Bees and hummingbirds are both important pollinators, but they don’t always get along. Bees can be aggressive visitors to hummingbird feeders, chasing away the smaller birds and taking all the nectar for themselves. While it’s possible to coexist peacefully, it’s often easier to just keep bees away from the feeder altogether.
The Problem With Bees Around Hummingbird Feeders
Bees are attracted to the sweetness of hummingbird nectar, and they can quickly empty a feeder if they’re not kept in check. Not only do bees take away food that hummingbirds need, but their buzzing can also scare away the smaller birds and they can also become a nuisance as they crawl all over the feeder and buzz around your head. In addition, bees are more likely than hummingbirds to transmit diseases to the nectar, which can make hummingbirds sick.
10 Ways to Keep Bees Away From Your Hummingbird Feeders
As any beekeeper will tell you, bees are attracted to sweet things. That’s why they’re often found near flowers and fruit. Unfortunately, that also means they’re attracted to hummingbird feeders.
If you’re finding bees at your hummingbird feeder, there are a few things you can do to discourage them:
1. Use a Bee-proof Feeder
There are many bee-proof hummingbird feeders on the market. These feeders typically have metal or plastic flowers that bees can’t land on, and small holes that bees can’t get through. If you’re having trouble with bees, switch to a bee-proof feeder and see if that makes a difference.
2. Move the feeder away from flowering plants
According to the Honey Bee Conservancy, “Bees are attracted to brightly colored flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. If you have a bee-friendly garden, make sure to place your hummingbird feeder at least 10 feet away from any flowers or other sources of nectar.” This will help reduce the chances of bees being drawn to your feeder.
3. Use a feeder with a built-in bee guard
If you’re set on using a hummingbird feeder that doesn’t have a bee guard built-in, there are a few other things you can do to keep the bees away. One is to coat the outside of the feeder with vegetable oil. This will create a barrier that bees can’t penetrate. Another option is to hang the feeder from a wire or string so that bees can’t land on it. You can also try using a feeder with a perch, as this will give bees a place to land without being able to reach the nectar.
4. Add a piece of duct tape to the inside of the feeder
The bees will be able to see the reflection of themselves and think there is another bee trying to get into the feeder. This will keep them away.
5. Make your own bee repellent spray
If you’re looking for a natural way to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders, try making your own bee repellent spray. You’ll need:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of dish soap
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
Simply mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and give it a good shake. Then, whenever you see bees hovering around your feeders, give them a quick spritz. The vinegar smell will deter them from coming back. The bees should stay away!
6. Hang the feeder from a wire
Hanging your feeder by a wire is an effective way to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders. The bees will not be able to land on the feeder and will eventually give up and fly away. This is also a good option if you live in an area with a lot of trees, as the bees will not be able to reach the feeder if it is hung high enough.
7. Keep the feeder clean
One of the best ways to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder is to keep the feeder clean. If there is honey or syrup residue on the feeder, bees will be attracted to it. You should clean your hummingbird feeder at least once a week with hot, soapy water. Rinse the feeder well and let it air dry completely before refilling it with fresh nectar.
8. Offer alternative foods
One way to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder is to offer them alternative foods. There are many bee-friendly plants that you can grow in your garden, or you can purchase bee feeders specifically designed to attract them. By providing bees with other food sources, you can help keep them away from your hummingbird feeder.
9. Use Red Food Coloring
Adding a few drops of red food coloring to your homemade hummingbird nectar is an easy and effective way to keep bees away. The red color will attract hummingbirds while deterring bees. You can also buy commercially prepared hummingbird nectar that already contains red food coloring.
10. Don’t Use Insecticides
If you use chemical insecticides in your yard, be sure to keep them away from your hummingbird feeders. Many of these products are designed to kill bees and other pollinators, and they can pose a serious threat to hummingbirds if they’re exposed to them. If you need to use insecticides, try to apply them in areas that are far away from your feeders.
There are a few simple things you can do to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders. By following these tips, you can enjoy watching hummingbirds without having to worry about bees stealing their nectar. Thanks for reading!