Bees hogging the feeders

suzzque(7)April 6, 2008


New member here ... didn't see this question posted in the search area, so here goes ....

I put the feeders up April 1st and 2 hummingbirds started using them that day. Yesterday, after a very cool morning, honey bees started swarming the feeders. They are not very agressive and the hummers get a sip now and then, but those bees are really hogging the feeders. This has never happened before, although I do have to fight off wasps during the summer months.

What should I do? Just wait until the bees have more to choose from? They left the feeders before 7pm last night and the hummingbirds were able to drink freely, but I would like the bees to go somewhere else.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated,


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This may work - don't know: Fix a feeder with a stronger sugar water solution (maybe 1:2), and enclose it in hardware cloth so the hummers can't get to it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 4:54PM
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This has worked for me, but not for everyone. If bees find my feeder, I just move the feeder a couple of feet. The birds easily find the moved feeder and the insects do not. I read it somewhere and it worked when I tried it. I guess the insects don't use sight to find things and they're not smart enough to keep looking beyond the exact spot the food source was originally in. Good luck :) Christy

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Well, bees are a good thing in the garden, so it's not a horrible problem...wish I had more bees personally for my fruit trees. Too many wasps here...

I've been posting a lot today about the Hummzinger feeders...bees cannot get in to them, so your problem would likely go away. Here's a link for it that christy2828 posted (it's at a great price here too!):

Here is a link that might be useful: Nottawa

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 9:08PM
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I appreciate all these kind responses. I have one HummZinger, but while the bees don't use it, neither do the hummingbirds! Only once in awhile will a hummer dip into it and I really don't know why. All the liquid in the feeders is new and fron the same batch, but the hummers only seem to like the long shaped feeders, which, of course, the bees seem to like also. I have noticed that the bees do not seem to bother the exact same feeder that is more in the sun than the other feeders. These others are under the eves of the back porch.

I plan on trying to hang some more feeders, away from the porch to see if the hummers will be able to use them "bee-free", so-to-speak.

Thanks again for the good ideas,
Janice in TX

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Very strange that the hummers don't like the HummZinger!...the bottle feeder often do looks more like flowers, so maybe that's it?...I don't know. Mine love the Hummzinger. They just sit there and perch and sip casually...until a territorial male comes and knocks them off! But then another female will come and take her turn--they've got a system worked out.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 11:40PM
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They say bees are attracted to the color yellow and also blue, so this year as a test I have taken finger nail polish and covered any yellow parts on my feeders. I will find out if its a myth or not. Another way that might keep bees off is to go to a bowl type feeder like the humzinger. Those that have them swear by them and say they have no bee problem.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 12:43AM
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orcascove(6 Columbus Ohio)

My hummers won't use the humzinger either. Actually the only one they have touched in the past 3 years is a artline product, its a red hot air ballon, with a white sun shield top. I have another hot air ballon that is very close to it except it also has yellow on it. But they won't touch that one either. LOL!!! So this winter I finally found another identical red and white one to hang this year. I figured if thats the only one out of the dozen or so different kinds I have tried they will use, I might as well get some more like it. LOL!!! If they use the second one, I will have to buy more and start a hot air ballon field. LOL!!! And by the way, the bees or wasps don't seem to like that one at all, so maybe there is something to the keeping yellow off your feeders thing..

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 11:31AM
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orcascove-- that does sound strange. I have several different types of feeders and they will use them all. Strange creatures they are.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 12:02PM
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Well, I moved the feeders about 5 feet apart which did help somewhat. The very sad thing is that the bees are drowning by the dozens in the birdbaths. Still bees around the feeders, but I just can't imagine why they are drowning themselves. These birdbaths are not the deep ones - they are pretty shallow.

One bright thing - the hummers are increasing every day.

Perplexed in TX,

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:49PM
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ellix(augusta ga)

Janice, do you have plants in the yard? I have hundreds and hundreds of bees all over my yard as many things are blooming. They have never been interested in my hummer feeders. I had a terrible problem late last summer with yellow jackets and the feeders but none with the bees. I do plants for the bees as well as the hummers. Good luck

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 8:43PM
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Ellix .... thanks for your note.

Lots of stuff the bees enjoy in my yard. I plant for wildlife and and have had a Texas Wildlife Conservation award for my plantings. We are rural here, so lots of wild flowers aready up and going, especially the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, not to mention all the "lesser admired" natives.

So why the bees are hogging my hummingbird feeders is still a mystery and as I wrote - never had this problem until this year. Like you, we always have those unwanted wasps and yellowjackets. We try to tear down their nests whenever we find them.

The hummers are getting their share and don't seem to bee (pun intended) alarmed, but I wish they would go away from these sugar feeders. I send hubby out to get the empty feeders because I don't like them buzzing around my head.

Still perplexed,

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 7:03PM
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