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How to Keep Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders?

Hummingbirds are delightful creatures that add beauty and wonder to any backyard. Many people set up hummingbird feeders to attract them and enjoy their presence. However, it’s not uncommon for bees to also be attracted to these sweet nectar sources, which can create a nuisance and potentially harm the hummingbirds. In this blog, we’ll discuss why it’s essential to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders and provide practical ways to prevent their invasion.

Why Attracting Bees is a Problem?

While bees serve an important role in pollination, their presence around hummingbird feeders can be problematic for both the birds and the humans observing them. Here are a few key reasons why it is crucial to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders:

  1. Food Competition: Bees consume large quantities of nectar, which can lead to a shortage of food for the hummingbirds and negatively impact the their heath and well-being, ultimately discouraging them from visiting your feeder.
  2. Potential Aggression: Bees can become territorial and aggressively defend their food sources, which can intimidate the hummingbirds and deter them from feeding. It also poses a threat to humans, especially those allergic to bee stings.
  3. Safety Concerns for Hummingbirds: Moreover, bees are more substantial in size compared to hummingbirds, and their presence around the feeders can make it difficult for the birds to access the nectar ports. It can be extremely problematic for younger or less experienced hummingbirds, causing them to get injured.
  4. Prevention of Contamination: Bees may introduce contaminants, such as their bodily fluids or pollen, into the hummingbird feeders, resulting in spoiled nectar and the development of harmful bacteria, making the food source unsafe.

6 Ways to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

Method 1: Choose the Right Feeder Design

Select a hummingbird feeder that includes bee guards – small plastic or wire mesh barriers placed around the nectar ports. These guards will prevent bees from gaining access to the nectar while still allowing hummingbirds to feed freely. Or you can choose a feeder with red-colored parts, such as the base or perches. Bees are less attracted to this color, while hummingbirds are naturally drawn to it. This color preference can help deter bees from visiting your feeder.

Method 2: Adjust the Feeder Placement

Place the feeder in a shaded location in your backyard. Bees are more active in direct sunlight, and by providing some shade, you can minimize their attraction to the nectar. Consider placing the feeder closer to obstacles, such as fences or tree branches, that may block the bees’ flight path to the feeder. This setup creates a more challenging route for bees to reach the nectar.

Method 3: Use Natural Bee Repellents or Distractors

Certain essential oils, such as lemongrass, mint or eucalyptus oil, act as natural bee repellents. Dilute a few drops of the oil in water, and spray the mixture around the feeder and nearby areas to discourage bees from approaching. Moreover, to divert bees away from the hummingbird feeder, set up an alternative nectar source away from the main feeding station. This can consist of a simple shallow dish or container filled with a sugar-water mixture. Ensure the concentration is weaker than the nectar in the hummingbird feeder, as bees prefer stronger sugar solutions.

Method 4: Modify the Nectar Solution

You can also keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder by adjusting the sugar-to-water ratio. Reduce the sugar content in the nectar solution to make it less attractive to bees without compromising its appeal to hummingbirds. A ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water is generally effective in deterring bees while still providing sufficient sweetness for hummingbirds. Or you can increase the overall volume of the nectar solution while maintaining the same sugar content. By providing a larger amount of diluted nectar, you create a less concentrated food source that is less appealing to bees.

Method 5: Grow a Pollinator Garden

Growing a pollinator garden is an effective way to distract bees from hummingbird feeders. To create a pollinator garden, start by selecting a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year to ensure a continuous food source for the pollinators. Choose native plants whenever possible, as they are well adapted to the local ecosystem and are more likely to attract and support local pollinators. Also, opt for natural pest control methods or cultivate a garden that attracts other beneficial insects that prey on garden pests.

Method 6: Install a Bee Guard

Bee guards typically consist of a plastic mesh or netting that covers the feeding ports, allowing only the hummingbird’s long beak to access the nectar. The bee guard can easily be attached to the feeder by inserting the feeding ports through the mesh. This prevents bees from reaching the nectar and discourages them from lingering around the feeder. Another option is to make a DIY bee guard using fine mesh or nylon stockings that can be secured around the feeding ports of the feeder.

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