How to keep ants off a hummingbird feeder — experts reveal their top tips

Keep ants off a hummingbird feeder for good with these simple methods

Hummingbird on feeder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Keep your hummingbird feeder pest-free to make the perfect oasis for your feathered friends. 

We asked outdoor experts and pest control pros for their top advice on banishing these pesky insects once and for all. From ant moats to natural deterrents, there are plenty of non-toxic options that won't harm hummingbirds. 

See how to keep the wildlife happy and attract hummingbirds to your backyard.

How to keep ants off a hummingbird feeder for good

There are so many benefits to attracting hummingbirds to your balcony or yard. These impressive creatures are gorgeous to look at and only need a simple nectar solution to feed on. If you've set up a hummingbird feeder in your yard, you may have noticed ants crawling around it. They are attracted to the sugar in the nectar and can quickly overtake a hummingbird feeder. 

It can be tricky to repel the ants without harming the hummingbirds. But just like with pet-friendly pest control ideas, it's possible to combat these insects with natural methods.

Take a look at our expert-approved ideas and our favorite products to help solve the issue. 

Prices were correct at the time of publishing.

Hummingbird on feeder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Water moats

One of the easiest ways to get rid of ants is simply with water. Ant moats are small devices you can purchase or create yourself and attach to a hummingbird feeder. 

"This is actually regarded as one of the simplest and environmentally safest ways on how to keep ants away from the feeders. The rationale for this enclosure to be of physical nature is that it is a trap that contains water that the ants cannot cross. You can get a commercial ant moat in most of the garden stores or do the homemade ant moat by fixing a shallow dish of water to the feeder’s hanger," says Nathan Thorne, a professional gardening expert and CEO of Handyflowers.

You can pick up this Wildlife Accessories ant trap from Amazon as it's loved by customers, with 4.7 stars and over 1,000 ratings. Shoppers compliment the quality, water capacity, and ease of installation. 

Water moats are also helpful to other types of birds in your yard. "Ant moats are commonly used to create a barrier between your feeder and the pole it's hanging from so ants can't complete the journey. This is an added bonus because it'll attract more birds to your yard to drink out of or bathe in the moat," says Brett Bennett, Director of Operations, PURCOR Pest Solutions.

Natural deterrents

You can also pick up a few natural things that repel pests if you need some extra pest-control power. "The best natural solutions to ants in your hummingbird feeder will come from natural ant repellents like coffee grounds, essential oils, and vinegar," says Brett Bennett, Director of Operations, PURCOR Pest Solutions. This peppermint oil spray is Amazon's #1 bestseller and can be used outside to deter pests.

"I've also had success with sprinkling some coffee grounds or diatomaceous earth at the base of the pole, to keep ants from climbing up in the first place. However, you will need to reapply this every couple of days for the best results," says Brett. We like this Garden Safe Diatomaceous Earth available on Amazon, with over 3,000 ratings.

Fishing line

If you'd like to avoid using any sprays or products, some simple fishing line can get the job done. If you don't have some on hand, this Acejoz fishing line is Amazon's Choice with 4.7 stars and over 8,000 ratings. 

"You can also hang your hummingbird feeder on fishing line to keep the ants away. The smooth surface of the fishing line makes it impossible for ants to climb up the line. Be sure to tie your feeder to the fishing line tightly, and periodically check it to make sure that it doesn't fall," says Nathan.

You can also keep bees away from hummingbird feeders. "To prevent other pests, like bees and wasps, use feeders with trimmed bee guards and clean the feeder at regular intervals so that no sticky substance is left," says Nathan.

You should also keep the placement of your hummingbird feeder in mind. Nathan says, "Never place a feeder near plants known to attract the mentioned bees and wasps. Thus, simply by keeping your feeder clean and in a strategically defined or placed area, you will continually be graced with the presence of the hummingbird without uninvited pests."

Emily Lambe
Deputy Editor

Hey! I’m Emily and I’m the deputy digital editor at Real Homes. I’m here to bring you the latest decor trends, inspirational ideas, informative how tos, the latest celeb homes style and the best budget-friendly buys. I live in a rented apartment, making the most of small spaces and using accent pieces to make things pop. When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing yoga, eating chocolate or working on my skincare routine.