Ants all over hummingbird feeder

mary11(9)July 18, 2005

New to N Calif, have many hummingbirds nesting in our yard. Have lots of fushias and native hummer-attractors and also a feeder in place on a obelisk (iron). It has been used alot, but recently small ants have invaded it. The hummingbirds don't want to feed from it. What to do? I spray off the ants with water a few times per day, but then they are back, pronto Do not want to use pesticides.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Mary11. Try getting a Hummzinger feeder. They have ant barriers right in them. I've never had trouble with ants since getting my Hummzingers

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Charlotte. I will look for one of these! The present feeder I have does not have perches nor a gut to take on the insects.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alan_la(10A s Cal)

Mary, I use a very small amount of vaseline, on and above the necter supply, I place it on the hook or stem of the feeder, no more than the size of a Pea.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is what I use You can buy it at a bird store

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

I like HummZingers, but the ants can attack if the moat dries out or if debris falls on the moat and creates a bridge. I've had a few occasions when it appears that the ants were simply able to overwhelm the moat, marching over the bodies of their floating comrades. The ants bother us more than they do the hummingbirds.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 12:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Regarding ants, well there are different approaches, but I have found one hanger to be the best I have ever used made by Turners Hangers Co. You can send $2.00 money order or check to JT, Box 144, Earl Park, IN 47942.

And like Alan suggest, put just a dab of vaseline right at the point of contact with where the feeder is hung. The ants won't go through the vaseline, but you don't want to use too much because you don't want it to get on the hummers.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Might the hummer enjoy an ant/protien snack? I know that bugs make up a major portion of their diet. Perhaps the ants are a bonus for them at the feeder? Any experience or knowledge about this?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
standard65(z6/7 nashville)

linked below is the catalog page for bob sargent's hummer/bird study group. scroll down to the ant trap. that's the one I use. I'll have to try turner's, lt. I actually made one from the red lid of a plastic spray bottle. poked a hole through the center with a heated ice pick, threaded wire through the hole, dripped candle wax on the top and bottom to seal it waterproof. it actually works! nectar quality and feeder cleanliness improved noticeably after installing ant traps.

I don't know if they eat ants or not, jd. I always see the phrase "soft-shelled insects" when reading about their diet, and I think of ants as having a hard exoskeleton. ?

nice set-up, sarah, that looks cool and effective.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 11:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I actually did the same as standard but used the red plastic lid from a jar of Maxwell House Instant coffee. Took the cardboard insert out, poked a hole in the middle, threaded the feeder hanger wire through, sealed with some clear-drying aquarium-grade silicone sealant, filled with water, and voila!

1 Like    Bookmark   July 19, 2005 at 12:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One year I bought an ant guard that worked for most of the summer. But then I read last year somewhere about putting oil on the hanger and outside upper part. Did that and it worked great! I did have to reapply after each rinse and wash but it worked. For whatever reason this year, the ants have stayed off all of my feeders.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 10:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

This is the time of year that Californians suffer the onslaught of tiny Argentinian ants. Yesterday I hung a fresh HummZinger from a shepherd's hook and watched as the ants came down the hanger and overwhelmed the ant moat (which was full) and take over the feeder.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 11:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
standard65(z6/7 nashville)

how about that, curtis. I don't know if we get those argentinian ants here, but I've seen large red ants make a bridge with their bodies right across the moat on the hummzinger, and take the feeder.
I forgot the link in my earlier post to bob sargent's HSBG catalog page. scroll down to the ant trap.

Here is a link that might be useful: hummer/bird study group catalog page

    Bookmark   July 23, 2005 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
princesspeony(z5 Illinois)

I've tried all the natural ways,including the vaseline and chalk lines that ants won't cross. My problem is with the big black ants (huge). Nothing has worked except for this year when I hung an insecticidal containing plastic container with a hook (made by Perky Pet) right above the feeder. The problem is I'm not sure if this is also repelling the hummingbirds. My problem is that I only got the hummers towards the end of the season on their way back, but now I have seen at least 4 or 5 sightings almost at the hummingbird feeder. I don't know if they didn't like the insectcide or if the presence of a thistle feeder nearby that was being taken over by mourning doves frighened them. My yard would be "Hummingbird Heaven" if they would stop long enough. I've planted almost everything possible. Not to mention that my front fence on the side yard is just dripping with Trumpet vines right now and that always attracted them. But right now we are experiencing drought and it's been unseasonally Hot. I'm not sure what factor to blame . Anyway has anyone used these insecticidal additions to your feeders and do they make a difference to the hummingbirds? They are purported to be safe but that's from their company! I know there are a lot of different facts coming into play here,but the most important thing is the use of the Perky Pet product,but I would still love to hear from other people about their experiences.****princesspeony****

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 5:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

You probably don't have Argentinian ants in Tennessee. Argentinian ants came to Calif. many years ago in imported potted plants. You might never have thought that anything about ants was "good," but Argentinian ants have displaced native ants in some habitats, adversely affecting, specifically, the Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum), which feeds on native ants. Argentinian ants are well adapted to suburban gardens, easily enduring the artificial flood and drought cycle of irrigation systems. Because of their small size, they can enter homes through the smallest openings, invading to escape heat in summer and chilly nights in winter. The main problem is during summer, when their populations explode and their scouts go everywhere in search of food.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wanna borrow my ant hammer? :o)

Actually, last year I used Vicks vapor rub and dabbed that around the hooks that held my larger feeders...and also smeared that under my porch eave around the area where the hooks are screwed into the wood.

For a while there I had some big ants that would literally drop onto the jar (when the jar is screwed into the saucer it would then be upside down and they'd land on the top of the bottom) does that make sense? Oh well, I've included a photo I took last year to show the feeders. Anyway...I had to smear Vicks onto the jar 'bottom' as keep the ants from landing on it. The ants learned to keep off the feeders...and the smell didn't affect the hummie activity.

DISCLAIMER: I NO LONGER USE RED NECTAR - This was a photo from last April before I knew better :o)

By the way...there is a hummie perched on feeder 1, 2 and 4...with another getting ready to land on the feeder 3 :o) I had a dozen of these feeders hung up from the backporch eave last year :o)

~ Cat

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amazing your setup is a bit like Franks. Sarah

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah...but I don't get the gazillion hummies Frank does :o(

I was lucky enough to get about 30 last year though :o)

...and with all the windchimes and suncatchers I have hanging from my porch eaves too...I was able to get lots of nice photos of the hummies perched on them and guarding their feeders.

~ Cat

    Bookmark   July 26, 2005 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flutterbug(NH 5b)

I bought the hummzinger fancy after reading about it being good to keep away ants. I have had the large black ants floating in it. I think they can swim right across the little moat. I am going to try vaseline, hopefully that works.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 3:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

There are deeper ant moats available and they even work for the big carpenter ants which is what I had a problem with. I have included links for two ant moats. Just scroll down the page to see them. Ant moats are still the safest method of detering ants.

Here is one that is available from Wild Birds Forever
Plastic Ant Moat

This one is similar but made from cast aluminum from the Hummingbird Study Group
Cast aluminum Ant Guard


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I hang my feeder on a long wire (over 10') from a tree branch. I rarely notice any ants on the feeder. It seems that distance limts the exposure to the scouts. The feeder was formerly attached to the porch standard, where it was constantly covered with ants which overwhelmed the moat.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I live in central Maine. The same large black ants that like my peonies also seem to love my hummingbird feeder. They don't seem to bother hummers at all. I'm thinking of just letting them be, although it is inconvenient to clean them out of the feeder base when I'm changing the nectar.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made an ant guard out of a spray paint can lid and a piece of course copper wiring. Take a piece of course copper wiring cut about 8 inches in length, Take the spray paint lid and cut a hole in the center to thread the wire through, Bend both ends of the wire into a hook. Use a small amount of silicone to seal around the hole in the lid. Put cooking oil in the center cup. This works great and is fun to make and no more ants!!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jobird(z6 Ky)

It is easy to make your own:

Here is a link that might be useful: Ant moat plans

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
juneroses Z9a Cntrl Fl

I solved my ant problem by hanging my feeder using a length of 20 pound fishing line. - June

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lagatella(Central Virgini)

Duct Tape......yup you read right, duct tape turned inside out and wraped around the pole. You do need to change it after a heavy rain but it works great.

I tried the vaseline, guess Virginia ants don't mind getting their feet greasy.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 2:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

What happens if a hummer should get too close to the duct tape or even when they are chasing one another and one gets bumped into the duct tape? I would feel horrible if I found a hummer or any bird for that matter with its feathers stuck to the tape. I use homemade ant moats using the lid from spray cans, or the small cans of canned veggies and fruit. They work like a charm and once I hang them I don't have any ant problems. I get the large carpenter ants as well as the ants that live in sugar maple trees and the ant moats really work. The only problem that I have with them is that the goldfinches like to perch on the hook and drink all the water so I do have to refill them every day or two.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


My Humzinger is pole mounted. Even with the ant moat, the ants still got into the feeder. Immediately below the feeder, I wrapped the pole in the sticky tape used for wrapping tree trunks against gypsy moth caterpillars. I made sure the tape was not too wide, just about 1/2" wide. It works great and is not wide enough for a hummer to get stuck to

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have always boasted about my Artline glass-jar hummingbird feeder with rope hanger that I NEVER had ants on, in all the YEARS I've used it. Well, when I got out my feeder this spring and hung it up, two weeks later (no hummies yet) the "medium-sized brown" ants got on it and into the holes. GRRRRR the feeder is in the same place as it always is, hanging by its little rope on a hook under the edge of my back porch.

I took it down and blew all the ants off and out of it, and emptied it out. I really want to put it back up, the hummies will be here very soon if they're not already, but I need a sure solution for keeping the ants off the rope & feeder.

I have read that oils and Vaseline are no-nos because they could get on birds' feathers and be very hard for the birds to clean off. But I suppose a dab at the top of the rope where it meets the hook would be out of the way of the bird....?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 12:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I dont know why but I have never been bothered by ants on my feeders at least not to the point I noticed any problem and mine are the simple kind , no ant moats or any other kind of deterance. Being the territorial creatures hummers are , im surprised they dont make a feast of the ants. But if your feeders are covered with ants, it may be another cause. Ants are attracted to sweetness, are your feeders leaking, or the kind that spills at the slightest breeze? I would try placing them in a different area for a while or put out a bowl of some kind of icky sweet concoction to draw the ants away from your feeders.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardenman(z7 MD)

I gave up on ant moats years ago. I think I've found the perfect solution. I hang my feeders from a couple of feet of nylon string and smear some "Tanglefoot" on the string with a twig. The stuff is like thin caramel (and as sticky). The ants never get past it and it last a couple of months. I have a small tub I bought from a garden supply catalog, but it may be available in hardware/gardening stores. It seems to have an indefinate shelf life. I've never seen any feathers on it and birds never seem to try to perch on the string.

I should mention that ants will find an unprotected feeder no matter where it is hung. I have one feeder hanging from the eave of my roof. Without the Tanglefoot (sometimes I forget), I've seen a line of ants coming down from the roof to get at the nectar. If an ant finds a feeder by crawling up the desert of 10' of vinyl siding, across a shingled roof and down under the eave, no spot is safe from them. LOL!

So try finding some Tanglefoot.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mine are hung from a hook screwed into a tree.
I sprayed Pam on the bark around it.
4 months, so far so good.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

Joe and Yardman,
I have to strongly disagree with the use of these two products. Both are potentially unsafe around hummers the sticky tanglefoot and pam can get on their feathers. In fact any sticky or oily substance can be a hazard for hummers and other birds and all the Hummer experts advise to stay away from them. This is why I use ant moats filled with plain water and I don't have to worry that I am useing something that could be potentially harmful to the hummers or any other birds that may come in close contact to a feeder.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made an ant "repeller" out of a red spray paint can lid. Punch a hole inside the formed "moat" and fill the outside with water. If I could figure out how to send a picture I would.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 7:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Its really easy if you have a digital camera. You will need to host your photos online to a place and able to rezize to fit , I think 100kb on this forum. Most people use photobucket as a host and they make it easy for you to resize your photos. Under your photos there will be 3 lines or links , use the middle one , just copy and past it into the text body of your post right under your message.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used to have a problem when I used the bottle feeders. But ever since I purchased the Perky Pet Oasis ($10 at Lowes), I haven't seen one ant at my feeders. I have both hanging on shepherds hooks, and I rarely remember to fill up the built in ant moat with water. I do have loads of ant nests in my beds, carpenter ants everywhere, and a bunch of peonies that get covered with ants. Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 10:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardenman(z7 MD)

Penny1947 - I've been watching my hummers for at least 15 years. Not one single hummer has every come in contact with the sticky string. I have never seen a single hummer feather on the string.

If you observe your hummers carefully, you will see that they don't approach the feeders like finches or other birds do (meaning they do NOT land on the hangers to take their turns feeding.

Hummers do not grab the hangers.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 3:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

I know they don't grab the hangers but when they are furiously chasing one another they can and do run into things and they could run into the hanger. Not only hummers but other birds could come in contact with it.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardenman(z7 MD)

Still, after years, I've never seen any signs that hummers or other birds have had any trouble with sticky string on a hummer feeder.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 3:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is something (I believe I remember correctly) called Tangle Foot and you would use it at the base of the post your hummingbird feeder is one. Vaseline probably won't hold up in real hot weather.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 3:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yardenman(z7 MD)

Tanglefoot is what I use on the stings holding the hummer feeders.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bird_nutty(SW conn)

Here's a very interesting page from the Hummingbird Society giving advice on dealing with ants as well as bees and bats!

Gotta find something that works.... Gonna try the oil approach.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 5:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
novice60(8 ATL)

Flowergardenlady, I make my moat the exact same way but I use water. Have not tried oil. Will the hummers get into the oil, you think? I have not had the ants this year yet, but have the red wasps. Help Ya'll!!!!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 12:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
penny1947(z6 WNY)

The hummers may or may not get into the oil but chickadees drink the water from ant moats and the oil isn't good for them either. I use plain tap water and it works like a charm. I just had to hang up my ants moats this week since the darn things had found the feeders. It is interesting to watch the ants try to get past the water to get to the feeder. They come marching up or down as the case may be and then quickly retreat when they discover the water.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello to all:

I used to have problems with Ants on my Hummingbird feeders, but not anymore. I change the Nectar(made from white Sugar only)every 3 or 4 days. After I have clean the feeder really well, and it has been filled, before I turn it over I spray the yarn that supends the feeder with OFF. The yarn soaks it up and it lasts for days and repells all insects.
I use Olive Green Yarn to stake my tall plants and to hang
the feeders with.I am never bothered with Ants now.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After two years I finally have a hummingbird at my feeder. Only one that I see (I think it's a female as its a yellow-green color). I've read all the helpful hints and tips about making the sugar water and keeping the nectar fresh and the feeder clean. My feeder hangs in a dogwood tree. I never noticed ants until this year, but their seem to be armies climbing up and down the tree and they get into the feeder. The tree is out in the yard so I'm not concerned about the ants getting in the house or anything and I always use the hose to wash out the feeder before I bring it inside for a good cleaning. What I'm wondering though is, will the ants damage the tree?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The ants shouldn't damage the fact, ants don't really hurt trees in general, even carpenters. Ants usually only invade trees when the trees are dying, which is simply Mother Nature doing her job. And in your case, they're just marching across it to get to the sugar water. But the ants may deter your hummers from coming...consider some of the great tips above to keep them away from your nectar.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 3:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have finally found an effective way keeping the ants away from the hummingbird feeders for good.
I am Engineer and Inventor, I too have tried about anything over the years, but the small stubborn ants always found a way.
I have intended to make some additional R&D then find a manufacture and distributor who want to be part of this Invention.
Ps. I have only a prototype which works great, and it was not any easy fix,
You can send me a massage if you are interested in partnership or would like more information; however I need for you to sign an NDA.
My Email is

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Like Joe , I have had some luck with home made moats , but do dry out quickly for me...also with a fully filled moat of water , I have observed larger carpenter ants that will float across it till the reach the pole its on.Some make it,some dont,the ones that dont create a nice bridge for the smaller ones to cross rather easily ...invation is complete.
In a fit of rage,I went to a larger moat "planters peanuts cap" for now it is working and does not dry out so quickly.
I will post pics of the setup when they are uploaded.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Crap the screw on large peanuts cap is blocked by my bulked door , but there sits who I have named "radar" gaurding his feeder , and will sit there for over 30 minutes most nights.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To stop ants we have hung the feeder from a fly paper strip. They don't even try anymore and the birds are happy.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never use vaseline or oils near where hummingbirds feed. If you hang your feeder from a shepards hook simple wash done the hook with white vinegar. Then leave a small cup filled with sugar water at the base where you planted the shepards hook. Clean and fill it each time you clean and fill the feeder and you will find the ants will leave your feeder alone.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

also please do NOT use the flypaper suggestion that is hopelesslly stupid. I am a wildlife rehabber and that stuff is pure misery to any unfortunate critter to get stuck in and have had to do my best to untangle hummingbirds from it several times.. always the fragile hummer loses~ probably some idiot read this post and tried it. sheesh ~

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Concerning ants getting on the feeders. Would you like some fun and watch the ants go berserk because they can no longer get to the feeder. Here is what I did last season. [what happens is when your feeder drips on the ground ants find that sweet stuff]. I made this at home had all the ingrediants except the cup which can be found on large containers of laundry detergent.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used a plastic bundt cake pan filled with water to keep the ants away. Just place shepard`s hook in the center of pan on the ground, and seal the pan to the pole.(I used duct tape) Works great!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all of the great suggestions! I'm going with the vaseline first and see what happens!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 7:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although if you use vaseline and have those huge black ants they will go over the vaseline laughing at you as they go. Either get a feeder with a built in moat or buy some moats separate to hang above the feeder.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just started getting carpenter ants in my feeder and then no hummingbirds! Has anyone tried used coffee grounds at the base of the shepherds hook pole? I had success in keeping them out of the house when spread around the house's founation.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 1:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am going crazy here! I do not know what to do,I am at a loss....Kept the ant moat filled....didn't work! Tried vaseline about a 1/4 of the way up the shepards hook...didn't work!I have those really tiny ants that you can barely see.I went to clean my Humzinger this morning and they were all over the sugar water,drinking it up! That was bad enough...when I took it in the laundry room at the utility sink to wash it ,I took the top off and there must have been at least 3 zillion of them underneath the lid that you can't see(on the inside).How in the heck did I get sooo many of them??? I beleive they can swim! Maybe, a wider moat would work,would do you think??HHHHEEEELLLLLPPPPPP!!! PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My interpretation of a moat to stave off marauding ants...I have used a Test Titan� Mechanical Test Plug (4â³) which I disassembled allowing me to modify just two of the pieces very slightly, then reassembled in a different configuration. So far the design has worked wonderfully!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 2:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i found using 8 lb test fishing line does the trick for the ants with a dab of vaseline.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Voila, solved our ant hummingbird rivalry. Our feeder is hanging from a 2' 3/4" x 1 1/2 wide wood board. Hook in the end and the feeder hanging from that. Knot in the hook fairly large.
I was sitting in my shop contemplating something I might use to keep the ants away. Grease? no would melt. Gave it some more thought, wheel bearing grease melts a 450 degrees. Further research revealed ants and hummingbirds stay inside at that temperature. I put wheel bearing grease on the stick and around the knot holding the feeder. Doesn't take a lot just spread around the stick, all four sides in a couple of places with a pop sickle stick and a dab around the know holding the feeder. No ants 5 days now.
Semper Fi

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 2:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can buy one of those sticky mouse traps (when a mouse gets on it, they can't get off). Use a screw driver to put some of the sticky stuff on the line or shepherd's crook (I use about an inch worth) of the feeder. Like everything else, it only works for awhile, but while it works, it works well. But beware, it's really sticky! !

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mehitabel(z6 MO)

What's to stop a hummer from getting trapped on the sticky trap? They're certainly no bigger or stronger than a mouse.

I don't think a sticky trap is really a good idea. Please don't use one.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Please don't use the sticky traps or yellow sticky cards outdoors, they aren't meant for outdoor use. Very dangerous for the hummingbirds, or any small bird. Hummingbirds eat small insects. The traps catch those and the birds are attracted to the 'stuck' insects, risking the possibility of becoming stuck themselves.

If ants are an issue in your area, buy the appropriate type feeder, add an ant moat if one is available for the feeder you have, or - don't feed. The humzinger saucer style work for me, I've never found an insect or bee in any of three, other than the occasional gnat.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 2 feeders on a tree branch that got infested with ants recently. I read that ants don't like lemon or orange rinds in an article about keeping them out of the house. So I decided to try them. I put a lemon rind on the branch, under the string, and that seems to be working. I also sprayed Pam Canola Oil on the branch where it comes out from the trunk. All seems to be fine and the hummingbirds haven't stopped their frequency at the feeders.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ants are pretty dumb in the long run. Once ants find a feeder I put up an ant moat for a few days. Once the ants realize they cant get there they quit trying. I end up usually taking the moat down and ants dont come back.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 11:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I read all of the suggestions and I am pretty sure I have the answer. I have two feeders. One is hung with fishing cord and NO ants enter the feeder. The other is wire and ants do enter. My problem ants are the very small ones, so I am not sure if this would be the solution for large ants. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not sure if I posted this yet or not. Yet another use for Skin So Soft. What isn't it used for???? I used some of the advice I found on this site but my ants were too smart I guess. I had made the moat on string with fishing line but they figured that out. After my husband was taking off labels with the Skin So Soft and complaining about how slippery it is, I had an "eureka moment" (I'm tire of that expression) Anyway, here's what I did. I coated the string only with Skin So Soft. I've found ants in the moat in large numbers and over the last week or so they aren't even trying to get in anymore. Give it a shot. It works!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with the wildlife Rehab. person. PLEASE, Please Do Not use thin wire that the hummers could run into when they are chasing each other, or chemicals. The Vaseline,oils, Pam, skin-so-soft, sticky traps, duct tape etc, have to go!. The ant moats really do work. If you do not want to purchase one from a Bird Store like or or a local one then please make your own. Join a Local Bird Group in your City and learn all you can. Hummingbirds get killed from hawks, storms at night throwing them off a tiny branch and throwing them into a tree, building, etc. Snakes, possums, lizards also eat them their babies.and eggs at night. Some of them do not even make it out of the Torpid State they have to go into at night just to lower their own Metabolic rate. They have no sense of smell. Red-dye is also dangerous for them. Stick to the 1 cup plain white sugar mix to 4 cups water. No honey or Stevia or other sugar substitute. It can also harm and kill them. Using a stronger white sugar mix can give them Liver Problems also killing them. In N.C. I only had to change my solution every 2 days but here in Texas with the 3 digit temperatures I have to change my solution 2-3 times a day..It was turning cloudy that fast. I almost took my feeders down this year because of all the up keep even after boiling it. I always boil my Solution for 1-2 minutes, then cool it down before serving it to them and refrigerate the leftovers. If you need to cool Solution down really fast after boiling it you can place your pot into a Large Stainless Steel bowl with Ice water and set a timer to check it after about 5 minutes. One of those Bird on-line stores makes a clear ant-moat that you do not have to refill as often which is nice but if it falls to the ground in a bad storm like mine did it will crack. I prefer the red open ones. If you use the open ones you may have to refill with water every day,but do not fill it all the way up to the edge as that helps the ants use their bodies as a bridge so the other ants can cross over each other. They cannot do that with this clear one as the water is inside the moat and if the ants try they drown inside. Also, you have to keep tree branches and anything else the ants can use trimmed back from feeders and ant moats. If you have an ant problem never use the hummingbird feeders that have the suction cups to adhere to your outside window. That is just setting yourself up for an invasion. It is better to have plants that they are attracted to and make your yard a habitat for them. It is a job to do all the maintenance, cleaning etc. If the ants bother you that much better to take them down than hurt them. Also, please use the Bird Decals on your outside windows as many birds including hummers like woodpeckers, chickadee's, titmouse only see reflections of trees, leaves on our glass and many a bird has run into window's snapping their necks or giving themselves a Fatal Brain Injury. They have enough preditor's they do not need humans added to the list. Please do everything you can to protect the hummingbirds!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

princesspeony mentioned hooks with repellent. I bought some similar at Home Depot years ago, like an inverted cup with a foam pad inside. They worked great for me, no more ants. The hummingbirds didn't mind. When they got old I sprayed a little Off on the foam pad.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zzackey(8b GA)

I bought an ant guard two years ago at Lowe's for just a few bucks. It was only supposed to last for one year and it lasted for two. It goes between the feeder and the hang up hook thingey.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 9:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a moat but the little sugar ants are getting across it. I am wondering if I could put a drop of dishwashing detergent in the water to keep them from swimming across. I am trying to think of something that isn't toxic.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 9:27AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Can you recommend the best hummingbird feeder? I have...
Squirrel problems
I have several resident squirrels who seem to be attracted...
What early annuals should I get?
What are early blooming annuals hummingbirds like?...
First rufous of the season just visited...
What a treat. I just looked up to see the first rufous...
Hummingbirds in Florida?
Ok, I've lived in Florida for 20 years now and have...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™