Decorative, bottle-style nectar feeders are enchanting additions to our yards and gardens; many of them are truly works of art. Normally they work beautifully, but once in a while we’ll hear about problems with leaking. Besides the obvious waste and sticky puddle, the spilled nectar can attract bees, wasps, and ants to your feeding area. If this is happening with your feeder, try a few of these tips:
- Keep the feeder full. When the feeder is filled and inverted, a vacuum forms that helps the seal operate properly, but as nectar levels drop, that vacuum is compromised and the feeder will leak more easily. A full, but not overflowing, nectar feeder has a more secure seal.
- Hang the feeder in full shade to help keep the nectar cool. As sunlight heats up the nectar and any air in the bottle, the increased pressure will force leaks to accelerate. Keeping the feeder cool will also keep the nectar fresher and more appealing to hummingbirds.
- Position the feeder to avoid accidental tips. This includes keeping feeders away from high traffic walkways and paths; don’t hang feeders in areas with strong cross breezes that could cause swaying and tipping. An unbalanced feeder is more likely to leak.
- Check feeders regularly for damage. Chips and cracks may compromise seals and create leaks.
- Assemble feeders tightly. A good seal between the bottle reservoir and the feeder base and ports will minimize leaks. A weak or uneven seal will leak easily, and if the feeder is not properly assembled it can break more easily.
- Remove perches. Woodpeckers, warblers, orioles and finches may try to sip from a nectar feeder, but their weight could unbalance and tip the feeder. Hummingbirds can hover while feeding and don’t need perches to access the feeder.
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