How do I make a homemade nectar for hummingbirds?

Pat Kowalsky
by Pat Kowalsky
  14 answers
  • Mogie Mogie on May 17, 2018

    4cups water

    1cup superfine sugar

    3 -5drops red food coloring (optional)


    1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
    2. Allow sugar to dissolve and remove from heat.
    3. Let the nectar cool and then pour into your feeder.

    Store remaining nectar in the refrigerator.

    Some folks don't like the idea of adding red food coloring. Seems to be a personal preference. But it does make it easier to tell when a feeder is empty.

  • Peggy Jordan Peggy Jordan on May 17, 2018

    One part sugar to four part water

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on May 17, 2018

    And don’t add red food colorings. Change out the water every two days if it has not been drunk; one or two times a day if the hummingbirds are really impressed with your feeders. ☺️

  • Barbara Bates-Davis Barbara Bates-Davis on May 30, 2017

    Mix a cup of sugar into 4 cups of water until dissolved, let cool completely and fill feeder. You don't need any coloring, you feeder is most. likely already red or brightly colored.

  • Lori Michael Zarzecki Lori Michael Zarzecki on May 30, 2017

    I add 2 parts water to one part sugar in a small pot, let it heat up until the sugar is dissolved, then let it cool. Add the cooled sugar water to your hummingbird feeder and refrigerate the rest.

  • Ebie Ebie on May 30, 2017

    DO NOT use the red dye that you find in the stores along side the bird feeders. It is not good for the hummingbirds. Boil 4 cups of water, take off heat and stir in and dissolve the 1 cup of sugar in the water, stirring all the while. Let it cool, pour into feeder. Any left over store in refrig up to a week. Allow to come to room temp before adding to feeder. So easy and the little hummers love it.

  • Patricia Patricia on Jun 24, 2017

    The food you make for hummingbirds should be freshly made each time you refill..4 parts boiling water to 1 part plain white sugar with no food colouring and nothing to sicken the birds. Be certain to bring the liquid to a boil before cooling. The 'feeder' should be *cleaned and disinfected properly before refilling. Make the amount you need for 4 days, keep in in the fridge. Anything not used should be thrown out and a new batch cooked up while you clean the feeder. The sweet liquid supports the growth of deadly bacteria and this could kill the tiny critters.

    *Cleaning: I use a mixture of Dawn & OxiClean in very hot water to soak my feeders, scrub the holes with a fine brush and rinse carefully before refilling.

  • Judy Coates Judy Coates on Jun 19, 2017

    You can freeze your nectar, and it will also keep in the fridge for 5 or so days. :)

  • Pam Burley Pam Burley on Jun 19, 2017

    You could freeze it in a mason jar (to avoid contamination from plastics) leaving about an inch air space at the top. Make sure it is thawed well before putting out for your little friends. It also keeps well in the refrigerator.

  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Jun 19, 2017

    No red or other colored nectars. If you are making more than the five days' worth that can be kept in the fridge, freeze it, of course. I suggest freezing it in one or two day amounts, if you have room. It will thaw from one day to the next, and save time in making nectar so often. In sealed containers, the nectar should last in the freezer for three months. After thawing, be sure to shake the jar to keep the sugar distributed. Happy hummingbirds😇

  • Reba Bumgarner-Diviney Reba Bumgarner-Diviney on Aug 20, 2013
    Do not add red food coloring or dye to the hummingbird food. It has no nutritional value and can cause damage to their kidneys. If you have a good hummingbird feeder, there is no need to have red hummingbird food to attract hummingbirds.Do not use the microwave to boil the water for hummingbird food. Water boiled in a microwave has a tendency to start to rapidly boil over (sometimes described as an explosion) when the water surface is touched causing burns to the hands of the person making the hummingbird food.Do not put hot hummingbird food into a hummingbird feeder. This can cause the tank on the hummingbird feeder to break and could possible cut the hand of the person filling the tank. Putting hot hummingbird food into a hummingbird feeder can also burn the tongue of a poor unsuspecting hummingbird.Do not use brown sugar, powered sugar, maple syrup, karo syrup, Splenda, Equal, Sweet'N'Low, or any other type of sugar or sugar substitute. Only use Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar (the white grainy stuff) to make hummingbird food. The chemical makeup of other types of sugars is not the same as Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar and can cause illness and death to a hummingbird. It does not matter what brand of Pure Cane White Granulated Sugar you use, as long as it is the white grainy processed sugar.Do not use Kool-Aid to make hummingbird food. The chemicals in Kool-Aid are not good for hummingbirds and can cause illness and death to a hummingbird. Making hummingbird nectar (or hummingbird food) is inexpensive and fun way to keep your hummingbirds happy and coming back for more.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar in 1 cup of hot - almost boiling - water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.