As summer temperatures heat up, your nectar feeders may need some additional care. Here are some tips!
Clean nectar feeders about every 2-3 days during 90 degree summer heat waves. Even sooner, if the nectar looks cloudy. Hummingbirds are very sensitive to the quality of nectar and will reject feeders indefinitely if they determine your nectar is moldy or sour. In lower temperatures (70s-80s and below), clean and change nectar feeders every 3-4 days.
- Each time you fill your feeder, discard any remaining nectar, rinse the feeder thoroughly with hot water and scrub it with a bottle brush, if possible. Don’t use soap, hummers dislike the taste! If black mold is present, perform a monthly cleaning (below).
- Once or twice a month, clean the feeder thoroughly. Soak the feeder in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for about an hour, then scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly with water.
Repel bees. Dab pure mint extract on nectar ports helps to repel bees, wasps and bald-faced hornets. Bee guards—mesh inserts for some hummingbird feeder models—also help keep bees out of nectar.
Deter ants. The best solution we’ve found for discouraging ants is to hang an ant moat above your nectar feeders—water creates an impassible physical barrier, since ants can’t swim! Pick up a stand-alone ant moat for existing feeders, or consider purchasing a feeder model with a built-in ant moat, like the Aspects® HummZinger or Bird’s Choice™ Oriole-Fest feeders. Another option is an ant guard with Permethrin; inside the guard is a disk with a chemical that repels ants. Or, apply nontoxic Nectar Fortress™ (see video below), a cinnamon oil gel, on hooks or poles to create a barrier that ants won’t cross.