Updated at: 19-08-2022 - By: Jane Brody

Hummingbird feeders provide a source of sugar water, which can be tracked by the ants that find the sweet scent wafting from the feeder.

I assure hummingbird feeders definitely attract ants, so its crucial to keep ants well away before a significant ant outbreak starts. Keep the hummingbird feeder clean and always wash away any nectar that falls to the ground. Do wash off nectar on the feeder exterior without needing a full clean.

Ants In Hummingbird Feeders

There is no human food that doesn’t attract ants, but sugar seems to be especially enticing to them.

If you let a nonexistent problem fester, ants will begin to swarm the hummingbird feeder, posing a serious threat to the little winged residents.

Hummingbird feeders can attract ants owing to their keen sense of smell; if you leave any homemade sugar water out, the ants will quickly take over your feeder and the space surrounding it.

Now that the sugar water has evaporated, you only need to wipe the outside of the hummingbird feeder to eliminate the odor. If you maintain the outside free of nectar, you can put off giving it a thorough cleaning.

It’s possible for nectar to fall to the ground if the hummingbird feeder is overfilled when first hung, or if it’s allowed to swing in the wind.

This will be detected by ants, leading to an infestation. Maintaining a clean hummingbird feeder and removing any nectar that drips to the ground directly below feeders should be your top priorities.

Unfortunately ants can still obtain a hummingbird feeder since the smell of sugar is still available. The hummingbird feeder can be suspended from an ant moat, which is best hung from a pole.

If you fill this ant moat with water exclusively, the ants won’t be able to escape and will be destroyed without ever reaching the port wells where the hummingbirds drink.

Hummingbird feeders DO attract ants

Sugar is the most likely food item to attract ants, yet they will be attracted to a wide variety of foods found in nature and in human houses.

Therefore, hummingbird feeders do attract ants due to the sugar the insects can smell.

The presence of a sticky sugar content on the surface of the body of your hummingbird feeder may be to blame for the ant infestation. Ants can be kept away from hummingbird feeders if they are cleaned and refilled on a regular basis.

And because ants’ chemosense can detect chemical molecules, they can still be drawn to a source of sugar even if the concentration is minimal.

Now that you know ants are attracted to hummingbird feeders, its crucial you do something about it before an ant infestation gets out of control. If ants get in the way of hummingbirds as they try to feed at port wells, the hummers may have trouble getting enough to eat.

The first rule of keeping a hummingbird feeder is to constantly keep it and its surrounding area clean.

Sugar water on ground issue

Ants In Hummingbird Feeders

As ants are drawn to the littlest whiff of sugar in the air, sugar water that often falls out of hummingbird feeders must be tidied up; if at least there’s a possible danger of an ant infestation in your yard.

In the same way, ants can be helped in their search for sugar by sweeping up any crumbs or drips that occur while hanging hummingbird feeders.

First, make sure the hummingbird feeder is in good working order; only then can you be sure the area immediately around it, including any spills that may have occurred during installation, is free of any homemade nectar that could attract ants.

Ants will initially visit any puddles of nectar on the ground, but eventually they will begin to swarm the feeder itself.

The exterior of the hummingbird feeder may be cleaned on a regular basis without the need to disassemble it for a thorough cleaning.

As a temporary measure, you can wash the area beneath your hanging hummingbird feeder with hot soapy water to remove any traces of sugary water.

Ants can discourage hummingbirds from using feeders, therefore it’s important to keep them off the main body of the feeder and out of the port wells altogether.

Attracted to sugar on feeder

Remember that ants can still climb into the port wells, rendering them worthless, while the ants head for the hummingbird feeder as the source of sugar available from the outside.

Although ants themselves pose no direct threat to hummingbirds, their foraging can contaminate nectar, making the birds sick.

Because of this, it is crucial that no ants ever get near the hummingbird feeder or the prepared nectar in the port wells.

You can use something called an ant moat to stop ants from entering your hummingbird feeder before they have a chance to do any damage.

Cups that are hung from a bracket or pole work well as ant moats for hummingbird feeders, which are then hung below them.

At this point, ants can access the hummingbird feeder from above by ascending into the empty ant moat, traversing the side, and re-entering the moat.

To use an ant moat with a hummingbird feeder, simply fill the ant moat cup with regular tap water. Ants won’t be attracted to the sugar water and will leave the feeder alone.

Similarly to how hummingbird feeders can attract ants, oriole feeders can be protected from these pests with the help of an ant moat.

Can be avoided if kept clean

Ants In Hummingbird Feeders-2

To keep ants from bothering a hummingbird feeder, all that has to be done is conceal its presence.

Even a small amount of sugar water spilled on the ground will attract ants, therefore avoiding this situation is preferable.

However, this does not mean that ants can smell sugar on the exterior of the hummingbird feeder and therefore approach it from above, ignoring any sugar water that may have fallen onto the ground below.

Then, you will make it a point to clean your hummingbird feeder regularly and according to these regulations. At the very least, you should clean the feeder once a week, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing it twice or even three times a week if you want to make sure it stays sugar-free.

An infrequently used hummingbird feeder is less likely to have this problem than a frequently used one.

The hummingbird feeder can be cleaned of any traces of sugar water by giving it a gentle wash while it is still hung. In addition, you can keep up with your standard weekly cleaning practice.


Hummingbird feeders do, in fact, attract ants due to the ants’ acute sense of smell, which allows them to locate sources of sugar.

In order to attract hummingbirds, simply exposing nectar at the port wells is not enough. However, if homemade nectar is spilled on the ground and not cleaned up, it can become a major problem.

Unkempt hummingbird feeders will eventually develop sticky nectar on the exterior, making it easy for ants to get access to the feeder.

If you want to deter ants from a hummingbird feeder, you should wash the ground directly under it and give the feeder a light wash on the outside.

It’s possible that a hummingbird feeder could attract a small number of ants, but if the problem persists, the population could quickly multiply.

To at least reduce the number of ants visiting the feeder, you can use a system that suspends the feeder above a functional ant moat.

To prevent ants from reaching the nectar on the hanging hummingbird feeder, a water-filled ant moat has been installed. The ants will be trapped and drowned as they attempt to cross the moat to reach the feeder.

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