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How to Keep Bees Off a Hummingbird Feeder

Like hummingbirds, bees feed on nectar and are attracted to the sugar solution in hummingbird feeders. Bees drive hummers away, so it is important to make your feeder unattractive to bees while still keeping it easily accessible to hummingbirds. Choose one of several ways to keep bees away, or combine methods to solve larger bee problems. Bee resistant feeders are available, but you can also modify the ones you already own.

Choose a drip-proof feeder. Dripping or spilled nectar tells bees where your feeder is. Basin style feeders are less likely to drip than bottle styles.

Attach bee mesh over the feeding tray. The mesh is wide enough for a hummer to access nectar, but not wide enough for bees to get through.

Take the feeder down completely for one to two days and then hang it back up to fool the bees into thinking their food source is gone.

Move the feeder to a new location. Hummingbirds are likely to find the feeder in a new location, but bees often won't.

Feed the bees. Fill a small basin or saucer with 1 part sugar to 3 parts water and set away from the hummingbird feeder for the bees. Use a weaker sugar solution in the hummingbird feeder—1 part sugar to 5 parts water. Bees prefer a higher sugar content than hummers and will be drawn to the basin instead of the feeder.

Wasps & Bees Off Of A Hummingbird Feeder

Among the most delightful airborne visitors to a yard or colorful hummingbirds. There are several measures you can take to keep these pests from ruining your chance to enjoy the beauty of hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are fast problem solvers—bees and wasps, not so much. Simply relocating the hummingbird feeder to a new location may solve the insect problem. Alternatively, take down the feeder for one or two days. These tiny grates come in red or yellow—never choose the yellow ones, as yellow attracts the problem insects—and sit over the feeding tubes on the feeder. Inspect the feeder regularly for cracks and replace it with a new feeder if any leaks are present. Fill it with an extra-strength sugar solution. Anything that's stronger than a 5-to-1 water-to-sugar ratio is effective as a wasp and bee bait. The wasps and bees will choose the easily accessible nectar in the yellow bowl over the less-attractive red hummingbird feeder with bee guard installed, leaving the hummingbirds to eat in peace.

Tip

Use feeders with no yellow or bright colors on them. Bees are drawn to yellow and it will be more difficult for them to find a plain feeder.

Warning

Do not place oil on the feeder ports or perches. This gums up the hummingbird's wings making it difficult for them to fly. Never use insecticide because it is fatal to hummingbirds.

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