Hummingbird Feeding Formula

Save money and add more hands on enjoyment to your bird watching hobby by making your own hummingbird feeding formula.

Sugar and water are the only two ingredients that you will need to easily make your own homemade hummingbird feeding formula

If you can boil water, you can make homemade hummingbird food.

Hummingbird feeding formula instructions:

The hummingbird feeding formula is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. The sugar to use is ordinary white granulated table sugar that everyone has in their kitchen. Don’t use honey, brown sugar, sugar substitutes or anything else, just plain white table sugar. Any other additives besides white sugar will cause problems with your nectar. So don’t use them.

Add the sugar to a pan of water on your stove and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring to dissolve all the sugar. Don’t boil for longer than 2 minutes or you will boil away too much water and start to change the sugar to water ratio. The 4 to 1 ratio is what will make a mixture that most resembles the nectar that hummingbirds get from actual flowers.

Allow the hummingbird feeding formula to cool then you can add it to your feeder. Don’t add any more nectar than your hummingbirds will use up in a few days time because you will have to change it regularly to keep it fresh. Anything that they don’t drink will just be wasted. Nectar that isn’t used to fill your feeder can be put in the refrigerator and stored for up to 2 weeks.

When to change your homemade hummingbird nectar:

How long your hummingbird feeding formula will stay fresh will depend on the outdoor temperature. The hotter it gets the quicker you hummingbird nectar fill ferment and get moldy.

Watch your homemade hummingbird nectar and if you see it getting cloudy change it. Rinse out with warm water before refilling.

As a general guideline to follow, if the temperature outdoors is below 70, it will last 6 or 7 days. If the temperature is between 70 and 80, it will last 5-6 days. If the temperature is between 80 and 90, it wll last 2 to 4 days.  When the temperature gets into the 90’s you might have to change the nectar every day or 2. It’s better to change it more often to be safe and avoid spoilage. Again, if you watch the nectar you will be able to tell.

If black spots of mold start growing in your hummingbird feeding formula or on your feeder, you have waited much too long. Now you will have to soak your feeder to kill the mold and bacteria.

You can soak the feeder in a mild bleach solution (10% bleach 90% water). Soak the feeder for an hour to kill the mold and bacteria.  To help clean out the mold you may need to buy a set of brushes that will reach inside the feeder and into the feeder holes.
After it’s cleaned rinse it thoroughly with water 3 or 4 times to make sure all of the bleach is rinsed out.

It’s best to start with a feeder that is easy to take apart and will let you get to the hard to reach areas on the inside of the feeder to clean them.

Now that your hummingbird feeding formula is done, you will need to get a feeder that is easy to take apart and clean, and one that will also protect yourhummingbird feeding formula from bees ants and wasps.

My favorite choice of hummingbird  feeders to use with the homemade hummingbird feeding formula recipe is

 HummZinger Ultra hummingbird feederAspects 12oz Hummzinger Ultra With Nectar Guard

 It’s inexpensive and  has several features that  makes it well worth the price.

The HummZinger has patented Nectar guard tips which are flexible membranes attached to the feed ports that prohibit entry from flying insects, but allow Hummingbirds to feed as usual. The HummZinger also has a built in ant moat that will stop crawling insects from getting to the nectar. It also has raised flower ports that divert rain.

This mid-size nectar feeder has a 12 oz. capacity and can be hung or post mounted with hardware provided. It has four feeding ports for hummingbirds and is made of unbreakable polycarbonate. Easy to clean.

For ease of cleaning and protection from bees, wasps and ants, this feeder can’t be beat.


If you already have a hummingbird feeder, and you want to protect it from ants and other crawling insects, the ant moat below will do the job.


ant moatTrap-It Ant Moat for Hummingbird Feeders, Red
Price: $6.99 Buy Now
Product Description
The first and still the best to protect your Hummingbird and Oriole feeder from ants and other crawling insects. Insert between hanger and feeder and fill with  water, providing a barrier to crawling pests. Red color to attract hummingbirds.

One final note……you don’t have to add red food coloring to you hummingbird feeding formula. The red color of your feeder is enough to attract hummingbirds. There is a debate about whether or not the dye in food coloring is harmful to hummingbirds, so don’t use it.

You can hang strips of  red ribbon from your feeder or hang a basket of red flowers next to your feeder to attract hummingbirds. I use red petunias in hanging baskets to attract hummingbirds to my feeder. I also plant red salvia in pots to sit on the ground around the feeder to attract hummingbirds.

Have fun with your hummingbirds and I hope you enjoyed this article about the hummingbird feeding formula.

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