Whether traditional tube style, or basin style, all hummingbird feeders have one thing in common…very tiny feeding ports! These tiny ports tend to build up a “black mold” during summer’s extreme temperatures. Rinsing hummingbird feeders with hot water does not always remove this gunk. Sugar water gets very nasty, even fermenting within just a few days. Hummingbirds will rarely re-visit a feeder that has bad nectar.
To keep your little sprites happy and keep them around for the season, squeaky clean hummingbird feeders and fresh nectar are essential. So just how do you clean those itty-bitty feeding ports? The secret weapon is an old mascara brush! Before tossing your next (or grab your wife’s) mascara, save the brush and run it through the dishwasher to remove all the makeup and residue. These make the perfect cleaning brush for feeder ports on any tube style hummingbird feeders, and basin styles as well.
By the way, if you’re still buying commercial nectar… it’s time to try and make your own. The recipe is so very simple and it takes less than five minutes. Our hummingbirds prefer the plain sugar water, and once we started feeding it, there was a dramatic increase in visitors who stuck around the entire season.
So here’s the recipe to the stuff to fill your hummingbird feeders with: one cup plain table sugar to four cups water. That’s it! Nothing else in the mixture as it will harm or kill hummingbirds. No need to boil the water either, microorganisms are spread through the bird’s bills… not the feeders or nectar. We do boil one cup of water, simply to dissolve the sugar quicker and more effectively. You can then store unused nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
So this season, save the mascara brush and try your own nectar!