Bees Swarming Your Hummingbird Feeder? July 22 2019
Like clockwork, every year during the hottest dog days of summer. Honey bees, yellow jackets, wasps and other not so desirable winged ones invade your hummingbird feeders :(
From a few stragglers to overwhelming numbers, they vie for sugar water while keeping hummingbirds away from their rightful food, it's just ghastly and so sad to watch hummers without access to feeders.
Although an age-old situation... there are some remedies for deterring bees from hummingbird feeders. Some, one or none of these options may work for you, but definitely worth a try.
Mid- to late summer weather seems to bestow either drought or torrential rains, killing off clover and nectar-producing flowers in your garden and/or in the wild. Bees are seeking food and believe it or not- your hummingbird feeder is not their first choice!
While some solutions below might invite more pests... if they keep bees away from hummingbird feeders then you may have just achieved success!
First try giving them what they want... food!
Sugar Solution: Not exactly the same as nectar in your feeder- but still sugar and water at 1:1 ratio. It makes a thick syrupy mixture which is then placed in a shallow dish over pebbles or rocks. You may have seen them as waterers- the same thing only with food to keep bees nourished and off the hummingbird feeder!
In one of the hummingbird groups on social media, an image was posted that was tough to identify. Someone thought it was beef stew, but it was actually a homemade version of this type of feeder using naturally dark rocks. The thick syrup made the rocks shiny and the brown tones really did make the dish look like stew! Should you prefer something a bit prettier... this glass bee waterer or bee feeder both fit the bill nicely!
It's an easy DIY which very well may solve your bee problem!
Jelly: Recently we discovered this works superbly! Although our orioles migrated north some time ago- we left the hanging jelly feeders out and refreshed. Yellow jackets LOVE them! They don't seem to bother songbirds and the whole nasty colony stays busy swarming these feeders.
Traps: Yellow jacket or wasp traps using lures may be effective for your situation. Another one of those 50/50 shots as some swear by them while other say no go. We haven't had the need at home to try one, but this large glass insect trap with extra lures sure is pretty!
Bee-Proof Feeder Ports: These definitely have advantages though not all are created equal. If using a glass hummingbird feeder by Parasol, there are bee-proof feeder flowers available upon request. Not offered as standard with Parasol's stunning feeders, but are made just for this reason... bees!
Aspects and other basin style feeders usually have the option for bee-proof ports via plastic cap that goes on the inside of the feeder port thus blocking access for bees. Some folks say yay while others say nay.
Hives: Some swear by using an artificial wasp nest, they're readily available online and inexpensive. Others insist a crumpled brown paper bag does the same thing- although we can't verify either method as we've not tried at home.
Should your hummingbird feeder be plagued with bees this season, you may want to try one of the above suggestions to alleviate the problem. You can move the bee feeder further from hummingbird feeders each day until well enough out of the way. From our own experience, the jelly feeder was simple and works quite well :)