How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders?

How To Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders

In my experience as an avid birdwatcher and beekeeper, I’ve often grappled with keeping bees at bay from hummingbird feeders. I believe it’s a delicate dance of respecting the needs of both creatures.

Once, while adjusting a feeder’s position to reduce sunlight exposure, I marveled at how such a simple shift dissuaded bees without affecting the hummers’ visits. My expertise in understanding bee behavior has taught me that strategic feeder placement and design are key.

By creating a garden where both bees and birds can thrive separately, I’ve found a harmonious solution that respects the foraging patterns of these fascinating beings.

Key Takeaways

  • Bees are attracted to the sweet nectar and bright colors of flowers, including the color red often used in hummingbird feeders.
  • Placing feeders in shaded areas can make them less appealing to bees.
  • Opt for red saucer feeders with bee guards or nectar guard tips to block bees based on weight.
  • Regularly cleaning the hummingbird feeder with hot water and vinegar, and thoroughly drying it, can prevent the sticky nectar that attracts bees.

Understanding Bee Attraction

An image of bees buzzing around a bright red hummingbird feeder surrounded by bee-repellent plants, with a clear, bee-free zone where hummingbirds can easily access the feeder's nectar ports

To effectively deter bees from your hummingbird feeders, it’s crucial to understand what attracts them in the first place. Bee attraction is primarily driven by their quest for sweet nectar, similar to what they gather from flowers and nectar sources in nature.

Bees are attracted not only to the nectar from flowers but also to the bright colors that signal a food source. They’re particularly attracted to red, a hue often used in hummingbird feeders to lure in the birds. However, bees prefer easily accessible nectar and can overwhelm feeding ports designed for hummingbirds, turning into unwanted visitors.

To minimize this, opt for feeders with long, narrow tubes and avoid those with yellow inserts. Place these feeders in shaded areas to make them less appealing to unwanted insects like bees.

Effective Feeder Modifications

An image of a hummingbird feeder with a moat-style ant guard, bee-resistant ports, and a wrap-around perch, surrounded by vibrant flowers but no bees in sight

Understanding bee attraction highlights the importance of modifying your hummingbird feeders to create a less inviting environment for these insects.

To deter insects, opt for a red saucer feeder, which, with its broad design, minimizes dripping and is less appealing to ants.

Select feeders with bee guards or nectar guard tips, as these allow hummingbirds to feed while automatically blocking bees based on weight.

Avoid yellow inserts; bees are drawn to this color, confusing it with flowers.

If bees persist, consider adding a decoy feeder to lure them away.

Regularly clean your hummingbird feeder to prevent the sugary scent from attracting unwanted visitors.

For additional prevention, move the feeder periodically; a change in location can disrupt established foraging patterns of bees.

Alternative Solutions for Bees

A detailed image of a hummingbird feeder with a moat barrier, surrounded by bee-repellent plants, and a separate bee feeder in the background, all set in a vibrant garden scene

Exploring alternative solutions is essential when traditional methods fall short in keeping bees away from hummingbird feeders. Employing strategies to keep bees and other insects like wasps at bay, without harming the bee population, can be a balancing act. Consider establishing a Pollinator Garden, which includes bee balm and other attractive plants, to divert their attention. Natural Ways to Keep bees occupied can significantly reduce their presence around hummingbird feeders.

Saucer Type FeederLess appealing to bees due to design complexity.
Narrow Tube FeedersChallenge bees’ access while accommodating hummingbirds.
Bee GuardsPorts that deter bees through weight-sensitive mechanisms.
Avoid YellowBees are drawn to yellow; thus, eliminating it deters them.

Implement these alternative methods to keep them away from your hummingbird feeders effectively.

Maintenance and Feeder Hygiene

An image of sparkling clean hummingbird feeders being carefully scrubbed and rinsed by hands wearing gloves, with bees conspicuously absent in a flower-filled garden setting

While clean feeders are crucial for hummingbird health, they also play a significant role in reducing bee attraction, as bees are drawn to the scent of fermented nectar. To maintain a clean hummingbird feeder and ensure feeder hygiene, take note of the following:

  1. Weekly Cleaning: Disassemble the feeder and use hot water mixed with white vinegar to eliminate mold and spoilage, both of which can attract bees and harm hummingbirds.
  2. Thorough Drying: After cleaning, dry the feeder completely. Residual moisture can mix with sugar water, creating a sticky, sugary nectar that’s irresistible to bees.
  3. Regular Inspection: Check bee guards and feeding ports for wear and tear. Faulty components may leak hummingbird nectar, inadvertently keeping bees around your feeders.

Adhering to these steps supports nectar freshness and deters bees, preserving a safe, clean dining experience for your hummingbirds.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make My Hummingbird Feeder Bee Proof?

To bee-proof your hummingbird feeder, choose a saucer-style with bee guards, provide alternative food sources, keep it clean, apply natural repellents, and relocate it away from flowers and direct sunlight.

Does Peppermint Oil Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders?

Yes, peppermint oil can deter bees due to its strong scent. You’ll want to mix it with water, spray it sparingly around your feeder, and reapply regularly to maintain its repellent effect.

Will Vicks Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders?

You might find Vicks VapoRub can repel bees due to its strong scent. Apply it sparingly around your feeder and observe; however, ensure it doesn’t overwhelm the hummingbirds’ delicate respiratory systems.

How Do I Keep Wasps and Hornets Away From My Hummingbird Feeder?

To deter wasps and hornets, choose feeders without yellow, regularly clean them, and hang in shaded areas. Consider bee-proof designs with narrow ports and offer alternative sweet solutions away from your feeders.


In summary, you can successfully deter bees from your hummingbird feeders by opting for saucer designs, utilizing bee guards, avoiding yellow, and placing feeders in shaded areas.

Offering bees their own sugar sources and maintaining a clean, bee-repellent feeder environment, such as using vinegar or citrus peels, further discourages their presence.

With these targeted strategies, you’ll provide a peaceful feeding haven for hummingbirds while coexisting with the local bee population.