Asked on Aug 08, 2012

How do I keep the ants away from my Hummingbird Feeders????

by TaniaC

It doesn't matter where I put my hummingbird feeders in my yard it seems those pesky little sugar ants seem to find them...GRRR! Does anyone have any Suggestions on how I can keep them away???

see all those floating ants...:(
Can you see the Humming bird hiding from me? It's like he's playing peek a boo... I C an ant or 2 on the also..:(
  108 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 08, 2012
    Try using dripless feeders, Tania, or those with a built-in ant moat. Instead of using water, however, paint the inside of the moat with Tanglefoot, a sticky substance sold at nurseries, then install the moat upside down. Make certain you do have it anywhere it could come in contact with a bird.
  • Dee W Dee W on Aug 08, 2012
    Tania, I bought ant moats at a bird supply store. They were about $3 and have a hook on both ends so I was able to keep my feeders. They work great for any liquid food or fruit you set out. @Douglas-I've never heard of Tanglefoot-were you saying it is alright near birds? I am going to check on the dripless feeders also when mine need replaced.
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 08, 2012
    Thanks For all your input I appreciate it alot... I tried the Vaseline and it seems to be working for now If this fails I'll have to try the Ant moat and dripless feeders... But now I have another problem that I am trying to deal with and that is Bees... There is a house down the street that has honey bees and they have homed in on the smell of the feeders it just happened today after I put new food in the feeders and put Vaseline where the hanger is so the ants don't get past... some one told me that they will be gone tomorrow does any one know anything about bees... there is hundreds of them and I am afraid that someone is going to get stung cause it is right at my front step..My hummingbirds can't get to the feeders cause there is so many...;(
  • Dee W Dee W on Aug 08, 2012
    Tania, that is awful. I have never heard of that happening to anyone before. I do get 1 bee or 2 at my Oriole feeders but never the hummingbird. I wish I knew what to tell you-good luck and I hope someone else can help.
  • Marianne Radley Marianne Radley on Aug 08, 2012
    I had that problem also last year, and someone told me my home made nectar was too sweet. I'd been adding an extra tablespoon to my one cup of nectar. Once I cut back the sugar, the bees weren't interested. This year I got an Ant guard at Lowes. It has a pheremone in it that repels ants and wasps. Seems to work on the bees too! I paid about$7 for it, it was made by the perky pet line of bird products. You can buy replacement peremone discs for it, but I haven't yet. They last a year.
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 08, 2012
    I think I may have to look into this ant guard thingy that sound like what I need .The bees finally left and I am hoping that they don't come back CROSSING my fingers xx..I love to watch the hummingbirds outside my window and we have been getting a few more show up every year...I'd never really seen one until I moved here and we were at a friends house and something went buzzing past my head...It scared the heebee jeebees out of me...Now I know what they are, not so much anymore. I am used to them flying right up to me when I fill the containers with fresh food...:)...Thank you for all your Fantastic input everyone... Here's to no bees tomorrow..:) Cheers!♥
  • Sweet Pea Studio Sweet Pea Studio on Aug 08, 2012
    Just spray Pam Spray on the hanger and top. The ants slip and slide and can't make it down to the nectar. It works!
  • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 09, 2012
    I love the ant guards that you fill with water- an added bonus is my thirsty chickadees use it, so I keep it filled with fresh water each day.
  • Lois N Lois N on Aug 09, 2012
    I have the ant guards and it keeps the ants out, but never thought about watering the birds!! I have more trouble with bees and wasps getting into it. I've had earwigs making nests on top of it!
  • Yvonne W Yvonne W on Aug 09, 2012
    The glob of vaseline on the hook works great!
  • Patricia Clark Patricia Clark on Aug 09, 2012
    I would hate to use vaseline anywhere near the feeder. If it gets onto the wings of the hummingbirds, they're in trouble.
  • Patricia Clark Patricia Clark on Aug 09, 2012
    I sprinkle the pole where the ants are coming from with cinnamon. Ants hate it.
  • Barbara S Barbara S on Aug 09, 2012
    I have some really cute "moats" that look like upside down umbrellas. keeping them filled with water does the trick.
  • Sandra W Sandra W on Aug 09, 2012
    I had this problem and moved mine to my front porch and sprayed my bug killer all around the hook and board, have not seen any yet:) before I hung the feeder!!
  • Kathy C Kathy C on Aug 09, 2012
    I have used vaseline on the pole, works good and did not seem to bother the birds.
  • Carolyn Ellison Carolyn Ellison on Aug 09, 2012
    What is an ant guard and whee do I get one.
  • Micki N Micki N on Aug 09, 2012
    I want to know how to keep the wasps and yellow jackets away from it. I clean it and by that afternoon I have yellow jackets inside. Please help!!!!!!!!!
  • Laura Losh Laura Losh on Aug 09, 2012
    pinterest , i looked up the other day and ants dont like chalk
  • Jan M Jan M on Aug 09, 2012
    If you sprinkle diotomaceous earth around the pole or tree that is a great help too.
  • Kathy Kathy on Aug 09, 2012
    I also spray the ground and the post with Home Defense. Never had a problem again.
  • Kathy D Kathy D on Aug 09, 2012
    The "ant moat"idea really worked for me. You can find them at garden stores.
  • Diane Diane on Aug 09, 2012
    Look under Hummingbird Ant Trap Guard on eBay to find a lot of choices. I saw a good one for about $4 total. Check places that sell bird feeders, too. A very tiny dab of Vaseline on the hanger has worked fine for me, too. Wasps, etc. will get inside if the holes are too big. I know some feeders come with Bee Guards (yellow "mesh") and those work. I finally got a feeder with smaller holes (I also filed the holes to smooth them so hummers wouldn't get their beaks stuck, just in case!!)
  • Chris D Chris D on Aug 09, 2012
    I have used Vaseline for years. Never have ants anymore. I coat the hook where I hang the feeder from, and the nasty little ants don't want a thing to do with it. The glob of Vaseline will last for weeks or months. At least for me, it does. I would NEVER spray bug spray on, or around it, because that could sicken or kill the birds. Vaseline is cheap and trustworthy!
  • Cindy L Cindy L on Aug 09, 2012
    I got the Ant Trap Guard at my local birding store.
  • Peggy W Peggy W on Aug 09, 2012
    Vaseline definitely stops the ant problem. You can make a wasp trap from a 2 liter bottle with sugar water...just poke some holes large enough for the wasp to enter...they will drown...when full throw the whole bottle away.
  • Kate F Kate F on Aug 09, 2012
    I tried very sticky double sided tape but it didn't work - I'm going to try the vaseline. It worked for a little while for the squirrels on the shepard's hook I had my birdfeeders on. It dries out - must reapply often. Fun to watch the squirrels slide to the ground. I hear that ants don't like cinnamon either. just a dusting around the perimeter of the room supposedly keeps them out. Haven't tried it.
  • Marilyn C Marilyn C on Aug 09, 2012
    Plants notorious for attracting ants are in my garden as well and ONE simple idea is : Plant mint around where you want them to stay away from and VOILA! gone! I also have hummingbird feeders, 3 in fact, in my back yard and I don't have them attacked any longer...TRY IT!
  • Carol M Carol M on Aug 09, 2012
    Thanks for the vaseline tip, I will be using it today. I can also move a couple mint plants while I'm at it. I switched to glass feeders a couple years ago and have found not so many ants at the feeders..
  • Marianne Radley Marianne Radley on Aug 09, 2012
    The mint is a great idea, but beware that it will be invasive, taking over wherever it's planted. I did the vaseline thing for 3 yrs, but got tired of the goo and reapplying it every week or so. It would melt in the heat and run down the shepards hook. Just grossed me out! The Perky Pet guard worked the best for me, you can find it on their website so you'll know what you're shopping for, just do a search for ant guard on their site. They want $7.75 for it, but you can possibly find it cheaper at a store that sells their products.
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 09, 2012
    I've heard Catmint does the trick.
  • Anna Dryden Anna Dryden on Aug 09, 2012
    I have tried vasaline and it does work you can also use vegetable oil...
  • Pettigrew S Pettigrew S on Aug 09, 2012
    Consider spraying with a generic cooking spray. That works, too.
  • Julie B Julie B on Aug 09, 2012
    Ant chalk worked for mine. Run it down the wire that hold up the feeder, as well around the hook.
  • Celeste W Celeste W on Aug 09, 2012
    A couple of drops of liquid dishwashing soap added to the sugar water helps insure the demise of the wasps!!!
  • Jan O Jan O on Aug 09, 2012
    what I did was keep the plastic tops to the spray cans and gently drilled a hole large enough for my wire, slipped it on the top of the feeder and filled it with water. works pretty good.
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 09, 2012
    I'm Loving all of these Ideas...thank you everybody for sharing Cheers!...;)♥
  • Kay R Kay R on Aug 09, 2012
    I also use Vaseline and it works. Don't waste your money on ant moats - they just laugh as they swim across.
  • Bonnie S Bonnie S on Aug 09, 2012
    Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the base of the pole does a good job. Since i use this safe insect deterrent for all my insect repellent needs, it's the handiest for me. It does need replacing after a rain. But I always have an old cheese shaker filled with it. I used the vaseline thing and it worked for a bit and then somehow they got over it and it didn't work anymore.
  • Patrice Carter Patrice Carter on Aug 09, 2012
    My husband cut a slit in a small piece of foam then sprayed it with ant poison and put it at the very top of the chain that holds our feeder. He did not saturate it so that it's dripping down on the feeder....just enough to dampen it and it works like a charm!
  • Lois G Lois G on Aug 09, 2012
    Double sided tape on the pole you hang your feeder on. Works like a charm.
  • Roberts Architects ltd Roberts Architects ltd on Aug 09, 2012
    Wild Birds Unlimited shops sells a nice accessory, and ive been using it successfully for 4 years. Its a water cup that you hang the feeder from and it interrupts the ants path with water. Simple and effective, however you need to fill the the cup with water occasionally. No poison or chemicals required
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 09, 2012
    absolutely not Celeste! that will harm your hummingbirds for sure! That's why it's ever-so-important to make sure you rinse the feeders well when washing!
  • Carmilla M Carmilla M on Aug 09, 2012
    I spray the bottle and the top hanger with Pam every time I wash & refill it. Works great!
  • Sherlyn Sherlyn on Aug 09, 2012
    I take a paper towel and put some vegetable oil on it and wipe it all around and inside the little plastic flowers - haven't had ants in years....
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 09, 2012
    The bee's never returned today and the Vaseline seems to be working for now... I see the ants trying to get pass but they haven't as yet... Thank you everyone I'm so happy my hummingbirds are not bothered by those ants and bees..:)♥
  • Sally Hall Sally Hall on Aug 09, 2012
    I sprinkle "terra" around the base of the bird feeder and the ants take it home and never come back.
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 10, 2012
    I Use Vicks on the hanging wire and it works like a charm....
  • Terry Terry on Aug 10, 2012
    Lowe's and Home Depot sell an "Ant Moat" for a couple dollars. It holds some water and goes between the top of the feeder and the hook. Put a dot of dish soap in the water to break the surface tension so mosquitos don't use it.
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 10, 2012
    I've passed these by at work Terry and I just might pick one up today. Only one of my feeders is affected by ants. so, it'll be either spend the money on Vaseline, Pam or the ant moat :)
  • Jane M Jane M on Aug 10, 2012
    I put baby oil on the S hook the feeder hangs from... It works great!
  • Susan moxley Susan moxley on Aug 10, 2012
    Adding used coffee ground the shepherd's hook (if that's what you use to hang the feeder on) helps to keep them out too - you just have to remember to keep adding grounds pretty frequently, but that's not a problem if you drink as much coffee as I do!!
  • Sweet Pea Studio Sweet Pea Studio on Aug 10, 2012
    Thanks Marg C! I forgot to add wash and rinse every time you fill the feeder as you reminded us all to my original post. That is so, so important to keep the hummers healthy. Also, replace the food every week even if it isn't all gone. Fresh is best! Have a great weekend everyone.
  • Lana C Lana C on Aug 10, 2012
    Perky Pet sells these little green plastic things that have something up inside that repels the ants. It hangs above your feeder. HANDS DOWN BEST THING EVER! It lasts one season and range in price from $4-$6. I found some this year at Menards and even Walmart had them. You will never have problems with ants again.
  • Midway Fence & Decks Midway Fence & Decks on Aug 10, 2012
    I have a feeder with a water moat on top. Does not work on wasps but keeps ants out.
  • Vanessa F Vanessa F on Aug 11, 2012
    Thanks for the tip. I've been wondering how to keep the sugar thieves from making such a mess.
  • Terry Terry on Aug 12, 2012
    Vanessa the sugar mess might be caused by the design of your hummingbird feeder. If yours has a container of sugar liquid above the basin (like many designs do) then plain old gravity + the heat of the sun is going to force the liquid down and out the feeder holes causing dripping and a sugar mess on the ground. Instead, look for a feeder design that kinda sorta looks like a flying saucer. By that I mean a wide flat round design with the feeder ports on top of where the sugar solution resides. The birds have no problem feeding.
  • Barbara Barbara on Aug 13, 2012
    There is only one problem with using ant moats, if you hang your feeders near your flowers you have to make sure that no leaves or petals grow to touch the feeder itself.
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 16, 2012
    Update!!!! So I tried the Vaseline it seems to work pretty good I also bought an ant moat just in case the vaseline dries up as some of you mentioned and still no ants on the feeders... some how the flies are getting through the little feeding holes...I found quite a few in there when I unscrewed the the feeder to change out the food...maybe I need to look into a different style of Hummingbird Feeder???.... I am also having a big problem still with the bees There must have been at least 20 on each feeder yesterday...I got the hose out and sprayed them on high speed cause there was no other way for me to remove it... I'm afraid someone is going to get stung cause it is right near my front step..:( and also my little humming birds told me they were hungry..LOL!...True story never had one do this but I think he was mad at me... I can't make something like this up..:) I was sitting on my couch watching TV when out of the corner of my eye one of the hummingbirds came up to the window so I just had to say hi cause he didn't move for at least 3 minutes flying side to side... I swear he was trying to get me to get the bees away from his food source... So that is when I went outside and got the hose... Finally the bees left and I removed the feeders and will probably have to relocate them somewhere else cause I'm sure the bees will return again as they have many times before... So here's to relocating the feeders and hopefully making the birds happier and here's to hopefully eliminating my bee problem XX Crossing my fingers cause this is (Re "Bee" Q lous)...:)
  • Marianne Radley Marianne Radley on Aug 16, 2012
    Tania, this is becoming a regular mini-series with your Hummers! I'm cracking up at this last post! This is why so many people have responded to your original question - hummers are funny, difficult and charming birds to watch. Mine have all out battles over the feeder, sitting in a nearby tree guarding the territory. If another comes near, it's like WWII with dive-boming hummers, dancing back and forth with tail feathers splayed to show how big they are! Hysterical to watch! I was so saddened last year when we had a cold spell, and I found a baby hummer expired near the feeder. I seriously wanted to keep him and put him under a glass dome, he was so adorable! Enjoy these little sprites, and keep trying!!
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 16, 2012
    Mine also lie in wait for another to go for the feeders and all h**** breaks loose with the dive bombing LOL. They are so fun to watch. Tania, mine will also come to the window and hover side to side trying to see in the kitchen window and I just know they are trying to tell me something. Usually it's "bring the feeder back! we're hungry!" that's why I now clean and fill the feeders after it gets dark so they don't freak out. hehehe love love love those little guys and girls :D
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 17, 2012
    @ Tania, use vicks on the hanging cord instead of vasoline. The bees don't seem to care for the smell, and apparently neither do the wasps...and the hummers didn't really like it at first, but it was only a minute before they discovered that it didn't affect their food....and now instead of one, I have three and for the first time EVER I had more than one eating at the same time....I've always had bees, but mostly wasps on mine....not this year...LOL
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Aug 17, 2012
    Sharon I just happen to have some Vicks in the cupboard for those sniffly little noses LOL! I will have to try it I guess it's better than not putting the feeders out at all cause I love to watch those little guys they are so cute and I have a few that show up now and yes they dive bomb it like Marg said... But since the bees took over the neighbourhood I think the little guys are kidda peeved at me...:(... So heres to Vicks and we'll see if my little buddies Heart me again♥...No More Bees!!! No More Bees!!... No More Bees!!.... I'm gonna have to make a sign that says HUMMERS WELCOME!! WARNING! Bees..Wasps..Flies..and Ants INVADE AT YOUR RISK BUT BE WARNED I HAVE A "HIGH POWERED" HOSE AND I WILL USE IT .....LOL!
  • Marsha Marsha on Aug 19, 2012
    You can also spray a cotton ball with some bug killer and put it at the top of the hook. This will keep the ants from crawling down to the water. Even after the ball dries, it keep the ants away.
  • Dolores Henderson Dolores Henderson on Aug 23, 2012
    I have sprayed the post (shepherd's hook usually) with ant killer (Raid), but then I noticed that sometimes the hummers will sit on top of the post. So I just spray up & down the post. It helps for a while, then Ihave to do it again weeks later. But actually my best tip is to make an ant guard out of a spray paint can cap. I've made one for each of my feeders. Make sure the cap has the little inside plastic circle in it. I make little holes in each side of that little plastic circle with hot ice pick, insert wire long enough to hang on the hook. Then screw in an eye hook into the bottom of that cap, seal it if necessary with hot glue of weatherproof glue. keep it filled with water & hang feeder from the eye hook. Works perfectly for me as the ants can't get past the water.....and it's pretty much 'free'. Dee
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 23, 2012
    Well Dee I love that tip....but the vicks works for me I haven't had an ant on any of my feeders since I started coating the hanging wire two years ago.
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 24, 2012
    cleaning out my feeders last night, one was loaded with bees and another with ants! eewww! I'll really have to get self together for next year and try some of these ideas!
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 24, 2012
    @Marsha I'd be scared of using insecticide anywhere near my hummingbird feeder, they are so tiny if the were to get into it during one of the "fly-by fights" it would kill them as well, I try not to use anything that would actually harm the birds or our much needed pollinators....just something to convince the pests that they don't want any of it....LOL
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 24, 2012
    I would be afraid to use it too Marsha. They are such tiny gentle creatures and die so easily.
  • Natalie V Natalie V on Aug 25, 2012
    spray 409 around the area where you hand it. Ants hat the stuff
  • Marg C Marg C on Aug 26, 2012
    It would not make sense to use a cleaner anywhere near the feeders if everything you hear and read says to absolutely, positively rinse the feeders out well when washing as the soap will hurt the hummingbirds!
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 30, 2012
    Ya'll Vicks on the hanging cord/or the hook you hang the cord on.... is just so easy and you don't have to worry about it damaging them in any way...I just wouldn't risk anything that might harm them...especially insecticides....
  • Kate F Kate F on Aug 31, 2012
    I put coffee grounds around the shepard's hook and vaseline along with Vick's all the way up and down the pole in big clumps not just a little and the ants walk right over it and still make their way into the feeder! Can't believe it.
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Aug 31, 2012
    WOW Kate! I literally haven't had an ant, wasp, or bee anywhere near my feeders since I started doing this....can't really remember either 2 or 3 years ago.... But I don't use anything but Vicks....and now that you mention it... I did have a lot more problems with the ants when I had them on Sheppard crooks....I had to keep the vicks thick all the way from the hanging cord to the bottom of the bend in the hook....if I missed a spot they would find it, and also I used boric acid around the bottom where it was stuck in the dirt, and made a wide circle around it on the dirt, if it rained I had to replace it...Ultimately hanging it in a tree helped prevent a lot of that along with changing out my feeder to one that didn't drip at all.... hope that helps you! For the first time ever I had 5 hummers this morning!!! I'm so excited, I've Never seen more than 3!
  • Dolores Henderson Dolores Henderson on Sep 09, 2012
    I tried the vicks 2 wks ago on the pole (shepherd's hook) & the wire holding it. It was over 100 deg. all that week and it started running down the wire towards the feeder. Vaseline does the same thing in really hot weather. So I spray the pole itself. It helps keept he squirrels off of it too. They are just as much a pest as the ants. I will try the corn meal as I have heard that kills ants as well. The birds don't get on the pole except the very top to perch on. I just like the moat idea best since the little chickadees & titmouse use them for their drinking. I'm available to refill them each day. Now to keep the darn mourning doves out of the feeders. They keep the little ones away and eat all the food. Never thought I'd hate a bird, but they are coming very close. Dee
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Sep 09, 2012
    Delores, I put a plate of food on the ground for the doves, they are ground feeders naturally and prefer to eat what falls out of the feeders, so I just started putting a plastic plant saucer on the ground with food for them and another with water and they leave my other feeders alone...
  • Marilyn C Marilyn C on Sep 10, 2012
    I have planted MINT around my trumpet vines and around the exterior of my house, it has the capability and the results you need to keep those pesky ants at bay. No need to have an infestation anywhere around any feeder for our dear hummers and the nectar they come to sip. Plant mint and your troubles are over. Try it ! You enjoy the outcome.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 11, 2012
    Mint plus trumpet vine is really the battle of the titans, Marilyn!
  • Marilyn C Marilyn C on Sep 12, 2012
    Yes I agree Douglas. Placing the feeders on their posts or wherever you hang them, one must be careful not to drip any on the ground, it attracts ants like crazy then the battle begins all over again...*sigh*
  • Bev Carstensen Bev Carstensen on Sep 13, 2012
    I use a soft wheel bearing grease, about 2 in on the hanger....heat doesn't bother it...No ants..yah
  • Candy J Candy J on Feb 12, 2013
    The bees are my worse problem and would like some ideas for that?
  • Joyce R Joyce R on Feb 12, 2013
    I read somewhere that hanging your feeder with fishing line will keep ants from geting in feeder.
  • Kathy Kathy on Feb 15, 2013
    We hang our feeder on shepherd's hooks. Then we spray "Home Defense" starting from ground up and all over the post. Then hang the feeder. We tried hanging from a tree limb, just because we liked the look of it. But, could not keep the ants off. So, we just put our feeders in areas where trees and bushes are not actually touching the feeder. Home Defense works well.
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Feb 19, 2013
    @Kathy Home Defense is an insecticide? If so, then the hummers only have to rub up against it or get it on their feet resting on the top of the crook for it to kill them as well as any ants.
  • Celeste W Celeste W on Feb 22, 2013
    Our local bird supply company sells a plastic moat for a couple of dollars. It is filled with water and it hangs above the feeder...the ants don't cross the water. It looks a lot like the cap of an aerosol hair spray can, except that there is a small opening in the center for attachment purposes. Water surrounds the center (Not sure I am explaining this very well. If needed I will try to find a photo.) It was cheap enough not to be worth the attempt to duplicate it.
  • Candy J Candy J on Feb 23, 2013
    Need to keep bees away from feeders - can anyone help me?-
  • Colleen Stout Colleen Stout on Feb 24, 2013
    Cover the hook and wire that you use to hang your feeder with vaseline. The ants can't cross it.
  • Barbara S Barbara S on Feb 25, 2013
    I use the moats...have some that are cute little upside down umbrellas, and then there are plain red ones that hook to the top of the feeders and then attach to whatever hook you hang them from...
  • TaniaC TaniaC on Mar 01, 2013
    @Candy J I had a lot of problems with the bees last year since we had in the next street over from us a bee keeper and the bees would swarm my feeders... it was almost impossible to keep them away so I ended up taking the feeder away for a while until the bees finally left and then I moved the feeder a little over from where it was before... it worked for a while but the bees soon honed in on them again GRRRR!!!!... Here is some Ideas that might help you with your feeders that I felt was a pretty good source... Hope this can help you with your dilemma :)
  • Candy J Candy J on Mar 02, 2013
    Thanks Tania C. It helped but I guess the bottom line is you can't have your hummingbird without some adversity. I will keep trying.
  • Peggy W Peggy W on Mar 05, 2013
    I put Vaseline on the rod or wire holding the feeder. Worked for me.
  • Sharron W Sharron W on Mar 08, 2013
    Vaseline won't stop the bees, but the smell of Vicks probably will and the ants in particular hate not only do they not want to cross it because it's greasy...but the smell puts them off as do have to refresh it about once a week but I;m usually filling the feeders that often anyway...
  • Robyn Robyn on Mar 11, 2013
    I have two things that I do for ants on my hummer feeder. The easiest is just coating the sheperd hook with salad oil. But the one that works the best is using a cup of water before they can get to it. My husband made one, you can see it in my post on my hummingbird feeder. You can make it out of a half of an ornament, add water to it and a chain and the ants get stuck in the moat. Or you can buy an ant moat at Home Depot.
  • Linda Lewis Linda Lewis on Mar 12, 2013
    I have my feeders hanging from the evestrough. Ants are a big problem. Found these small cones (at the dollar store) that fit over the top of the feeder. They have two way tape on the inside. Ants don't get past it. they get stuck on it :)
  • Marris R Marris R on Mar 13, 2013
    I read that cinnamon keeps ants away. Give it a try.
  • Nancy Hart Nancy Hart on Apr 03, 2013
    I have put non stick cooking spray on the cord which hangs the hummingbird feeder and the ants won't climb over it. I have used this for a few years now and I don't have a problem with the ants.
  • Connie Connie on Apr 13, 2013
    non stick cooking spray works great !
  • Bonnie S Bonnie S on Apr 26, 2013
    Hooray for Duct Tape: I just wrapped some around the pole with the sticky part of the duct tape outward. This has seemed to work for all my bird feeders and even kept the chipmunks from climbing the big wooden one. I did this last summer and still the chippies have kept away this spring. Probably will replace it with fresh soon.
  • Sherry Poore Sherry Poore on Apr 06, 2015
    I found a plastic thing that hangs above the feeder that stops the ants from getting to the feeder, I think I got it at Lowes.
  • Peggy W Peggy W on Sep 23, 2015
    I used Vaseline on the cord.
    • Susan Susan on Nov 29, 2016


      Yes, putting lots of petroleum jelly on the hook or whatever you are using to hang the hummingbird will do the job great! Just be careful that no other plants grow close enough that ants can take a ride on them to the feeder. I had that happen with honeysuckle recently. So I still had to wash the hummingbird feeder and try again. So far, no ants and no branches close as I pruned all around!

  • York Gardener York Gardener on Sep 25, 2015
    I used to use a number of the techniques listed above but learned that petroleum based products can actually get onto the wings of hummingbirds and damage them. The ant moat which you place above the feeder is the safest and easiest way to prevent ants from getting into your nectar. Also, making your own nectar using 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water (or any other 1:4 ratio of sugar:water) is better for them than the red nectar, and much cheaper also. If you enjoy DIY it is easy to make your own ant moats. Here is a link to one:
  • Well, I figure, the ants gotta eat, too, so, I just don't worry about them. When it's time to clean my hummingbird feeders, I use the hose and dish detergent outside, so I don't have to worry about any of the ants getting in the house. Besides, they're just a little high protein snack for the hummers!! LOL!
  • Barbara Barbara on Nov 17, 2015
    When you take the hummingbird feeder down to wash or refill, hose down the tree or shrub it hangs in with a mild soapy mixture (I used 1/2 cup mild *not Dawn* dish detergent to 3/4 cup of water in a spray bottle), let it sit for a few hours on the tree for a few hours. Spray the tree/shrub with a hose (windows closed please!). Sprinkle baking soda around the base of the tree. The mild soap shouldn't hurt the plant or the hummingbirds but it will kill the ants and the soda will help keep them from returning. Repeat several times to deter ants from returning. Vaseline on the cord also works well and shouldn't bother the hummingbirds as they are down by the feeder openings
  • Brenda Brown Brenda Brown on Mar 05, 2016
    Try putting cinnamon around the pole at the ground. It helped me out. Of course when it rains you have to redo for sure.
  • Kathy Kathy on Jun 25, 2016
    Hang the feeder from very light fishing line. The ants can't stick to it . . .
  • T. Martinelli T. Martinelli on Oct 11, 2016
    I use the Vaseline on my Shepard's hook it keeps the ants from climbing up
  • T. Martinelli T. Martinelli on Oct 22, 2016
    I hang mine on Shepard hooks an garden rods from trees ,on the Shepard hooks an rods I put vassalize on the hook an rods the ants get stuck in it,been doing this for years ,don't get it near the feeder so the birds don't get in it..
  • Mogie Mogie on May 10, 2023

    Give the ants a tightrope challenge—with fishing line. Fishing line is naturally very thin—even too thin for ants—and slippery on its own, so it works as a great deterrent for ants trying to climb to the hummingbird feeder. You'll need to make sure the fishing line is strong enough to hold up the weight of your feeder and the resting weight of a hummingbird feeding on its nectar. Then, use the fishing line to hang the hummingbird feeder where you wish.