How To Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

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Bees and hummingbirds share a common interest in the sugary nectar found in hummingbird feeders. However, this harmonious coexistence can be disrupted when bees overwhelm hummingbird feeders, leaving the intended beneficiaries high and dry. To restore balance and ensure hummingbirds enjoy their rightful feast, this comprehensive guide delves into effective strategies for deterring bees from hummingbird feeders.

Identifying Factors Attracting Bees to Hummingbird Feeders: How To Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

How to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders

Bees are attracted to hummingbird feeders due to several factors that mimic the natural sources of their food, nectar. Understanding these factors can help in finding effective ways to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders.

Sugary Nature of Hummingbird Nectar

Hummingbird nectar is a sugar-rich solution that provides bees with a quick and easily digestible source of energy. The sweet taste of the nectar is highly attractive to bees, who are known to have a strong preference for sugary substances.

Bright Colors of Feeders

Many hummingbird feeders are designed with bright colors, such as red or orange. These colors are attractive to bees, as they mimic the colors of flowers that naturally produce nectar. Bees have evolved to associate these colors with food sources, making them more likely to investigate hummingbird feeders.

Sweet Scent of Nectar

The nectar produced by hummingbirds has a sweet scent that is attractive to bees. This scent helps bees locate the feeder even from a distance, making it easier for them to find and exploit the food source.

Strategies for Discouraging Bees from Hummingbird Feeders

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To effectively deter bees from hummingbird feeders, consider employing a combination of these strategies:

Bee Guards or Bee Excluders

Install bee guards or bee excluders over the feeder ports. These devices physically block bees while allowing hummingbirds to access the nectar.

Shaded Areas

Place feeders in shaded areas where bees are less likely to be active. Bees prefer sunny locations with ample sunlight.

Dark Colors

Paint the feeders with dark colors such as brown or black. Bees are attracted to bright colors, so darker hues can deter them.

Natural Bee Repellents

Surround the feeders with natural bee repellents such as peppermint or cinnamon. These scents can repel bees without harming hummingbirds.

Distance from Beehives, How to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders

Hang the feeders away from beehives or nesting areas. This reduces the likelihood of bees encountering the feeders and attempting to access the nectar.

Modifications to Hummingbird Feeders for Bee Prevention

To effectively deter bees from hummingbird feeders, consider implementing modifications to the feeders’ design. These modifications aim to create obstacles for bees while allowing hummingbirds to access the nectar conveniently.

One approach is to employ feeders with narrow openings. The narrow entrances make it challenging for bees to enter, while hummingbirds’ long, slender beaks can easily reach the nectar. Additionally, feeders can be designed with perches specifically tailored for hummingbirds.

These perches provide a stable landing spot for hummingbirds, making it easier for them to feed while discouraging bees from lingering.

Inverted Feeders

Inverted feeders offer another effective solution. Inverted designs feature the nectar reservoir at the bottom of the feeder, making it difficult for bees to reach the nectar. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, can easily hover and access the nectar from below.

Built-in Ant Moats or Barriers

To further enhance bee prevention, consider feeders with built-in ant moats or barriers. These features create a physical obstacle that deters both bees and ants from accessing the nectar. Ant moats typically consist of a moat filled with water, while barriers can be simple physical obstructions that prevent insects from crawling onto the feeder.

Alternative Nectar Sources for Bees

How to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders

Diverting bees away from hummingbird feeders requires providing them with alternative sources of nectar and food. This helps satisfy their foraging needs, reducing their interest in hummingbird feeders. Here are some effective strategies to establish alternative nectar sources for bees:

Separate Sugar Water Feeders for Bees

Place separate sugar water feeders specifically for bees at a distance from hummingbird feeders. Ensure these feeders are filled with a sugar water solution of 1:1 ratio (one part sugar to one part water). The separate feeders provide bees with a dedicated source of nectar, making them less likely to visit hummingbird feeders.

Bee-Friendly Flowers

Plant a variety of bee-friendly flowers in the vicinity of hummingbird feeders. Bees are attracted to specific flower species that offer ample nectar and pollen. Consider planting lavender, sunflowers, daisies, poppies, and clover. These blooms will provide bees with alternative foraging options, reducing their reliance on hummingbird feeders.

Designated Bee Watering Station

Create a designated bee watering station by providing shallow water sources. Bees require water for various purposes, including nest cooling and diluting honey. Place a shallow dish or birdbath filled with clean water near the bee-friendly flowers. Adding a few pebbles or marbles to the water provides bees with a resting spot while drinking.

Pollen Patties or Supplements

Offer pollen patties or supplements as an alternative food source for bees. Pollen is a crucial source of protein and other nutrients for bees. Providing pollen patties or supplements near the bee-friendly flowers ensures bees have access to this essential food, further reducing their interest in hummingbird feeders.

Maintaining Hummingbird Feeders for Bee Control

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Maintaining clean and well-kept hummingbird feeders is crucial for discouraging bees. Regular cleaning helps remove any residual sugar that attracts bees. Change the nectar solution frequently to prevent fermentation, which can release scents that attract bees.

Positioning and Placement

Place feeders in areas with good air circulation to reduce the scent of nectar. This makes it harder for bees to locate the feeders.

Cleaning Solutions

Use vinegar or diluted bleach to clean feeders. Vinegar’s acidity repels bees, while bleach kills any lingering bacteria. Rinse feeders thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residual cleaning solution.