CA KateMay 6, 2011

Every year it seems as if it's something new with the Hummer feeder. Last year it was hundreds of yellow jackets sucking the feeder dry almost faster than I could fill it. This year it's Honey Bees!

Last year I had no qualms about getting out the shop vac and sucking up every wasp that came near the feeder; but I have to admit I don't really want to harm those bees.

So, what do I do to keep the bees away from the feeder so the Hummers and Oriols can drink?

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Maybe get some plants that really attract bees.
I have bees all over my russian sages when in bloom.
They also love the Bush germander teucrium fruticana Azureum and honeysuckle.
I have 3 hummer feeders and an oriole feeder and never seen a bee on them.
There are some bee guards for feeders but don't know if they really work.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:43PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Buy feeders that don't have any yellow parts which attract wasps and bees. That will help. You can also spray wasp spray around the feeders which will repel the wasps but not the birds.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:16PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Another flower that bees love is Borage, I planted some seeds years ago and they have been self sowing ever since and have always been covered in bees.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Get rid of the feeder and plant plants that have flowers that hummingbirds can feed on but bees can't like Aloe Vera or Four O'Clocks. Please don't poison the honeybees.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Be nice to the bees! I believe they are in a lot more trouble than most hummingbirds. Maybe you should put another feeder!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bzzzzzz

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:54PM
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CA Kate

I have ALL that all of you have suggested:
1 acre in gardens.... Plenty of Hummer-loving Salvias, etc.;
Feeder is a green wine bottle with a red plastic base;
I very, very rarely use poisons of any kind as a last resort;
I would never intentionally harm a bee!

I have gone to filling the feeder in the evening when the bee population has abandoned the over-head climbing rose, so the Hummers can have a before-bed drink, and then a wake-up jolt in the early morning before the bees are again active... at which point they drain the feeder.

Two feeders would just be two for them to drain.

I just have never had bees at this feeder. These gardens have been a never-ending revelation about the flora and fauna of CA.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 4:25PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Sorry, should have been a bit clearer, spray wasp REPELLENT spray - not poison spray - around your hummingbird feeders. Most of my feeders do not have yellow parts, so they don't attract wasps or bees, and they can't reach the nectar in my feeders. Plus, I've got tons and tons of things the bees are far more interested in, like Rosemary, Salvia, Ceanothus, Penstemon, any other California natives (like you do, too, westelle). I have lots for the hummers in my garden, too, but I really like having the hummers up close to some of my windows, so I also have feeders for purely selfish reasons - so I can see them closely when I'm in the kitchen, or in other rooms of the house. You can have both. You can try using Permethrin on the feeders themselves to keep the bees and wasps away, and it won't kill them. Birds don't have a very keen sense of smell, so it won't deter the hummers. The most important thing is to make sure you don't have feeders that drip or ones that allow the bees and wasps can reach the nectar. Dripping sugar water will definitely attract wasps, bees and ants. Be sure you have feeders that provide nectar far enough down that the bees and wasps cannot reach the nectar. There are feeders designed especially in this manner - only the hummer's long beak and tongue can reach the nectar. The wasps and bees will eventually give up and go away. And, move your new feeders. Even moving it a foot will work. The hummers will find it no problem, but the bees and wasps will take much longer, and if they can't reach the nectar, they will give up. The HummZinger is a good basin-style feeder that makes the nectar too deep for bees and wasps to reach.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:20PM
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CA Kate

Now I've seen it all! The bees AND the Hummers sharing the bowl -- at the same time. Nature will find a way.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 9:24PM
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Go to a Wild Bird food store or look on line. They carry little baskets to fit over the sippers at the hummingbird feeders, it allows the hummers to slurp up the good stuff but the bees and wasps dont have long enough straws

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:16AM
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CA Kate

mazer: I was thinking of soemthing like that. We have a Wild Bird store in Fresno. I'll stop there to see what they have. Thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:25AM
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