How to Keep Ants Off a Hummingbird Feeder

Tray-style feeders attract less ants. image by Jonathan M:


The same sugar solution that draws hummingbirds to your feeder also attracts ants. An ant infestations around the feeder may keep the hummers from being able to feed there, thus rendering your feeders useless. Ants also contaminate the sugar water inside the feeder. They crawl inside and drown, their bodies break down into the nectar and make it unsafe for the hummingbirds to drink. An ant guard is the simplest way to keep ants away from your feeders for good.

Step 1

Purchase an ant guard or ant moat from a garden center. They look like small cups or bowls and are available either in solid colors or with designs such as tulips and other flowers.

Step 2

Slide the feeder chain through the center hole in the ant guard so the cup is facing up. Slide it down the chain until it is nearly resting on top the feeder.

Step 3

Hang the feeder from a tree branch or porch eaves as usual.

Step 4

Fill the cup with water. Ants can't cross over the water from the chain to the feeder.

Step 5

Empty and refill the cup every time you refill your feeder.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never apply petroleum jelly to any part of the feeder to discourage ants or bees. It is nearly impossible for hummingbirds to get the jelly off of their feathers. Ensure that there are no gaps between the moat and the chain so ants can't squeeze through. Fill any spaces with silicone glue.

Things You'll Need

  • Ant moat


  • How To Enjoy Hummingbirds
Keywords: hummingbird feeder pests, ant mosts, ants in bird feeders

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Jonathan M: