Easiest Way to Get Rid Of Ants on Feeders

Adele Kurtz
by Adele Kurtz
3 Materials
15 Minutes
"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.

3 feeders. One of them is NOT being used.
Take a guess WHICH of these feeders is NO LONGER BEING USED.
Green, butterfly or red.
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?
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.
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.
Finally, I hosed it all down, nice and clean.

Ant-free feeders
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.

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Carol Carol on Jun 17, 2018

    Thanks. Now, how do I get rid of wasps on the feeders?

  • Despoina Alisafaki Despoina Alisafaki on Jun 18, 2018

    First I wanted to say beautiful feeders ,and second I wanted to ask what you can do with ants on your flowers . Because in that case they use the flowers or the tree as a ladder  so do you know if the water with the vinegar will harm the flowers? Thanks

  • She12365891 She12365891 on Jun 19, 2018

    Have you ever used spray cooking oil? Ants won't cross oil. My feeders are on a wrought iron stakes. Lightly spray about !/2 way up so butterflies won't get in the oil. And please don't put red food color in with your sugar water. They don't like it and a lady on another site says it will kill Hummers.

Join the conversation
2 of 54 comments
  • Glenn Shannon Glenn Shannon on Oct 30, 2019

    A product called Tangle foot will stop ants from using the cord on the feeder and is so sticky if you get it on your hands the only thing that will take it off is a hand full of dry dirt.

  • Moma Margie Moma Margie on May 03, 2023

    I hang my hummingbird feeders. The ants crawled down the string. I put vaseline on the string. The ants stayed away.

    Correct. The hummingbirds would NOT use feeder with ants in it.