It can’t be time for the ant moat yet?
Dry, dry, dry, it’s been a hot and dry start to summer in the Southeast, which means crawlies of all sorts are already seeking moisture. Pastures are starting to turn crispy as the lush grasses of spring fade away. Sticky nectar solutions we use to lure hummingbirds are always a major attraction for ants, who can become a real nuisance to birds and humans. The tiny sprites just don’t like ants in their nectar… period!
Not only for hummingbird feeders, you can protect oriole, butterfly, and fruit & jelly feeders easily with an ant moat. It will fend off pesky ants by blocking their path with water – because ants can’t swim. The vessel must have water to function properly! No water-no moat-get ants 🙁
Another option is to dab some petroleum jelly on the hook or bracket of the feeder. This works okay for a bit… until the heat melts it and makes a mess. You’d want to be sure nothing drips into the nectar as well.
Lots of hummingbird activity in the beginning of the season seems to have slowed, and even has folks asking where they are? Because flowers and vines are still offering food sources by way of nectar, they’ll always be the first and most natural choice. Due to the harsh winter and late spring, blooms don’t seem to coincide with the time! Our cactus which usually flowers in may, is now in full bloom one month later. than normal. But come July when everything has shriveled, hummingbird activity is sure to increase once again at feeders, so don’t take them down, and do keep nectar fresh.
Pouring too much of that nectar down the drain? First, don’t fill feeders to capacity, and do try the home-made sugar water solution. It’s perfect, and we think hummingbirds prefer it over commercial mixes! No red dye needed either. This simple recipe? 1 cup plain table sugar to 4 cups water… that’s it! Boil just one cup of water to dissolve sugar, add three cups cold water, stir well… and you’re ready to fill. Store unused nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
May the tiny sprites bring a smile upon your face, and may you see lots of buzzing activity around your feeders this season!