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Bees, Wasps and Nectar

Learn how to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders.

Learn how to keep bees out of your hummingbird feeders! If bees or wasps are a problem, getting into the nectar of your hummingbird feeder or preventing your hummingbirds from feeding, here are a few tips you can use:

* Use a hummingbird feeder with bee guards, so the bees can’t get into the nectar.

* Try feeders that have no yellow in them. The color yellow could be attractive to bees. Try painting the yellow parts with red nail color.

* If the bees are actually yellow jackets, a kind of wasp, you may be able to reduce the population with yellow jacket traps.

* Relocate the feeder: Once hummingbirds find a food source, they will visit it frequently. Insects are only likely to visit convenient food sources and are less inclined to search for relocated feeders. Moving the feeder by just a few feet can minimize the insect visitors without discouraging the hummingbirds or orioles.

* Move your hummingbird feeder to a very shady location. Bees prefer to eat in sunny areas. Distract bees with a saucer of nectar where the feeder used to be.

* Make the nectar less sweet. Try 5 parts of water to 1 part sugar instead of the usual 4 parts water to one part sugar.

* After hanging with fresh nectar, be sure to clean off sugary drips or spills on the outside of the feeder so bees won’t be attracted to the sugary scent.

* Never use insect-killing chemicals around hummingbird feeders! It’s bad for the hummingbirds and may also kill beneficial honey bees! Happy Birding!


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  • Reply Mr&Mrs OzzyMan June 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

    We have over 29 Hummingbirds out here daily,we have 9 feeder for the Hummingbirds “1” for the bees, in order to jeep them away from our guests.. wife put “bee-feeders” 20′ away…. will try 40in time…. full sun after 11am on yard.Sun rises in front of house sets out back with ABOUT a 1.24 acre area all around it.

  • Reply MJ September 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    My feeders a all red, I have tried by moving the feeders (bees follow) I have put out a bowl of sugar water for the bees and the bees swarm to it but also some stay at the feeders…I have cut back from 6 feeders to 4 feeders and the bees filled them all and I finally sprayed the feeder with Pam and it seems the bees are not to fond of it. Hope it will work. I am gonna look for feeders with bee guards on them..

    • Reply Dawn Coutu November 3, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Hi MJ,

      I’m sorry to hear that bees are taking over your bird feeders. Fortunately, there is a solution. You might start by reading one of our articles specific to this issue, “How to Keep Bees Out of Your Hummingbird Feeders“. You can also check out our selection of hummingbird feeders. Our Landmark Hummingbird Feeder has bee-resistant feeding ports. While Dr. JB’s Hummingbird Feeder has a large nectar capacity and is leak-proof, so there’s no nectar for them to eat! One of these feeders should certainly solve your problem. You are more than welcome to call our Customer Service Team, as well. Call 1-800-763-7878 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm ET Monday – Friday. Happy Birding!

    • Reply Lisa July 20, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Remove any flowers off of all hummingbird feeders take a Q-tip rub a little bit of vegetable oil around the whole and around where the bottle connects to the base it keeps all bees away and don’t ants

      • Reply Heidi Babb July 21, 2016 at 10:53 am

        Any kinds of oil, spray, or petroleum jelly should be used with extreme caution if used at all. It is very dangerous to the birds — if it gets on the feathers, it can cause many problems and even result in death of the bird. It’s much safer to choose a feeder with good bee guards and hang the feeder from an ant moat to keep the crawling bugs off the feeder.

  • Reply Brandon October 24, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the good

  • Reply stoney September 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    took the yellow off crazy glued white buttons with two holes works great the bees can’t get too the juice

    • Reply Dawn Coutu September 15, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Excellent, Stoney. We’re happy that worked well for you. Thanks for sharing your good news! Happy Birding! -Dawn

  • Reply Julie Mchenry June 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Nothing is working for me…the bees are swarming my oriole feeder and hummer feeders and also the feeder that is ALL THEIRS….is the Pam idea a good solution? I heard that oil was not good for hummers ! Can someone help…there is no yellow on any of my feeders..

    • Reply Heidi Babb June 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Bees and wasps can really be difficult to deal with, but we do NOT recommend using Pam or any other cooling oil on feeders, as it can be really harmful to the hummers if it gets on their feathers. Why don’t you give us a call and we can talk about your specific situation? Our friendly, knowledgeable customer service team is available Monday – Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm ET at 1-800-763-7878.

  • Reply T July 23, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I used fresh mint. I rubbed the mint leaves all over the service area, avoiding the actual feeding holes, after I cleaned the feeder. The bees checked it out and they didn’t come back. It only took about four leaves. The hummingbirds didn’t seem to mind the mint at all.

  • Reply B. Minder August 1, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Hummers are completely daunted by the bees. We have a continual dance going on with about a dozen birds and bees on four feeders. The only thing we have not tried is oil. I will try it but very judiciously — meaning in insufficient quantities to affect flight characteristics of the birds. I hope a qtip with oil at the feeding orifices will work. Even the bee resistent feeders around here are ineffective, they still keep trying as they are attracted to the existence of the nectar.

    I doubt I will have a final answer this year as our hummers leave in mid august.

    • Reply Dawn Coutu August 4, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hi B. Minder, oil in small amounts is dangerous for the birds and we have a couple of other suggestions for you. Since bees are attracted to sunny areas, they’re less likely to visit any hummingbird feeder placed in a location with shade. As a bonus, the nectar is going to stay fresh a little bit longer since it’s not sitting in direct sunlight. Here’s another idea you can do at the same time, if desired. Set aside a small dish of nectar outdoors for the bees; any leftover nectar from your hummingbird feeders should work fine. By placing a dish of nectar in a sunny location, the bees are more likely to visit their own special feeder than your hummingbird feeders. Since it may take a little bit of time for your flying friends to get used to the changes, give it a week or two. Then let us know how these tips worked out for you, B. Minder. Take care and Happy Birding! -Dawn

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