Want to attract more hummingbirds to your backyard but find that pesky bees keep swarming around your feeders? Fear not, because there are several tips and tricks you can try to deter bees and keep your feathered friends happy. Bees are naturally drawn to hummingbird feeders because of the sweet nectar, but they are not part of a hummingbird’s usual diet. By providing alternative food sources, using bee-proof feeders, and taking other preventative measures, you can successfully attract bees away from your feeders and ensure that your hummingbirds have a peaceful dining experience. From eliminating nests to periodic feeder movements, this article covers all the tricks of the trade for keeping bees at bay. So, get ready to welcome more hummingbirds to your garden and enjoy the beauty of their graceful presence.
Tips for Keeping Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbird feeders are a delightful way to attract these beautiful creatures to your yard and enjoy their aerial acrobatics. However, it is not uncommon for bees to also be attracted to the sweet nectar inside the feeders. While bees play an important role in pollination, their presence can sometimes deter hummingbirds from visiting the feeders. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for keeping bees away from hummingbird feeders.
One of the first steps in deterring bees from hummingbird feeders is to eliminate any nearby bee nests. Bees are naturally attracted to areas where they can build their hives, so it’s important to locate and remove any existing nests in your yard. This can be done by calling a professional beekeeper or pest control service who can safely relocate the bees.
To prevent bees from forming nests in the future, it’s essential to seal off potential nesting spots. Inspect the eaves, crevices, and other outdoor structures where bees might build their hives. Seal any openings with caulk or other suitable materials to make these areas less attractive to bees.
Providing Bees with Alternative Food Sources
One effective way to discourage bees from visiting hummingbird feeders is to provide them with alternative food sources. By offering bees another source of nectar, they may be less inclined to compete with hummingbirds for the nectar in the feeders.
Planting bee-friendly flowers in your yard can help divert bees’ attention away from the hummingbird feeders. Choose flowers that bloom at different times throughout the year to ensure a continuous supply of nectar. Some popular bee-friendly flowers include lavender, sunflowers, bee balm, and salvia.
Another way to provide bees with an alternative food source is by installing bee-friendly water sources. Bees need water to survive, and by offering them a separate water station, they may be more likely to leave the hummingbird feeders alone. Place shallow dishes or bird baths filled with water near the flowers to attract bees and keep them hydrated.
Using Bee-Proof Feeders
One of the most effective ways to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders is to use bee-proof feeders. These feeders are specifically designed with mechanisms to prevent bees from accessing the nectar.
Choosing hummingbird feeders with bee guards is an excellent option for keeping bees at bay. Bee guards are small, mesh-like barriers that prevent bees from reaching the feeding ports while still allowing hummingbirds to access the nectar. These guards are typically easy to attach to the feeder and provide a simple yet effective solution to the problem.
In addition to bee guards, using window decals can also deter bees from approaching the feeders. The reflective surface of the decals can confuse and deter bees, preventing them from getting too close to the hummingbird feeders.
Drips from hummingbird feeders can attract bees, as they are naturally drawn to the sweet liquid. To prevent dripping, it’s important to regularly check and adjust the feeder parts.
Inspect the feeder regularly for any signs of wear or damage that may cause leaks. Tighten any loose parts and ensure a secure seal to prevent nectar from dripping out. Additionally, consider using ant moats, which are small reservoirs attached to the feeder that contain water. The moats create a barrier that ants cannot cross, preventing them from reaching the nectar and reducing the chances of attracting bees.
Periodically Moving the Feeders
Bees are highly attracted to familiar food sources, so periodically moving the hummingbird feeders can help deter them. By changing the feeder’s location, bees will spend more time searching for the feeders instead of visiting the same spot repeatedly.
When moving the feeders, it’s essential to find suitable locations that are still easily accessible to hummingbirds. Consider placing the feeders near trees or shrubs where hummingbirds can rest between feedings. Additionally, rotating the feeder positions every few days can further confuse and deter bees from locating the nectar.
Choosing Red Feeders
Bees are naturally attracted to the color yellow, so choosing red or orange feeders can help reduce their interest. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, are attracted to these colors and are more likely to find the feeders. By opting for red feeders, you can increase the chances of hummingbirds visiting while minimizing bee activity.
It’s important to understand that bees have color preferences based on their natural instincts. The color red is associated with a source of nectar, which appeals to hummingbirds. By selecting feeders in a color bees are less attracted to, you can create a more inviting environment for hummingbirds.
Keeping the Feeders in the Shade
Bees are known to prefer warmer temperatures and sunlight, so keeping the feeders in the shade can help deter them. This is because bees are less likely to visit feeders that are not exposed to direct sunlight.
To shade the feeders, you can use natural or artificial covers. Hanging the feeders under the eaves of your house or placing them under a thick tree canopy can provide adequate shade. Alternatively, you can use umbrellas or shades specifically designed for hummingbird feeders to block out excessive sunlight.
Using Bee Repellents
If other methods are not effective, you can consider using bee repellents to deter bees from hummingbird feeders. There are both commercial and natural repellents available that can help discourage bees from lingering near the feeders.
Commercial repellents specifically formulated for deterring bees can be found at garden supply stores or online. These repellents usually contain substances that bees find unpleasant or are unable to tolerate, effectively keeping them away from the feeders.
Alternatively, there are natural repellents that you can use to deter bees. Certain scents, such as peppermint and lemongrass, can repel bees. You can try placing cotton balls soaked in essential oils near the feeders to create a deterrent effect.
Keeping the Feeders Clean
Regularly cleaning the hummingbird feeders is crucial for both the health of the hummingbirds and deterring bees. Dirty feeders can attract bees and other insects, as well as promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
Establishing a cleaning routine is essential for maintaining the cleanliness of the feeders. Ideally, the feeders should be cleaned every three to four days, or more frequently in warmer weather. Use mild soap and warm water to wash all parts of the feeder, including the feeding ports, and rinse thoroughly.
In addition to regular cleaning, it’s recommended to disinfect the feeders occasionally. A vinegar solution can be used as a natural disinfectant. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and soak the feeder components for about 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with clean water before refilling with fresh nectar.
By following these tips and implementing the suggested strategies, you can create a hummingbird-friendly environment while reducing the presence of bees around your feeders. Remember to be patient, as it may take some time for the desired results to be achieved. Enjoy the beauty and grace of the hummingbirds while keeping bees at bay!