Not much spoils a lovely outdoor retreat as quickly & silently as an invasion of ants. Even when they are only “harmless” sugar ants, the seemingly unending stream of tiny pests is frustrating and disruptive. Unfortunately, ants are especially attracted by anything sweet. Things such as spilled lemonade, cookie crumbs, and – hummingbird nectar.
How many times have you walked out on to your porch, looking forward to admiring a hummingbird or two on your beautiful feeder, only to find several hundred ants crawling all up and down it? Worse yet, not only are the ants a bother to you, the hummingbirds won’t come near them, either! And to add insult to injury, then you have to clean out the feeder (because ants can find ways into even water-tight feeders, it seems!). Doesn’t that sound like (or remind you of) a precious hour wasted in a most un-enjoyable way? There are far more important things to do in life than clean ants out of a hummingbird feeder.
Is the only way to avoid ants, avoiding feeders? I propose that is not a necessary conclusion. There are actually a number of different ways to enjoy displaying your feeder and admiring your hummingbirds without worry of a sudden invasion of ants. Because no one has time for that.
If you have a hanging feeder in one of our spiral lines, add an ant moat between your feeder and the chain you hang the feeder from for a super easy fix. You can find many different models of ant moats for an affordable price on Amazon here. For window feeders, let me suggest just several of the many different ways to deter ants:
1. Peppermint Oil
This is an easy, natural way to deter ants anywhere, actually! If you already have peppermint oil in your home, just add 10 drops of peppermint oil to a small glass spray bottle (like this one), add a pinch of Epsom salt (helps the oil and water to mix). Carefully close and then shake the bottle to mix the ingredients, and then spray your feeder down, as well as the beams of your porch, or whatever your feeder is suspended from.
If you’re looking for quick, cheap solutions, Vaseline is the place to start! You can find travel-size tubs at Walmart for $0.99; and believe me, a little goes a long way! Simply coat the hanger of your feeder with Vaseline, and the ants shouldn’t be able to move through the greasy layer, down to the feeder itself. Remember, a little goes a long way!
3. Avon Skin-So-Soft
Yes, as strange as it sounds, this is the main method we have recommended since Sweet Feeders began. The smell of this spray deters ants, while it doesn’t bother hummingbirds! Another bonus: wasps don’t like the smell of Skin-So-Soft, either!
We hope these tips are helpful! Keeping ants out of your feeder saves you time to focus on what matters, and that’s what we want for you! Also, stay tuned…we are working to develop a accessory to our feeders that has so far been the best deterrence yet for ants! Look for it to hit our shop in the next few weeks!
Update on 08/25/21:
Our new favorite ant repellant for window feeders is Sapphire Labs Nectar Fortress Natural Ant Repellent. You can find this all-natural and bird-safe, ant repellent on Amazon (linked above) or at most hardware stores. Just apply a thin barrier with the gel all the way around the small head of the suction cup, just below where the copper wire is attached. Avoid getting the gel on copper, as it will cause the copper to tarnish. Be sure to apply to both ends, for both suction cups! Each application should last for several months!
Born and raised a world traveler, Caitlynn has settled in Cleburne to continue doing what she loves – investing in her family and community while capturing beauty with her camera and her writing. Caitlynn also has a background in customer service, administrative support, and sales. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Ryan.