Easiest Way to Get Rid Of Ants on Feeders

"Hmmm." I wondered.
Why aren't the hummingbirds using one of my two feeders anymore? They used to, but now they don't.
Was it the color? The spouts? The mixture of sugar to water?
I'll post a pic and you see if you can figure it out.

Time: 15 MinutesCost: $0Difficulty: Easy
Take a guess WHICH of these feeders is NO LONGER BEING USED.
Green, butterfly or red.
  • easiest way to get rid of ants on feeders
Here's a clue.
One of these feeders has these ants coming to them, the others do not.
Hummingbirds will not use a feeder that has ants on it.
Would you?
  • easiest way to get rid of ants on feeders
This one! The green one.
I just figured out why.
It is easy for ants to climb the cord but they avoid the ones suspended with thin wire or fishing line.
Hundreds of ants were on this feeder and the beam above it, attracted to the sugar water.
  • easiest way to get rid of ants on feeders
What to do?
FIRST I corrected my mistake...
by rehanging the feeder on a thin wire

(Edit added for clarification)
I waited and watched the troops unsuccessfully attempting full retreat.
They slipped and slid trying to get up the thin wire, frantically bumping into one another, sliding back down.

Then, I put them out of their misery.
I made a mix of half vinegar : half water in a spray bottle, and sprayed the beam and feeder.
  • easiest way to get rid of ants on feeders
Finally, I hosed it all down, nice and clean.

All three feeders are now ANT FREE.
Hung high out of the way suspended from a thin wire or fishing line.
No, you do NOT need to make or buy an ant moat or trap, grease with use vaseline or butter, or keep poisoning the critters ...
Sometimes the simplest solution is to outthink your enemies.
Don't give them a ladder if you don't want them to climb in.

Suggested materials for this project:

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  • Turk Edwards
    Turk Edwards
    on Jun 17, 2018

    To prevent ants in my HB feeders I have taken empty cat food cans and added a short piece of dowel centered it in the can bottom. Placed a hole in the center of the can and insert a hook with the screw part up into the dowel. Added a similar hook into the dowel's top. I then melted candle wax in the bottom to insure closure. I then inserted the above into the hanging line and filled the can with water or cooking oil. Ants do not swim!

      • Carey
        Carey Washtucna, WA
        5 days ago

        This is an excellent idea to thwart ants from your HB feeder, if a thin wire works I would prefer to use that method. If using water, put just a drop of soap in the water, it will become a fly catcher, with thwart the ants and may even help with the wasps. I have problems with wasps in my self watering planters and they can become aggressive when I am pouring water into the reservoir. I would very much like to find a way to keep them out of those spots, but so far have not found something that works.

      • Catherine Williams
        Catherine Williams
        on Jun 17, 2018

        Don't have Humming Birds in UK but Butterfly feeders are becoming polar so could be useful idea for those. I buy white vinegar in bulk it has so many uses in the house and garden,much better than nasty chemicals.Thanks for sharing your great idea.

          • Carey
            Carey Washtucna, WA
            5 days ago

            Vinegar will kill weeds. My Mom, a consummate gardener all of her life, used to save her pickle juice and pour it over a particularly frustrating weed, and that killed it! So be careful when using vinegar in your garden because it will also kill your plants.