How To Keep Ants Out of Hummingbird Feeders

One of the most common issues that arise when feeding hummingbirds is ants. Ants in hummingbird feeders are attracted to the sugar water in the feeders, and they can make it very difficult for you to enjoy watching these flying jewels while they visit your garden. You might feel embarrassed if you don’t know how to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders

Some people resort to using chemicals on their feeders or wrapping them tightly with plastic bags, but these methods can be expensive and dangerous for the birds. If you want to keep ants out of your hummingbird feeders,

Just as you don’t want ants to ruin your food, hummingbirds will not eat from feeders that have ants crawling around them either. The last thing you don’t know is that your little hummingbird friends will get sick because they ate food that has ants crawling around in it.

Fortunately, there are some ways you can prevent ants from getting to your hummingbird’s food. First of all, if you don’t have hummingbird feeders outside, then there is no need for you to worry about this. If you do, however, here are some pointers on how to keep ants off hummingbird feeder.

 1) Ant Moats

One of the best and easiest ways to keep ants in hummingbird feeders away is by using an ant moat. You simply hang it on the hanger of your feeder, fill it with water (or beer), and the ants cannot cross through the moat. Ant moats act as hummingbird ant traps; when they try to climb across, they slip into the water or fall off trying. The ant moats sold in stores are made out of plastic; however, you can also make one yourself by filling a cap with water and tying a string to it. Just be sure that the string is safely within reach of your feeder’s hanger, so it won’t get damaged when the feeder swings in the wind.

2) Clean Your Feeders Thoroughly

Another way to keep ants away from hummingbird feeders is by cleaning them thoroughly regularly. If there is leftover sugar water inside your feeder, it can attract ants on the hummingbird feeder and other bugs too. Mix up a mixture of white vinegar and dishwater soap in one part vinegar to three parts water, and use a soft brush to wash the inside of your feeders. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove any excess soap or vinegar that could harm the birds.

3) Clean Up Any Spilled Sugar Water Immediately

When you fill your hummingbird feeder, any spilled sugar water should be cleaned up using a paper towel immediately to prevent ants from entering the feeder. If there is too much sugar water on the ground from overfilling or spilling while filling up your feeders, ants can use this as an easy food source without having to go all the way to the feeder. Hummingbird feeders must be kept clean and free of ants in order for them to thrive. Cleaning is the best way to keep ants away.

4) Make Sure There Are No Other Food Sources for Ants

How do you keep ants from crawling up to the hummingbird feeder? Whether it’s the feeder or some other food source, ants are hard to resist, so if you already have ant problems in your home, there’s a good chance that that’s not all they’re after. You should move your hummingbird feeders away from anything that attracts ants, such as pet dishes, fruit peels, or open trash cans. By doing so, you will reduce the chances of ants ruining other items around the house.

5)  Try a bug-deterring feeder

Bug-deterring feeders are specially designed to keep ants out by creating a barrier that they cannot cross. The feeding ports are tiny, so the only birds that can eat from them are hummingbirds with long tongues and slender beaks.

These ant barriers for hummingbird feeders may be more expensive than the standard ones you buy at the store, but they will likely last much longer without getting clogged or broken due to the materials used. Keep in mind that even bug-deterring feeders can get clogged sometimes; it’s just not as common as with regular types of feeders.

6) Avoid Getting Food on Your Feeder

Ants are less likely to come to your hummingbird feed if there isn’t any food on it. Are you confused about whether hummingbird feeders attract ants? Well, it’s not the feeder but the sugar water that appeals to ants, so don’t leave any sweet water on your feeder for more than a day or two. This way, you won’t have to spend all that time cleaning your feeders, and ants will be less likely to bother them.

7) Use red feeders

Ants are not attracted to red, so using a red hummingbird feeder will provide some safety for your visitors while they eat their meal. Red flowers will do the same thing, so if you have any of these, place them along with your feeder. This trick is really helpful in deterring the ants from finding your feeders.

8) Use lemongrass essential oil

Place a few drops of lemongrass essential oils at the top of your hummingbird feeder, or add them to the nectar itself; this is also a very good option for you to consider. Ants hate the smell and will stay away from it. However, be careful not to use too much of this essential oil, or it will deter all the hummingbirds as well.

9) Sprinkle cinnamon powder

Spread out the cinnamon powder around the feeder to keep ants away. Ants will not cross over this, so place some of it in the direction of the ants’ path if you see them coming your way. If you are concerned about whether cinnamon will hurt hummingbirds, Be careful not to let the powder get into the feeder. Another thing about using cinnamon is that after a while, the smell will wear off, and it may be time to reapply it to the areas where you see ants crawling around.

10) Orange and lemon juice

Pour some orange and lemon juice on a rag and squeeze out all of the liquid, then place the damp cloth over your feeder. The smell of citrus fruit will keep away most insects, including ants, but this trick is best used as an emergency measure to be used when ants have invaded your feeder and you can’t get rid of hornets and aunts.

11) Peppermint oil

Dip cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them around the feeder where ants are seen crawling around. Peppermint repels ants; hence, they will leave your feeders alone if they get a whiff of it.

If you have hummingbird feeders outside, be mindful of where they are located. The ants will most likely line up along the perches at the bottom of the feeder, waiting for a hummingbird to come by and offer them some nectar to eat while they hang out there. Ants are attracted to nectar and sugar, so any place where those things are located will be a source of attraction for them.


Whichever method you choose, you should be able to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeders while still enjoying their visit. Since ant moats can be a bit pricey, mixing up some vinegar and soap solution in one part vinegar to three parts water might be a good alternative if you have some available at home. 

If you want to keep ants away from your feeders but don’t want to do it yourself, find a local organization that would appreciate small donations, such as mealworms or sugar water, instead of giving cash directly to them. 

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