How To Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders
Table of Contents
The feeders that have good nectar sources, attract hummingbirds, but bees are also attracted to these feeders. We can solve our feeding dilemma by understanding that how birds and bees act. It is most important to keep the bees away from a hummingbird feeder. But the question arises that how do hummingbird feeders get rid of bees?
In this article, we will discuss the ways to achieve the goal without causing any harm to bees and birds. Some tips are given below;
i. Install bee guards
You can make the holes of the feeder smaller to make it bee-proof and bees and other insects cannot enter into it. In some hummingbird feeders, bee guards are installed already that help to protect them from bees.
You should consider it to buy a proper feeder in which a bee guard is installed. But if you already have a feeder without a bee guard, you can install a guard in it. The long beaks and tongues of hummingbirds help them in reaching the source of nectar, especially from the vault of flowers.
Thus, if you install a bee guard around the feeding port, it prevents bees from reaching the nectar or passing through the holes and eventually they stop pursuing it but hummingbirds get the benefit of their long beak.
If a couple of bees fail to get nectar during the investigation, they don’t call their swarm and they will call for reinforcements if they can get access to the nectar.
ii. Use a red saucer feeder
Hummingbirds have long beaks that help them in reaching the nectar, but on the other hand, insects cannot reach the nectar source. Where the bees get attracted towards yellow color, the hummingbird is attracted towards red color.
The types of feeders can vary and based upon the type of feeder they can be less friendly than others. The red saucer feeder should be positioned at a point where insects cannot get access to the nectar. Some built-in moats or bee guards are also available in the market that prevents insects including bees from reaching the nectar but do not stop the hummingbirds.
There are many extra accessories available in the market that can be attached to the feeder. You can also place a bowl filled with one part sugar and one part water to guide bees. Place the bowl near the hummingbird feeder so that the bees can get attracted toward the bowl and then move the feeder away from the hummingbird feeder in a sunny spot.
iii. Relocate the feeder often
After finding a food source, hummingbirds will visit there and also try to find other food sources nearby. You should change the location of your feeder, which will create confusion and keep bees away from the feeder but hummingbirds can find it easily.
If the feeder is relocated just a few feet away, the bees can find it immediately and if you relocate it too often, it will create confusion in hummingbirds also. So, make sure to relocate the feeder in a scheduled way and move it rigid but not too rigid.
Most of the time, insects prefer to visit only convenient sources and probably they do not prefer to find out the relocated hummingbird feeders. If you move the feeder from its position, it may reduce the invasion of insects without discouraging hummingbirds.
This will be easy when you have multiple feeders in your feeding stations, which are installed in different locations throughout the yard and are refilled every time.
iv. Use decoy feeders
To keep bees away from the hummingbird feeder, you can use a duplicate feeder, which is made for bees. The duplicate feeder should be placed in a location that is near the hummingbird feeder and hung in such a location that has full sunlight.
The feeder should be filled with a sweeter solution of sugar and water. The solution should be stronger than a 5-to-1 water-to-sugar solution that is effective for bees. The solution should be filled in a very shallow bowl and placed 5 to 6 feet away from the hummingbird feeder.
You may need to place the duplicate feeder near the hummingbird feeder and move it farther away from it. This method helps you to pollinate your flowers and also provides them with an alternative food source. Make sure that the food source will be open enough for the bees to get access because they will only visit the convenient sources.
v. Find and stop the leakage
If the hummingbird feeder has any leakage, the chances of invasion of bees increase. You should be careful that your feeder has not any slits or leakage. Besides bees, other insects like ants also attract a dripping hummingbird feeder.
If the feeder has a minor leak, it is not very concerning but if the leak is large and consistent, it may attract insects and become compulsory to stop the flow. You can minimize the leakage by tightening a feeder in various ways.
You should use a good seal between the bottle reservoir and the feeder because a weak or uneven seal does not work and leak easily. Use plumber’s tape and screws to tighten the seal, which minimizes the existing leaks. To prevent nectar from contamination, keep the tape out of contact.
vi. Make the nectar less sweat
Honey bees love sugar sources, particularly sucrose. They prefer the nectar sources that have plenty of sugar, thus if they have enough nectar sources, they stay away from flowers, which have less sugar concentration such as pear blossoms.
So if you alter the sugar ratio in your hummingbird feeder, the bees lose interest in the sugar water, which is a good idea to keep away the bees from a hummingbird feeder. You should try the sugar ratio of 5:1. In addition, fill the bee feeder with a sugar ratio of higher concentration that suits them.
You can add only one extra portion of sugar in the solution made for the bee feeder, which helps to keep away the bees from a hummingbird feeder. 3:1 is the ideal water to sugar ratio for bees that can be adjusted if necessary.
vii. Avoid anything yellow
As discussed above, bees attract yellow color due to the color of flowers or other food sources. But they don’t attract towards red color, which is loved by hummingbirds. You should avoid feeders with yellow guards or the accent of flowers to minimize the invasion of bees.
You can repaint your feeder if it has yellow color anywhere. A HummZinger feeder is the best option for discouraging bees because it has no yellow color on it. Bees love yellow and blue colors more than other colors because as compared to humans, the bees have different spectrums.
Bees can see ultraviolet electromagnetic spectrum which cannot be seen by humans. Thus, they cannot see red color and consider black color as a danger so remain away from it.
viii. Grow a pollinator garden
Around 80% of all flowering plants are pollinated by bees that including around 70 of the top 100 human food crops. Honey bees pollinate around 1/3 of the food eaten by humans. If you have floral nectar sources in your garden, bees can resist and they do not prefer the hummingbird feeder for a food source.
Bees can also provide you with a pollinator for your flowers and enjoy the extremely beautiful hum radiating from your backyard garden. You can choose such species for your pollinator garden that are suitable for both bees and hummingbirds.
The choice of plant species should depend upon the climate, location, and soil type of the garden. The flowers should have staggered blooming times and plants should be annual and perennial both types so that abundant food sources will be available for bees.
You can add flower species such as Bee Balm, Trumpet Creeper, Petunia, and Zinnia that attract bees and hummingbirds. The flowers are yellow-colored which attracts bees.
ix. Clean the feeder daily
If the feeder is filled too full, the hummingbird feeders can also drip. When the birds feed, drips of nectar fall from their bills that attract bees. The air pressure forces the nectar out of the feeder.
You should take care while refilling the hummingbird feeders and ensure to remove any spilled nectar. Also, repair all the leaks from the feeder. Cleaning a hummingbird feeder daily decreases the chances of invading bees.
Because bees can smell leaked nectar and take advantage of this. The shape of a hummingbird feeder is very grateful and takes only 30 seconds to clean.
x. Try a shaded location
The feeders should be hung in an accessible location because both bees and hummingbirds will find them as long as they can be accessed. However, bees prefer to feed on pollen and nectar in the sunlight because most flower species bloom in full sunlight.
You can make hummingbird feeders less attractive for bees by hanging them on shaded areas. Hanging the feeder in a shaded area also prevents the nectar from spoiling very quickly. The nectar remains cool in a shaded area and also slows down the fermentation process.
The feeder made up of plastic can be expanded by hot weather and this expansion results in leakage. However, if you place the hummingbird feeder in a fully shaded or dark area, the hummingbirds cannot find it so placing the feeder in the shaded area is the ideal location for hummingbird feeders.