Bees, Wasps and Nectar

Deter bees and wasps!

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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  • 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.

  • 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..

    • 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

      • 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.

  • 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

    • sharon kam August 23, 2016 at 6:12 am

      I have many red jackets swarming my two humming bird feeders. Do you think the mint is a good idea?

  • 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..

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Roberta August 24, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    What’s a bee guard? I’ve tried every suggestion from various websites and none of them work. I don’t hold out too much hope for a REAL solution.

  • Jim Brown August 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    My feeder is all red. Sets in the shade under a roof. Not sure if bees or yellow jackets. They are small with yellow and black stripes. At this time they are covering the lower half of the feeder. The bee guard seems to work. What do I do now?

  • Kathleen August 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I was researching on how to keep bee’s away from my humming bird feeder. I tried using mint extract on a Q-tip spread around the outer parts of the flowers on the feeder. It did not work, I think it even made the humming birds choose other sources. I cleaned my feeder and tried another idea I had read about. And this worked immediately!! I took a plain brown paper lunch bag, and puffed it up like I was blowing up a balloon. And set it on a bench near the feeder. Immediately the bees flew away and now my feeder is bee free. My Hummers are Happy and so am I…..

  • helen write September 4, 2016 at 12:15 am

    We have 4 feeders and 25 hummers. I have a yellow plastic like hive thing that I fill with apple juice to attract the
    wasps….and it does ….once they get in they can’t get out….after I collect a few I put the whole thing in a bucket of water.
    clean it out and start over. Keeps the wasps away from the feeders.

  • Diana Brannan September 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Helen Write–I think that is great-sounding idea. I watch the wasps actually run around the edges of the hummer feeders and run the hummers off and I am very unhappy with them. The hummers do enough fighting among themselves over the feeders and the wasps are just adding to the stress.

  • Dee Wilson July 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I am trying to resolve issues I am now having with my oriole and hummingbird feeders. I live in Southern California our temps have been 90 plus every day. I have feeders with bee guards some without. I have placed them in shade, tried diluting mixture more, moving feeders around, even different styles of feeders, seems nothing is making a difference. The feeders are all covered with bees, the orioles and hummingbirds don’t want to go near the feeders. I have not had an issue until this past week. Help, I do not want to kill the bees, but I do want the birds around.

  • Heidi Babb October 4, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    That’s a great question, Gay. When it comes to bees, there’s no such thing as too much sugar in the syrup! In fact, some beekeepers make thick sugar candy to feed their bees in the winter while other use a method called “dry sugar feeding,” where they just empty a bag of sugar onto some damp newspaper for the bees to eat.

    The nectar you’re feeding certainly wouldn’t kill bees, but there are many things that could, including pesticides being used in your neighborhood, cold weather, parasites, disease, and plain old age. Enjoy your insect friends!