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Care and Maintenance of Nectar Feeders

dirty Hummingbird Feeder
Nectar can go bad after 2-3 days in hot summer temperatures.

Hummingbirds Require Clean Food and Feeders

There’s more to attracting Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to your yard than just putting out a nectar feeder. Keeping your nectar feeders clean is essential to keeping the hummingbirds in your yard and keeping them healthy. Nectar can turn bad in as little as a day or two depending on the on the outdoor temperature. Experts have said that hummingbirds will starve rather than consume spoiled nectar. Hummingbirds can also develop a fungus infection from improperly maintained feeders.

Best hummingbird brush
We carry the Best Hummingbird Combo Brush Set ($8.99), which has a variety of brush sizes for everything from cleaning the bottle to ports.

How (and When) to Clean Nectar Feeders

We recommend cleaning a hummingbird feeder every two to three days during the summer. The nectar can last a bit longer if it is hung in the shade, but never more than a few days. The easier a hummingbird feeder is to clean, the more likely it will be cleaned regularly. After taking the feeder apart, a simple wash with hot water and vinegar or with a drop of bleach will do. Some styles of feeders will require using a bottle brush to thoroughly clean. There are also very small brushes that can be used to clean the ports. Make sure to rinse the feeder well. There’s a new product called Hummeze that makes cleaning your feeders easy. Add Hummeze to hot water and let your feeders soak. It uses safe, hydrogen peroxide bubbles to sanitize and kill black mold. No need to brush or scrub and it gets into all the crevices.

Additional Tips

  • Always completely empty your hummer feeder each time you fill it. Never top off partially filled feeders or refill dirty, but empty feeders.
  • To avoid waste, fill the feeder with just enough nectar to last 2-3 days. You can keep a week’s supply of nectar in the refrigerator. This is a good idea especially at the beginning and end of the season as the hummingbirds arrive and leave.
  • Remember, if it’s not clean enough for you to drink from, it’s not fit for these delicate and beautiful birds and can actually harm them.

By Guest Contributor MELISSA BLOCK