. Try hanging cloves in a mesh bag near the feeder to discourage their presence.

Physical Barriers

Create a physical barrier by placing a fine mesh or bee guards around the hummingbird feeder. These barriers allow hummingbirds to access the feeder while keeping bees and wasps out.

Homemade Traps

  • Vinegar trap: Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a shallow container. Bees and wasps are attracted to the mixture but will drown in it. Place the trap away from the hummingbird feeder to divert their attention.
  • Sugar water trap: Create a mixture of sugar and water in a container with small openings, such as a soda bottle with holes in the cap. Bees and wasps will be lured by the sweetness and become trapped inside. Again, keep the trap away from the hummingbird feeder.

More Aggressive Bee and Wasp Control Methods

Keeping bees away from a hummingbird feeder can be challenging, but there are more aggressive options for control.

Commercial Traps

Various commercial traps are available specifically designed to lure bees away from a specific area. These traps often use attractants such as sweet scents or sugary baits to entice bees and capture them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper placement and disposal of the traps.

Pesticides

In situations where bees or wasps pose a significant threat, you may consider using pesticides. However, extreme caution should be exercised as pesticides can be harmful to both bees and hummingbirds if misused.

It is essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and use them sparingly and responsibly. Consider consulting with a professional pest control service to ensure the safe and effective use of pesticides.

Professional Beekeepers

If you discover a beehive near your hummingbird feeder, it is advisable to contact a professional beekeeper to relocate the hive.

Beekeepers have the expertise and equipment to safely move the hive without causing harm to the bees or other wildlife. They can help ensure the proper relocation and management of the bees.

Maintenance and Upkeep to Prevent Bee Attraction

To prevent bees from being attracted to your hummingbird feeder, it’s important to maintain and upkeep the feeder and its surroundings. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

Clean The Feeder Regularly

Regularly clean the hummingbird feeder to remove any residual nectar or sugary residue that can attract bees. Wash the feeder with hot water and mild soap, and rinse it thoroughly before refilling. Cleaning should be done at least once every few days or more frequently in hot weather.

Opt for Drip-Proof Feeders

Choose a hummingbird feeder with built-in bee guards or features that prevent excess drips and spills. Dripping nectar can attract bees, so a leak-proof feeder will help minimize their interest.

Use Fresh Nectar

Ensure that you are using fresh, clean nectar for your hummingbird feeder. Replace the nectar every 2-3 days, especially in hot weather, to prevent fermentation or spoilage that can attract bees.

Proper Feeder Placement

Position the feeder away from areas where bees or wasps, such as flowering plants or hives, are heavily populated. Ideally, place the feeder in a shaded area to reduce the likelihood of bees being attracted to the nectar.

Seal any Leaks or Cracks

Inspect the feeder regularly for any leaks or cracks that may allow nectar to drip or accumulate outside the feeder. Repair or replace the feeder if necessary to prevent attracting bees.

Plant Bee-Repellent Flowers

Consider planting flowers that are less attractive to bees near your hummingbird feeder. While hummingbirds are attracted to certain blooms, there are specific flower varieties that are less likely to draw the attention of bees.

Monitor and Remove Spills Promptly

If spills occur while refilling the feeder, clean them up immediately. Even small amounts of spilled nectar can attract bees, so keeping the area around the feeder clean and free from any sweet residue is important.

Conclusion

Keeping bees off your hummingbird feeder can be challenging, but ensuring that the hummingbirds have a place to feed without interruption is essential.

Some of the tips I’ve discussed in this post include using bee-proof feeding stations, replacing the hummingbird feeder with a bee-free alternative, and using repellents such as peppermint oil or cinnamon.

It’s crucial to note that when trying to keep bees off your feeder, you should avoid using insecticides, which could harm hummingbirds and other beneficial insects. Remember to clean your feeder regularly and remove any leftover food or nectar to minimize the attraction of these insects.

With these tips, you can protect your hummingbirds and prevent bees from swarming your feeder. Happy bird watching!

Resources:

  • https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ask-extension/featured/how-can-i-keep-bees-away-my-hummingbird-feeder
  • https://www.uaex.uada.edu/counties/baxter/news/anr/keeping%20unwanted%20pests%20from%20hummingbird%20feeders.aspx
  • https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=15180

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