Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

A small cup or trench of water is all that’s needed to keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder.

For hummingbirds, a cup with a central hook and a second hook attached to the cup’s outer bottom can serve as an ant moat. A feeder can be hung from the underside by hooking the cup’s internal hook onto a bracket. If you want to stop the ants in their tracks, fill the cup with water. A feeder can also have an ant moat added.

Ant Moat Hummingbird Feeder-3

If you’ve ever seen a fortress protected by water or a trench with no means to cross it, you can imagine how an ant moat functions.

Unfortunately for the ants, hummingbird feeders often come with prefabricated ant moats that may be filled with water to trap and kill the pests. Just add water to a pre-built ant moat, and keep doing so whenever the water level declines due to evaporation or use.

Independent, hanging type ant moat cups are the ideal ant moats for hummingbird feeders, in my opinion.

Attach the feeder’s hook to the cup’s hook under the cup, then attach the feeder to the bracket or other hanging object the ant moat is meant to hang from.

You may stop ants in their tracks by filling up cups with water and placing them in an ant moat, which can then be simply taken apart for cleaning and upkeep.

Hummingbird feeder-visiting ants did not make their way there via the ant moat; rather, they climbed up the side of the feeder or were blown there by the wind.

The only trick to using an ant moat on a hummingbird feeder is to fill it with water.

Having the option of using sugary water to lure ants into the trap is really useful, as you can rest assured that the ants’ main goal is to reach the trap.

Vaseline can be used in place of water in an ant moat to ensure that the ants are trapped, but it does not have to be changed as frequently.

Ant moat is a water filled trench

To prevent ants from reaching the hummingbird feeder, you can install a simple cup and fill it with water to create a “ant moat.”

Since ants may only enter a hummingbird feeder at ground level, the trap must be positioned to prevent the ants from ever reaching the feeder’s body. The ant will only be able to reach the dangling point, but going any farther will be impossible.

An ant colony may come upon a cup full of water, which the ants will then enter and drown in.

Hummingbirds will be able to drink nectar without competition from ants because the feeder is designed to keep them away from the port wells.

Unlike the moats that surround castles, which only have one entrance, the moats around hummingbird feeders have multiple exits. Between the feeder and the place at which it hangs from or is mounted, it is severed entirely.

Your best bet is to construct a ditch (or “ant moat”) around your feeder, either in the form of a cup for hanging feeders or a trench around a disc-shaped hummingbird feeder.

Moat hangs or pre-installed

Ant Moat Hummingbird Feeder-2

You may eventually decide to purchase ant moats after discovering that the ant infestation near the hummingbird feeder is preventing hummers from visiting.

A basic cup with a hook sticking out of it; this is where you’ll put water in it. The hummingbird feeder is hung on a hook directly below it.

The ant moat is just a simple barrier between the hummingbird feeder and whatever it is affixed to, so there’s no need to make a big deal out of it.

This device can be attached with a couple of hooks and removed just as quickly.

Many hummingbird feeders also come equipped with an ant moat so that you don’t have to worry about the little pests getting into your feeder.

The disc-shaped and flat hummingbird feeders typically have a steel rod attached to the top for hanging. It is the feeder in the middle that this bar is hooked to. The feeder’s central hole is where the hanging bar enters, giving you plenty of room to pour water into the cup that’s already there.

Go for the pre-installed ant moat on top of a flat hummingbird feeder, or just buy an ant moat attachment later, if you know you have or may get an ant problem later.

Limited to hanging feeder only

For an ant moat to be effective on a hummingbird feeder, the feeder itself must be suspended in some manner.

Hummingbird feeders can be mounted to a window or placed on a tabletop. In order to avoid having to descend on the feeder, ants will likely just crawl up and around it.

To prevent ants from entering the cup of water and drowning, hummingbird feeders must be hung from a hook.

Even if you remember to use your ant moat trench–protected hummingbird feeder in the window every once in a while–you might forget to refill it.

Placed upright on a table or other flat surface, hummingbird feeders with exposed nectar attract ants.

If you only have one kind of hummingbird feeder, the ants will have a much harder time finding their way to it. This one way street will be sealed off with a watery death trap, and no ant has ever been seen to make it over.

Last line of defense

Ant Moat Hummingbird Feeder

An ant infestation can be controlled by suspending a container of sweet water from a tree or post in your yard.

A flat or disc-shaped hummingbird feeder with a built-in ant moat is a good solution if you know this is going to be a problem. If that’s not the case, an ant moat can be added to an inverted bottle design.

If you can’t find a hummingbird feeder that has an ant moat, you can always buy a separate ant moat cup for a low price and hang it below the feeder.

A water-filled cup or trench is your last line of protection against ants getting into the feeder and stealing the nectar, which is likely to be annoying to the hummingbirds.

It’s possible that you unwittingly built a land bridge if ants keep showing up on your body, in your port wells, or even inside your nectar bottle, even if you have an ant moat cup dangling from it or a pre-installed moat.

Infallible ant moats prevent any ants from reaching the hummingbird feeder, regardless of how you choose to mount it or suspend it.

The main body of the feeder might have been approached by ants in two ways: either by being blown onto it by the wind or by falling upon it from above.

I don’t think there’s anything you can do about the fact that ants will climb, rather than deliberately drop, to reach a feeder, but for the vast majority of us, this isn’t a problem at all.


A hummingbird feeder’s ant moat is a cup or trench filled with water that prevents ants from reaching the feeder’s nectar.

Hummingbird feeders with ant moats are created because ants only need to climb onto the body of the feeder to cause problems. Simply filling an ant moat with water is enough to kill the ants inside.

An ant moat is an efficient strategy for preventing ants on the feeder since the ants cannot swim to the outside sides to continue climbing onto the feeder.

When a hummingbird feeder is hung from a bracket, branch, or any other item in the yard that ants may climb, the ants will eventually find their way onto the feeder.

And that’s a good thing since it means the ants are heading straight into the trap instead of trying to avoid it. If you have an ant moat around your hummingbird feeder, the only way the ants could get to it is if the wind blew them there.

A window-mounted or tabletop hummingbird feeder can give ants with multiple entry points to the nectar, rendering an ant moat ineffective.

Without an ant moat, the ants will have free reign of the feeder and nothing will be able to stop them.

5/5 - (1 vote)