Steps to a Clean and Healthy Hummingbird Feeder

“We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take feeder maintenance seriously, [as any mold or bacteria can be] risking the health, and possibly the lives, of these jeweled wonders…” –Donald and Lillian Stokes

Stripe-Tailed HummingbirdWhen the nectar starts to turn cloudy or when white strings or black dots appear, that’s mold. And it’s gross. The birds don’t like it either and will stop visiting a feeder that’s been neglected. When you see nectar that looks like this, then you need to change your nectar more often. Here’s an easy-to-use chart we found online to figure out when to change your nectar.

Temperatures Change Nectar Every
71-75 6 days
76-80 5 days
81-84 4 days
85-88 3 days
89-92 2 days
93+ Day


Perfect Little Brushes for Hummer FeedersFeeders should be cleaned once every three to four days and more often when it’s hot out. Use the above chart as a guide. Use hot water every time with white vinegar. If you use soap, it could clog the feeding ports or interfere with the performance of a feeder. Now would be a good time to invest in a good bottle brush to get those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

After cleaning, rinse the feeder and let dry. Refill halfway to provide hummingbirds with a fresh batch of nectar every few days. Plus, filling the feeder halfway on hot days also means the nectar won’t spill out, attracting unwanted wasps and bees to the feeding ports.

If ants are your problem, offer them a moat to float in! Use our High View HummZinger and the ants will get carried away by the water with our built-in ant moat. Plus, there’s no yellow on this nectar feeder, which means it’s practically bee and wasp-proof, too.

Dr. JB's Clean Feeder for hummingbirdsNectar can get messy, which is why Dr. JB’s Clean Feeder may be the best solution for you. Popular with our customers, this hummingbird feeder is break-resistant, doesn’t leak, and has a large mouth opening, so it’s easy to clean, which is just as important when you’re cleaning a feeder every few days.

If bees are still buzzing around your nectar, even though you have done everything you can think of, know this–hummingbirds can be messy eaters. When they capture nectar with their tongue, they use a lapping motion that can leave residue on the outside of the feeder. Don’t think twice! Wipe the surface with a wet sponge and you’ll see those bees buzz away.

Make it a habit to rinse out the feeder every time you change the nectar. If you do this on a regular basis, you should not have a problem with mold.

View our complete selection of hummingbird accessories.

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Dawn Coutu watches the birds when she walks, instead of the sidewalk.

Founded in 1952 and located in Concord, New Hampshire, Duncraft's objective is to bring the joy of backyard birding to wild bird lovers all across the country.

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