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7 Natural Ways to Keep Bees and Ants Away From Hummingbird Feeders

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7 Natural Ways to Keep Bees and Ants Away From Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbirds are delightful visitors to any garden, bringing joy with their vibrant colors and graceful flight. However, keeping their feeders free from bees and ants can be a challenge. While it’s essential to support pollinators like bees, it’s equally crucial to ensure hummingbird feeders remain exclusively for their avian visitors. Here are seven natural methods to keep bees and ants away from hummingbird feeders.

1. Understanding the Issue

Bees and ants are naturally attracted to the sweet nectar in hummingbird feeders. The scent and color of the sugar water mimic the flowers they typically feed on, making the feeders irresistible to them.

2. Planting Bee-Repellent Plants

Certain plants, such as marigolds, mint, and lavender, naturally repel bees and ants. By strategically planting these around your feeder, you can create a barrier that deters insects while enhancing your garden’s aesthetics.

3. Citrus Peel Barrier

Create a barrier around your feeder using citrus peels. The strong scent of citrus acts as a natural deterrent, keeping bees and ants at bay. Replace the peels regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

4. Peppermint Oil Solution

Mix peppermint essential oil with water and spray it around the feeder. The strong aroma of peppermint masks the scent of the nectar, making the area less attractive to bees and ants.

5. Vinegar and Water Spray

A solution of vinegar and water sprayed around the feeder creates an acidic barrier that insects avoid. It’s essential to use this sparingly to avoid affecting the hummingbirds’ delicate sense of smell.

6. Cinnamon Powder

Sprinkle cinnamon powder around the base of the feeder or on nearby surfaces. Bees and ants dislike the scent of cinnamon, making it an effective natural deterrent.

7. Feeders with Ant Moats

Invest in hummingbird feeders with built-in ant moats. These moats are filled with water, creating a barrier that prevents ants from accessing the feeder.

Changing Feeder Placement

Move your feeder to different locations regularly. By changing its position, you can confuse bees and ants, making it harder for them to locate the source of nectar.

Regular Cleaning

Clean your feeder regularly to remove any residue that may attract insects. Use a mild soap solution and rinse thoroughly to ensure no traces of soap are left behind.

Hummingbird-attracting Plants

Consider planting hummingbird-friendly flowers in your garden. By providing alternative sources of nectar, you can reduce the pressure on your feeder and minimize insect activity.

DIY Insect Traps

Create simple traps using sugary bait to lure insects away from your feeder. Place these traps strategically around your garden to intercept bees and ants before they reach the feeder.

Monitoring and Maintenance

Keep an eye on your feeder and surrounding area for signs of insect activity. Regular monitoring allows you to take action promptly, ensuring your feeder remains a welcoming space for hummingbirds.


Maintaining bee and ant-free hummingbird feeders is essential for attracting and supporting these delightful creatures in your garden. By using natural methods to deter insects, you can create a safe and inviting environment for hummingbirds to enjoy.


1. Will these methods harm the hummingbirds? No, these methods are entirely safe for hummingbirds and only target bees and ants.

2. How often should I replace the citrus peels? Replace the citrus peels every few days to ensure their effectiveness.

3. Can I use any type of vinegar for the vinegar and water spray? Yes, any type of vinegar will work, but white vinegar is the most commonly used.

4. Will cinnamon powder affect the taste of the nectar? No, cinnamon powder will not affect the taste of the nectar for hummingbirds.

5. How can I tell if my feeder needs cleaning? Keep an eye out for mold, discoloration, or a cloudy appearance in the feeder, which indicates it’s time for cleaning.

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