Use an Ant Moat for Your Hummingbird Feeders

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Do ants keep crawling into your sugar water and other bird food? Learn how to use an ant moat for hummingbird feeders to keep these pesky insects away.

hummingbird with ant on billCourtesy John Baker

Keep Ants Off Hummingbird Feeders With Ant Moats

“Ants get into the sugar water in my feeders, keeping the hummingbirds away. What can I do?” asks Margaret Gill of Slaughter, Louisiana. Ants can cause big problems for people who feed hummingbirds. One solution is to attach an ant moat for hummingbird feeders. This is a cup that wraps around the hanger and is filled with plain water, which ants can’t cross. It keeps them from continuing down to the feeder itself.

ant moatVia Etsy.com

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Some of the best hummingbird feeders even come with an ant moat attached or built in. It takes extra effort to keep the moat filled with water, but it allows you to keep attracting hummingbirds and not just ants. We strongly advise against trying to stop ants by wrapping sticky material around the pole—there’s a high risk that birds will get caught in it. And please don’t use pesticides—hummingbirds eat insects as well as sugar water and flower nectar.

Psst—check out 7 natural ways to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders.

Add Ant Moats to Mealworm and Fruit Feeders

“How do I keep ants out of the dried mealworms on my bluebird feeder?” asks Liza Peniston of Augusta, Kansas. We suggest offering the dried mealworms in a tray feeder hung from a metal hook, and adding an ant moat above the feeder. As long as the moat is filled with water, ants won’t cross it. This might require a bit of trial and error, but visit a store that specializes in bird feeding. They’re sure to have some supplies to make this configuration work and prevent the ants from infiltrating your mealworms. This simple solution could also work for grape jelly and fruit bird feeders.

Check out the guide to feeding mealworms to birds.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.