No need running to the store anymore to buy expensive nectar for your hummingbirds. For in about 5 minutes time, just using sugar and water, you can enjoy the satisfaction of making your own hummingbird food mixture.
The only two ingredients that you will need for your hummingbird food mixture are white granulated table sugar and tap water. White granulated table sugar is found in every kitchen, it’s the sugar you put on your breakfast cereal every morning. Don’t use any other kind of sugar, not brown sugar, not any kind of sugar substitute and don’t add honey or red food coloring to your hummingbird food mixture.
Brown sugar and honey will ferment quickly and ruin your hummingbird food mixture. Sugar substitutes have no calories and are of no benefit to hummingbirds. The hummingbirds need the calories in sugar to produce energy to maintain their high metabolism.
Red food coloring in your hummingbird food mixture isn’t necessary either. As long as your feeder is red that will be enough red to attract hummingbirds. If you feel you need more red on your feeder, tie strips of red ribbon to your feeder and let them hang down. There is controversy as to whether or not the red die in food coloring is detrimental to hummingbirds, so why not be on the safe side and not use it in the hummingbird food mixture. I have been making my own hummingbird food mixture for years without adding any red to it and haven’t had any problems attracting hummingbirds.
You can also plant red flowers around the yard or in pots or hanging baskets to help attract hummingbirds. My favorite annual is red salvia and my favorite perennial is bee balm.
Hummingbird food mixture how to:
To make your hummingbird food mixture you will be using a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. This 4 to 1 hummingbird food sugar ratio will closely resemble the sugar to water ratio found in real flower nectar that the hummingbirds like to feed on. I like to use 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar. That makes me enough hummingbird food mixture to last a couple of weeks. Use whatever measurement best suits your own situation. If you have few hummingbirds, you won’t use much hummingbird food mixture and will want a smaller quantity. Maybe only 2 cups water to ½ cup sugar. Whatever you use to measure, just try to keep the 4 to 1 ratio of water to sugar.
1. into a pan on your stove top pour your water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil as you stir the sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Boil for about 2 minutes
3. Let the hummingbird food mixture cool and add to your feeder
You can store any remaining hummingbird food mixture in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Hummingbird Feeder Maintenance:
If you want hummingbird to keep using your feeder you will have to keep the hummingbird food mixture fresh and keep your feeder clean. To keep the nectar fresh you will have to replace the old nectar with fresh nectar on a regular basis. How often the old nectar will need to be replaced will depend on how high the temperature gets outdoors.
Here is a chart that will give you a general idea about when to change your hummingbird nectar.
High temperatures Change nectar after
71-75 6 days
76-80 5 days
81-84 4 days
85-88 3 days
89-92 2 days
93+ change daily
If you keep an eye on your hummingbird food mixture you will notice that after a while it will become cloudy. That is a clear indicator that the nectar is starting to ferment and needs to be changed. If you wait too long, you will see little black specks of mold in your feeder. This means you waited too long and now you will have too give your feeder a good cleaning to kill the mold so it doesn’t harm your hummingbirds. If you follow the guidelines in the above chart, you shouldn’t have any trouble.
Every time you change your hummingbird food mixture you should rinse it out several times with hot water before filling with fresh nectar.
|If you forget about your feeder and find that mold has appeared in your nectar, you will have to soak the feeder in a solution of 10% bleach to 90% water. Soak it for an hour to kill the mold and sterilize your feeder. 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.|
You will have to thoroughly rinse your feeder 3 or 4 times with water to get rid of all traces of the bleach before refilling with the hummingbird food mixture.
Keeping your feeder clean and your nectar fresh is very important to your success in attracting hummingbirds.
Now that your homemade hummingbird food mixture is done, you will need to get a feeder that is easy to take apart and clean, and one that will also protect your hummingbird food mixture from bees ants and wasps.
My favorite choice of hummingbird feeders to use with the hummingbird food mixture is Aspects 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.
Trap-It Ant Moat for Hummingbird Feeders, Red
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.
Good luck feeding your hummingbirds and I hope you enjoyed this article on hummingbird food mixture.