• Tag Archives hand-feeding hummingbirds
  • Hummingbird Recipe

    Hummingbird Recipe To Fill Your Hummingbird Feeder

    Here you will learn how to make hummingbird nectar, when to change the nectar in your feeder, how to properly clean your feeder, how to keep bees, ants and wasps away from your feeder and at the bottom of this article you will find my video that will also teach you how to hand-feed your hummingbirds.

    The hummingbird feeder recipe is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.

    Easy directions for making  hummingbird  food:

    1. In a sauce pan mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and stir to dissolve the sugar as the food  mixture comes to a boil.
    2. Boil 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
    3. Once the nectar mixture is cooled you can fill the feeder

    The ingredients are ordinary tap water and white granulated table sugar. No other ingredients are added. Don’t use brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses or artificial sweeteners. The flower nectar that hummingbirds feed on contains sucrose (ordinary table sugar) and that is all that is needed. Other ingredients can prove to be harmful or even fatal to the hummingbirds, so don’t use anything but white table sugar. Do NOT add red food coloring! Food coloring is considered to be harmful to hummingbirds so don’t add it.

    A red feeder is all you need to attract the hummingbirds. If your feeder is not red you can tie strips of red ribbon to your feeder or add a red hummingbird feeder ant moat between the hanger and the feeder. A red ant moat will help attract hummingbirds and will also keep ants out of your feeder.

    The nectar mixture is boiled so that the chlorine in the water will be released and any mold or bacteria that might be in the sugar will be killed. This will help your nectar last longer in the feeder and in storage. You can store leftover nectar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Boiling your homemade hummingbird food for 2 minutes is long enough. Boiling any longer will boil away more water and change the composition of the nectar. The 1 to 4 ratio of sugar to water is the same ratio found in flower nectar. If you boil longer it will change the ratio and make the nectar sweeter This will also make it more attractive to bees and wasps.

    Any ratio of 1 to 4 will work. For example, you can use 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water or 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups water or 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water … etc. These are all examples of a 1 to 4 sugar to water ratio. If you make a larger batch of hummingbird nectar, you can keep it in the refrigerator and not have to make it as often.

     

    Video: making hummingbird food

    Where to hang a hummingbird feeder

    Once your hummingbird food is made and your feeder is filled you will have to find a place to hang the feeder. It’s best to find a shady spot to place your feeder if possible. The nectar will stay cooler and stay fresh longer if it’s in the shade. If you must hang it in the sun, that’s alright, but you’ll have to change the nectar more often so it doesn’t spoil.

    You should also look for a spot near a window so you will be able to watch the hummingbirds while they are at the feeder. You might want to try a window hummingbird feeder to really bring them up close.

     

    How to keep your nectar fresh

    The outside temperature will determine how long your nectar will stay fresh. The hotter the temperature the more often it will have to be changed. Hummingbirds won’t use a feeder that doesn’t contain fresh nectar. Generally, if the temperature stays below 70 degrees, you can usually get by changing the nectar once a week. As the outside temperature rises above 70 degrees you will have to change it more often to keep he nectar fresh and mold free. You can use the chart below as a general guide line on how often you can expect to have to add fresh nectar to your hummingbird feeder.

    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

    This is only a general guide line and the actual timing may vary according to other factors such as hanging your feeder in the sun or shade, properly boiling your hummingbird nectar and properly cleaning your feeder between fillings.

    A visual inspection of the feeder and the nectar will tell you when it has to be changed. If the nectar starts to look cloudy or it contains black spots of mold, it needs to be changed more often. If you wait too long, yeast will start to ferment the sugar and mold and bacteria will start to grow. The mold and bacteria can be harmful to your hummingbirds.

     

    How to clean a hummingbird feeder

    If you keep the nectar fresh, rinsing out the feeder with hot water each time you change the nectar should be enough. To maintain a clean feeder you should give it a good cleaning about once a month in a mild bleach solution. To make the bleach cleaning solution for your hummingbird feeder, just add 1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water and soak your feeder for about an hour. When your feeder is done soaking take it out and thoroughly rinse it several times in running water to remove all traces of bleach so the bleach doesn’t harm the hummingbirds. This soaking in a mild bleach solution will help insure that your feeder stays clean and will be attractive to hummingbirds.

    Any time your nectar becomes cloudy or has black mold growing in it you will also have to sterilize the feeder with the mild bleach solution. You may also have to use some small hummingbird feeder brushes to remove all traces of the mold from inside the feeder. Remember to rinse thoroughly before filling with nectar.

    A good hummingbird feeder that’s easy to take apart and allows easy access to the inside of the feeder, is one that you are more likely to be able to keep clean. This is an important consideration when choosing a hummingbird feeder.

     

    Here is a good video on cleaning a hummingbird feeder.

    It shows the different types of hummingbird feeder brushes that are available to aid in feeder cleaning, especially in cleaning mold out of the feeder.

     

    How to keep ants, bees and wasps off of your hummingbird feeder

    ant moat
                                    ant moat

    OK, you’ve got your hummingbird recipe, your feeder is filled and it’s hung in a good location. All that’s left is to keep the bees, wasps and ants off of your feeder. The sweet hummingbird syrup inside your feeder will not only be attractive to hummingbirds, but it will also be very attractive to hummingbird feeder pests, such as ants, bees and wasps. I have seen bees and wasps so thick around my feeder that the hummingbirds couldn’t feed at all. And ants can actually get inside the feeder through the feeder ports, where they will die and contaminate the nectar.

    Hummingbird pest can usually be controlled by choosing a good hummingbird feeder that prevents access to such pests. Some feeders come with a built-in ant moat that keeps ants from reaching the nectar. The ant moat or ant guard as it is sometimes called, is filled with water and the ants can’t swim, so they can’t get to the hummingbird food. If you have a feeder that doesn’t have a built-in moat you can always add an ant moat between the hanger and the feeder to keep out ants. There are also hummingbird feeders that have bee guards or nectar guard tips right on the feeders, that don’t allow the bees, wasps and other flying insects to reach the nectar.

    Using a basin type feeder, rather than a bottle feeder will help keep ants away from your feeder. The air in a bottle feeder will expand and push nectar out of the feeder ports and onto the ground where the ants will find it and eventually find your feeder. A basin feeder won’t do this because all the nectar is below the feeding ports. For best results, the answer is to choose a good hummingbird feeder with all the features that keep pest away from the nectar. This will insure that you get the most enjoyment possible from feeding your hummingbirds and from using the hummingbird recipe.

    Hummzinger Ultra hummingbird feeder with ant moat and bee guard tips. Learn more
    This feeder has a built-in ant moat and nectar guard tips to keep out bees and wasps. See feeder

     

     

     

    Bees, wasps and other flying insect can also present a problem at your feeder. You have to be able to prevent them from getting to the nectar. If they can’t reach the nectar they will eventually give up and move on. The best hummingbird feeders, besides having an ant moat to keep out ants, will also have some type of bee guards or nectar guard tips to prevent bees from reaching the nectar.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Here is a helpful video that shows you how to bee proof your feeder using plastic mesh from an onion sack.

    Related article

    Cornell university feeder pest control article

     

    How to hand-feed hummingbirds instructional video

    Here is my instructional video that will teach you a quick, easy way to hand-feed your hummingbirds

     

    Here is another technique you can use to hand-feed hummingbirds through a window in your home.

     

    If you would like to watch my other videos on hand-feeding different backyard birds and squirrels, click the link    Hand-feeding backyard birds and squirrels

    Now you know the hummingbird recipe and can make your own hummingbird food. You know where to hang your feeder, when to change the nectar and how to clean your feeder. You also learned how to keep ants and bees out of your nectar and how to hand-feed your hummingbirds. All these things added together will allow you to have the most success at attracting hummingbirds and keep them returning on a regular basis. Enjoy your hummingbirds!

    If you found this article helpful please share it using the social bookmarking buttons on the left side of this page. Help everyone to increase their enjoyment of hummingbirds. Do it for the hummingbirds!


  • Bee Proof Hummingbird Feeder

    Looking to bee proof your existing hummingbird feeder or wanting to buy a bee proof hummingbird feeder? Read On.

    Here you will learn how to ant and and bee proof your hummingbird feeder, how to make hummingbird food, how to clean your feeder and at the end of this article is my special video on how to hand-feed your hummingbirds.

    Feeding hummingbirds with a feeder is a great way to view hummingbirds up close. It’s a lot of fun and very exciting to see and hear them buzzing around a feeder. Bees, wasps and other flying insects can also be seen buzzing around a feeder. That’s not quite so exciting! But luckily, there are easy ways to prevent bees, wasps and flying insects from ruining your hummingbird feeding enjoyment!

    A hummingbird feeder filled with sweet nectar is sooner or later, going to attract bees, wasps and other flying insects to the feeder. Bees, like hummingbirds, enjoy the taste of sweet nectar. Fortunately for hummingbird lovers, there a hummingbird feeders that come equipped with built-in barriers that keep bees form reaching the hummingbird food. Since the bees and other insects can’t reach the nectar, after a while the bees will give up and move on.

    The HummZinger Ultra hummingbird feeder has patented “Nectar-Guard” tips on the feeding ports of the feeder. These plastic tips keep bees, wasps and other  flying insects from  feeding at the feeder ports.  The bees and wasps won’t be able to access the nectar and contaminate your hummingbird food.

    These plastic Nectar Guard tips slide into the feeding ports on the underside of the hummingbird feeder cover. Each tip has a flexible membrane in the center which easily opens up when a hummingbird inserts it’s beak into the feeding port to feed. When the hummingbird withdraws it’s beak the the membrane closes tight to keep bees and wasps out of your feeder.

     

    The HummZinger Ultra the best bee proof hummingbird feeder!

    hummingbird feeder

    The HummZinger Ultra is an inexpensive hummingbird feeder that holds 12 ounces of hummingbird food. The feeder has 4 feeding ports and is easy to clean and easy to fill. It’s easy to clean because it comes apart in the middle and gives you complete access to the inside. An easier to clean feeder is a great asset and makes it so much easier to keep your feeder clean.There are no hidden surfaces inside the feeder that are hard to reach or  hard to clean. A clean feeder is very important if you want to be successful at attracting hummingbirds. They won’t come to a dirty feeder and a clean feeder is essential to the health of the hummingbirds. An easy to clean feeder makes it more probable that you will do the necessary maintenance to insure that you have hummingbirds returning to your feeder to feed quite often.

    The saucer type design of this feeder makes it a drip proof feeder. Inverted bottle type feeders will develop an air space at the top of the feeder as the volume of nectar goes down. When this air space is heated it will expand and force nectar out of the feeder ports. This dripping nectar will attract ants, bees, wasps and other unwanted guests to the feeder. Because it is drip proof, this hummingbird feeder won’t attract anything but hummingbirds.  Another great feature of the HummZinger Ultra feeder is that the feeder has a built in ant moat. The ant moat is a basin around the feeder hanger that you can fill with water. Because ants can’t swim, the ants won’t be able to reach the humming food inside the feeder.

    This feeder can be hung or mounted on a pole. All these great features combined with the inexpensive price make it one of the best feeders money can buy. Bee proof, ant proof, leak proof, easy to clean and guaranteed for life. What more could you want from a hummingbird feeder?!  Click here if you want to buy a great bee proof and ant proof hummingbird feeder!

    If you already have a feeder that you want to bee proof, here is a video that shows how one guy used plastic mesh from an onion sack to cover the feeding ports of the feeder. The feeder ports were too large and allowed honey bees and yellow jackets easy access to the nectar. He glued the plastic mesh inside the feeder and made the holes too small for bees and wasps, but the nectar ports still allowed hummingbirds to feed without any problems. It’s a good way to have a bee proof hummingbird feeder without having to buy a new feeder.

     

    How to bee proof a hummingbird feeder video

     

    How to keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder

    Now that your feeder is bee and wasp proof you might want to go ahead and ant proof your hummingbird feeder too. The best way to ant proof your feeder is to use an ant moat or ant barrier as the are also called.  You can either buy an ant moat or make your own. If you’re looking to buy a moat here is a good choice.

    ant moat

    You simply hang the ant moat from a branch or feeder hook and hang your hummingbird feeder on the hook beneath the moat. Fill the ant moat with water and you will have a barrier that keeps ants away from your hummingbird food. The ant moat is red so it will help attract hummingbirds to your feeder too.

    • Dimensions: 3 Dia. x 3.75 H.

    Trap It Ant Moat

    Click here to see  a wide selection of  ant moats that are available for your hummingbird feeder. Ant moats are a great investment and will save you lots of aggravation and save you lots of nectar and time!

     

     

     

    If you would like to try and make your own ant moat, here is a video to show you how.

     

    When to change the hummingbird nectar

    Along with bee proofing and ant proofing your hummingbird feeder, you should also know how to maintain  it.  This includes knowing when to change the nectar so it is always fresh and also how to clean your feeder each time the nectar is changed.  Hummingbirds won’t feed at a feeder that’s dirty and contains spoiled nectar.

    Cleaning your feeder will be a lot easier if you change the nectar before it becomes moldy and before mold grows on your feeder. Eventually the sugar in your hummingbird nectar will ferment and if allowed to remain in your feeder,  it will eventually become moldy. The temperature of the outside air will determine how long your nectar will stay fresh before it needs to be changed. As a general rule, if the temperature stays below 70 degrees the nectar will need to be changed every week. Once the temp climbs above 70, it will need to be changed more often. Below is a chart that will help you determine how often to change the nectar so it doesn’t become moldy and make feeder cleaning a lot tougher. Also, another good indication is when the nectar becomes cloudy or has black spots growing in it,  it needs to be changed more often.

    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 every day

     

    Cleaning a hummingbird feeder

    If the nectar becomes cloudy and has black spots of mold in it, you need to change it more often. Once mold has contaminated your feeder, it will have to be sterilized using a mild bleach solution. Mix into 1 gallon of water 1/4 cup of bleach. Soak your feeder in the mild bleach solution for at least an hour. Use some type of bottle brush to thoroughly scrub your feeder, inside and out to remove all traces of mold. Once scrubbed, thoroughly rinse your feeder with running water, several times too remove all traces of bleach so it doesn’t harm the hummingbirds.

    A clean hummingbird feeder is essential to keep the birds using your feeder on a regular basis. So, use this bleach solution once a month to help keep your feeder clean and use it anytime your nectar gets moldy. Hopefully, using the chart above will prevent your feeder from becoming contaminated with mold.

    Below is a set of hummingbird feeder brushes that will be extremely helpful in cleaning your hummingbird feeder.

    These feeder cleaning brushes used in combination with the Hummzinger feeder above, will keep your cleaning chore to a minimum and insure your success at attracting  hummingbirds to your feeder.

     

    Hummingbird nectar recipe

    The only thing left that you need to know is how to make your own hummingbird food. You can make your own hummingbird food and save money as well as trips to the store. The nectar you make yourself, will also be healthier for your hummingbirds because it won’t contain any red food coloring. Red food coloring is not necessary to attract hummingbirds, which is the only reason it’s added in the first place. But more IMPORTANT, red food coloring is thought to be HARMFUL to hummingbirds. So, DONT use it.

    Making your own hummingbird food is a simple process. The only 2 ingredients you need are tap water and regular white granulated table sugar. Don’t use any other sweeteners or ingredients such as brown sugar, karo syrup, maple syrup, Jello, Splenda, Sweet’N’Low or Equal. These ingredients don’t have the same chemical make-up as table sugar and can cause illness or even death to hummingbirds. White granulated table sugar and water will make the same sweet nectar that is found in the flowers that hummingbirds feed on.

    The nectar food recipe uses a 4 to 1 ratio of water to sugar. For example, 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of water to 1/2 cup of sugar or 1 cup of water to 1/4 cup of sugar. Any of these ratios will make a nectar that is similar to the nectar found in flower blooms that hummingbirds feed on. The only difference is the volume of nectar that you will end up with. If you have nectar left over you can store it in the refrigerator for a week or so and use it as necessary.

    First, into a pan on the stove, pour your water, then add the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar while the mixture comes to a boil. Let the nectar boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat to cool. When the nectar has cooled you can add it to your feeder. It’s that simple!

    Boiling the water will release the chlorine from the water and kill any mold or yeast spores that might be in the sugar, which would cause your hummingbird nectar to ferment quicker and have to be changed more often. Don’t boil the nectar for more than 2 minutes. Boiling any longer will boil away too much water and change the ratio of water to sugar. That would result in a sweeter nectar that would be more attractive to bees and wasps.

    Now you know how to make your own hummingbird food, how to ant and bee proof your hummingbird feeder and how to maintain the feeder so the nectar is always fresh. You shouldn’t have any trouble attracting hummingbirds and keeping them coming to your feeder!

     

    How to hand-feed hummingbirds instructional video

    Here is my video that will teach you how to hand-feed your hummingbirds

     

    Here is another technique you can use to hand-feed hummingbirds through a window in your home.

    If you would like to watch my other videos on hand-feeding different backyard birds and squirrels, click the link    Hand-feeding backyard birds and squirrels

     

    If you found this article helpful please share it using the social bookmarking buttons on the left side of this page.  Help everyone to increase their enjoyment of hummingbirds.

    Related searches:

    Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center –hummingbird article

    wikipedia –hummingbird article