Keeping Wasps Away from Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders are a great addition to any garden, inviting the mesmerizing flutter of these tiny birds. However, they often attract unwanted visitors – wasps.

These insects not only scare away the hummingbirds but also pose a sting risk.

Fortunately, there are effective ways to enjoy hummingbird watching without the nuisance of wasps.

1. Choose the Right Feeder: Start by selecting a feeder designed to deter wasps. Opt for models with bee guards or feeding ports that are too small for wasps to enter. Some feeders also come with a moat that can be filled with water to prevent wasps from reaching the nectar.

2. Maintain Cleanliness: Regularly clean your feeders to prevent the buildup of sweet residues that attract wasps. A clean feeder is less likely to lure these pests. Rinse the feeder with hot water and scrub it thoroughly every few days.

3. Perfect Placement: Place the feeder in a shady spot. Wasps generally prefer sunnier locations, so a feeder in the shade can be less appealing to them while still attractive to hummingbirds.

4. Use Multiple Feeders: Spreading out multiple feeders can help. With more options, hummingbirds won’t be crowded out by wasps congregating at a single feeder. This also dilutes the concentration of wasp activity.

5. Avoid Yellow: Wasps are attracted to the color yellow. Therefore, avoid feeders with prominent yellow parts or decorations. Opt for red feeders instead, as hummingbirds are attracted to red, but wasps are not.

6. Implement Wasp Traps: Set up wasp traps around your garden to capture them before they reach the feeders. Ensure these traps are placed away from the feeders so as not to draw more wasps towards them.

7. Apply Mint Oil: Wasps dislike the smell of mint. Rubbing or spraying peppermint oil around the feeder can help keep them at bay. Ensure the oil doesn’t contaminate the nectar, as it can be harmful to hummingbirds.

8. Adjust the Nectar Recipe: Slightly altering the sugar concentration in your homemade nectar can make it less appealing to wasps. Try using a ratio of 5 parts water to 1 part sugar instead of the standard 4:1 ratio.

9. Create a Distraction: Provide an alternative food source for wasps away from the hummingbird feeders. A small plate of overripe fruit or a sugar-water mixture in a different part of the garden can attract wasps away from the feeders.

10. Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on your feeders to identify and address wasp problems early. Immediate action can prevent wasps from establishing a pattern of visiting the feeder.

With a combination of the right feeder design, strategic placement, regular maintenance, and a few deterrents, you can successfully keep wasps away from your hummingbird feeders.

This approach ensures a peaceful and safe environment for both you and the delightful hummingbirds you wish to attract.