built-in ant moat

donnas_gw(7)June 27, 2007

One of my feeders has a built in ant moat. I can keep it filled to the brim with water, but it does not keep those pesky carpenter ants away from the feeder. They still find a way to get to the rim so they can crawl on down to the feeder. I tried putting a little dishwashing liquid in with the water. That stops them...it has actually killed some ants, and the others just give up trying. But after we had a heavy rain, the dishwashing liquid found its way into the nectar, so I had to throw it out and put in new. I've tried vaseline on the hanger, and they still craw right down through it. Does anything stop these ants??

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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have two things to deter ants. One is that the feeder is hanging on 6 inches of thin nylon fishing line and also I greased the pole with soft grease.

How long is sugar water good in summertime when the feeder is basically in the shade? I think that I have only one male and it sure is slow getting used up.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:44PM
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I've read that in hot weather, 2-3 days is the max for leaving nectar in the feeder.

I've also read that vaseline is a good ant deterrent.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 8:28PM
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I'd be careful about greasing the pole or the hanging wire. Read someplace that if the Hummer brushes against them, they'll get the grease on their feathers and it's hard for them to clean the grease off.
I bought some ant moats from Wild Birds Unlimited that are basically the size of areasol can tops with an "s" hook on the bottom and the top. Fill it with water and hang above the feeder. Keeps ants out of my feeders (so far). Here is there web site http://www.wbu.com/ They may have a store in your vicinity. I even use the ant moats with the feeders that have built in moats. The bright red color helps to attract the little Hummers.
Or have you tried putting ant baits at the base of the feeder pole?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:27AM
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fritzmom....this feeder is not on a pole. I have a front porch roof overhang, and I have it hanging at the edge. I took a metal coat hanger and cut a straight length (about 10"). Then I took pliars and bent the ends up a little making a hook on each end. The way I have it hanging:

Christmas light "S" hook: (it really looks more like the figure "8") The top part of the "S" hook is hooked into one of the grooves at the end of my porch overhang.

My hanger that I made is hooked into the bottom part of the "S" hook. Hope this all makes sense.

I do have some ant traps out, but they are not in the same area as this feeder, maybe about 20 feet away and in the back yard. The ants have to get to my feeder by crawling up onto the roof. Do you think anywhere on the ground underneath the feeder would be ok for ant traps? I'm wondering if I should put one on the roof...lol.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 6:48PM
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If you have carpenter ants getting to your feeder off the roof they are probably in the house. You need to address that issue and you will eliminate the ant problem with the feeder. I think the house is more important so I would call someone in to take a look.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:12PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

As far as greasing the pole goes, if the grease is a foot above the ground, the hummer is very unlikely to get in it. Also I don't see any problem with fishing line. These little hummers are very skilled. After all the frrder is going to be hung on something or other.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 10:26PM
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Donna, try moving the feeder over about five or six feet away from where it is now. I have read that the hummers will find it very easily but the ants will not. The ants will follow the chemical trail that they have left- when they get to the end of it there is nothing there for them and they give up. Good Luck and do consider getting the house inspected, carpenter ants can do terrible damage.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 5:39PM
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You know, we did have a large oak tree cut down about 2 years ago. This tree was only about 5-6 feet away from our house in the back yard. We were afraid of it possibly falling onto the house during a bad storm. The guy who cut it got as close to the ground as he could. What he couldn't get is still there. It's probably gonna cost up in the hundreds of dollars to have the stump removed. Gosh, isn't there a less expensive way to remove a stump? I know this isn't related to hummingbirds, sorry.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 11:01AM
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