Ant Baffles and Ant Moats for Hummingbird Feeders
Moat: Webster’s defines it as “A wide, deep ditch, usually filled with water, surrounding a medieval town or fortress”. And most ant moats are filled with water to alleviate the pesky ant problem… you see, ants can’t swim! They can not cross the water inside the ant moat to gain access to sweet nectar.
Some ant moats however, operate beautifully without the use of water. This pretty wooden ant moat is deemed the “Anti-Ant Moat” and works perfectly. It does so because a special material is inserted on the under-side of the moat. Now I’m not quite sure what it is, but I do know ants avoid it. The reason I’m so sure of this is because I use one of these non-water ant moats with this substance in it, a green plastic one that has got to be at least five years old… and it still works great!
One trick when using ant moats is to add a drop of salad oil to the water during extreme heat. This helps to slow the evaporation process, because an empty ant moat just won’t cut it. So what if you’ve got a staked hummingbird feeder? Ants can be a real pain in the butt-crawling directly up the stake and ruining fresh nectar. Hummers won’t drink nectar contaminated with ants. This is where ant baffles are used, with staked hummingbird feeders. They’re pretty much the same design as standard ant moats, but placed on the stake and used upside down. Now how would an upside down ant moat hold water you ask? Petroleum Jelly… coating the underside of the ant baffle with this handy stuff keeps ants at bay!
Don’t ever let ants ruin your hummingbird experience, or your nectar again. Use ant baffles and ant moats to keep ants out!
Oh yeah… and the simple nectar recipe: 1 cup plain table sugar to 4 cups of water-nothing else. No red dye needed either. Never use honey or artificial sweeteners as they’re harmful to hummingbirds. You don’t even need to boil the water, but using some will dissolve sugar quicker and more effectively. Right now, hummers need to double their body weight in preparation for the long migration home. Central and South America are very far away, so the nectar solution may even be a little stronger at 1:3 instead of the usual 1:4 ratio.