stinking feeders and bees!!!

tomatozillaJuly 22, 2008

I have been feeding in Los Angeles for at least eight years, I've never had a bee problem. The birds currently consume the contents of an entire 27 oz. every 24 hours, which is enough work, sugar money and birds for me. Yesterday the bees moved in. Seems hummzingers or any feeder that accepts basket bee guards are too small capacity. I tried diatomaceous earth, tape over the seam the bees clustered under (the bees are under the rail mostly, not on the portals), moving the feeder, changing the feeder, smacking the bees around. Right now I have a butterfly feeder out there with strong solution as some have suggested to distract bees, and I see a few are going right into the ports and maybe they'll stay there. The hummers started using that immediately! But the majority are still on the 27oz - they are crowded under the side plastic seam and rail as though it leaked or old leakage were dried there, and I really don't believe there is. The only results I got were that bees get pissed off and left because they can't use the 8oz Perky with the big yellow baskets but I have to change that every ten minutes. I put the big feeder out because I had to dig up my hummingbird flowers because a huge tree was taken out - if I remove the feeder I will kill hummers. Why are these feeder manufacturers not making anything serviceable? I believe I am having these bee problems now because this is the first time I've put a feeder in the front yard fruit and veggie garden where oregano and mint are in bloom nearby and attracting great rafts of bees, some of which are apparently very lazy. This has also proved to be the best birdwatching activity spot I've ever used by far, and the bird behavior is absolutely amazing when the feeder is working. So now I have to start hunting the bees I attracted to pollinate my food and evenomate my arthritic husband? Boy this stinks! Do those stupid eight oz. feeder heads fit on some kind of large bottle of junk beverage people consume and I should hunt that down and swap it out (we don't use junk beverages) and make a sling to hang the thing? I know how to deal with ants, that's not a problem. Argh!

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Hi tomato--

There are several threads here on avoiding bees at the feeder. I would recommend getting two Hummzingers set up to solve the problem without losing your feeding capacity. In fact, you may double or triple your bird perching possibilities! If you hung two Hummzinger Excels, you would have 32 total oz (16 oz. each), twelve feeding ports, and zero bees. The bees and wasps will try to get in and fail (or the tiny ones will get in and drown), and eventually give up altogether. And cleaning and filling the two Hummzingers will probably be the same amount of work and trouble as any gravity feeder.

The link below has them for a very reasonable price (and they come with a lifetime warranty). And no, I don't work for them or get paid to advertise...their product is just better for attracting and feeding hummingbirds. I hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummzinger Excel

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 11:09PM
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Thanks mbuckmaster, I've been reading those threads. I don't agree with putting out more feeders - if I do the immediate reaction is more birds can make it to more feeders without being being beaten up by dominant birds - then more dominant birds do find it - and I have too many responsibilities! I'm beginning to become concerned someone is gonna get poked walking by and sue us for attractive nuisance, and I have all the activity any thirty folks could watch. Capacity of dishes is too small, and we have a 45 degree slope front yard so expect spillage to reduce the amount of nectar which actually arrives at the hanger. Until Hummzinger makes something LARGE, I'm not buying.
After I hung up the 2/1 h20/sugar in butterfly feeder yesterday, bees slowly moved to that, they were also encouraged by being caught for apitherapy. They went into feeder but didn't drown. Some of the hummers began using the butterfly feeder despite the presence of bees - apparently the increase in sugar was sufficiently attractive to merit the facing the danger they would not stand at the gravity 4/1 feeder. We'll see what happens today. I'm not sure if high-octane nectar in hot weather is so great for birds, I'll be watching for casualties when I water the garden this morning (no the bees weren't looking for moisture either, argh!)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:22AM
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Well, the Hummzingers are spill-proof as well if that matters. Also, more dominant birds like orioles and woodpeckers can't really drink from these feeders either...the ports are too small and there's no spill over for them to get to. But I understand people get attached to their own feeders, so maybe someone else will have a realistic option for your specific situation. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 1:35PM
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thanks again mbuckmaster but OH WOW I have seen the light and it's the homemade feeder post below this one! PVC I can easily work with and plug basket bee guards into and any capacity I care to deal with! Feast or famine: it's difficult for most folks on this list to understand how I could have "enough" hummers; it's hard for me to imagine how or why I would want to discourage orioles or woodpeckers! Maybe the new feeder will answer that question!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 6:07PM
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mbuckmaster--- I have often thought of getting a humzinger but was waiting for a good price and that is the lowest price I have seen on a zinger yet. But I have read some reviews that it only holds 16oz and when it gets half full or less birds are discouraged from sipping from it and soon leave it . I have concerns ,example I have pretty heavy feeding here morning and night and spot feeding thruout the day. But I filled these two 30oz feeders full a day and a half ago as it is now 12:30 of the second day and now I will let this photo speak volumes.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Hummersteve--that is the only drawback to the Hummzingers, you're right. 16 oz can be emptied pretty quickly if you have a lot of birds. It looks like for you it would mean filling them twice as often. But the benefits I listed above make it worth while for some people, plus it's by far the easiest feeder to clean and maintain (even dishwasher safe). And the lifetime guarantee will eventually make up for any additional cost (but at $14.95 above, they're really a steal).

By the way, I only ever fill my Hummzingers about halfway, and the birds don't mind. But I only have maybe 15-20 residents (judging by the x5 rule). I'm going to buy some more feeders as you suggested in an earlier post and "maximize my potential!" =)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:41PM
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mbuckmaster--- This certainly is a great time to add feeders for the fall migration south is due to get into full swing for the month of august and I love august for that reason alone. Since Im having more hummers than Ive ever had before Im still wondering if I have enough feeders to service them all. Im sure next year I will be adding more feeders.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:16PM
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