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

If bees are visiting your hummingbird feeder, it may be your fault that you’re luring them there in the first place by leaving out nectar.

The reason that bees are swarming your hummingbird feeder is that it may resemble a real nectar blossom, which they feed from in the wild. Numerous bees and wasps congregating on a single feeder could indicate the presence of nectar in the port wells or sugar coating the outer body of the feeder. Bees will keep coming back if the feeder isn’t cleaned regularly.

Bees Are Taking Over My Hummingbird Feeder (1)

Any hummingbird feeder is vulnerable to invasion by swarms of bees or solitary bees, the former more so if nectar is left out for them to find and the latter less so if it is sealed in a container.

A bee guard attachment or a bee-proof hummingbird feeder won’t prevent bees from landing on your feeder if the nectar is accessible from the outside, but they can help.

It’s possible that hummingbirds and other nectar-loving birds have walked in pools of nectar on the feeder’s perches and wells, or that sugar water has leaked all over the body of the feeder owing to a feeder malfunction.

There’s not much you can do to prevent bees from visiting your hummingbird feeder, as these devices are designed to resemble the flowers that produce nectar, which bees are attracted to in the nature.

Bees are attracted to odors, so it’s safe to assume that they’ll stick around the hummingbird feeder, but the problem of swarming bumblebees may persist because bees are finding good sources of nectar elsewhere.

Using clean, room-temperature water, you may rid a hummingbird feeder of sticky honey buildup on its exterior and eliminate pools of nectar in the wells, which attract bees.

Your hummingbird feeder may be surrounded by bees because they can smell the nectar, but it’s more probable that they’re actually eating on the nectar that’s sitting on the outside.

Bees are attracted to sweet nectar

If bees are swarming your hummingbird feeder, it’s because they can smell the nectar within the bottle.

Birds can locate nectar through either sight or scent, and bees can discover a feeder full of them if it resembles a flower that produces nectar.

So, it’s not uncommon to see a swarm of bees buzzing around a hummingbird feeder, trying to get at the nectar and pollen that the birds can’t reach.

While that may be the case in most situations, bees will continue to swarm if they detect the pleasant aroma of sugary-water contained within a plastic or glass bottle.

Bees are attracted to nectar within feeders in precisely the same way in the wild, as they notice nectar blooms – then proceed to feed on it due to the nectar odor in the air.

Although hummingbird feeders are usually effective at preventing spillage, the amount of nectar that ends up on the outside of the feeder is anyone’s guess.

Well ports accessible

Bees Are Taking Over My Hummingbird Feeder (2)

As bumblebees continue to swarm a hummingbird feeder for the availability of nectar they know is close by, nectar can be constantly exposed in the open via the well ports.

Hummingbirds can reach into the feeder for a taste of the nectar by probing one or more well ports.

Drops of this sugar water will fall outside the feeder throughout the day, providing unrestricted access for foraging bees.

One more reason bees are swarming your hummingbird feeders is that the nectar you’ve been feeding the birds is sitting out in the open.

There isn’t much that can be done to keep this area free of nectar, but it wouldn’t harm to spritz it with room temperature water to wash off the nectar every once in a while, but only after the hummers have gone away.

As a result of the nectar being available at these port wells, bees become a nuisance to hummers because they can block off this feeding port, which hummers won’t utilize because bees are all over it.

Learn more about the bee guards that may be installed over these well ports to keep the nectar out of the hands of bees and in the reach of hummingbirds.

Feeder body caked in sugar

Hummingbirds are attracted to your feeder because of the nectar; however, the sugar water sitting around the body of the feeder can attract unwanted insects.

Hummingbirds will continue to spread nectar throughout the day, or at least until you clean your feeder again, primarily by stepping on it and spreading it farther.

Typically, the perches are attached to the body’s disk-shaped part, while the container holding the nectar is transparent.

The body of hummingbird feeders can get caked in sugar after only a few hours of use, attracting an increasing number of bees.

The exterior of the hummingbird feeder needs to be washed as often as possible to remove any lingering odor of sweet nectar.

After the hummingbirds have flown the coop, fill a bucket with warm water and sprinkle it over the feeder; don’t use soap or disinfectant. If you don’t have a bucket, you can use a garden hose or pressure washer to speed up the procedure.

If you want to keep the outside of a hummingbird feeder like this from getting sticky and difficult to clean, you should clean it as often as possible.

Fault of unkempt feeder

Bees Are Taking Over My Hummingbird Feeder (3)

Most of the time, the nectar that should be within the hummingbird feeder is instead exposed on the outer body or port wells, attracting a swarm of bees.

Bees may be swarming in big numbers because they are attracted to the artificial nectar that tastes similar to the nectar they find in nature.

For a hummingbird feeder to remain bee-free, it should be maintained so that sugar doesn’t accumulate on the outside. If nectar is spilling out of your Oriole feeder, you’ll need to do the same thing to keep the bees away.

Because of this, keeping your hummingbird feeders clean on a regular basis is essential for keeping the bees at bay.

I regret to inform you that hummingbird feeders require cleaning once a week, or twice or three times per week if nectar spoils much more quickly than usual due to extreme heat or cold.

After cleaning the hummingbird feeder, you should hang it back up carefully so that the nectar doesn’t spill. A feeder that isn’t perfectly vertical can cause nectar to leak slightly.

Even a small amount of nectar spilled will attract bees, and if it is not quickly washed away with water, the bees will return to a swarming state over the body in the port wells.

To summarize

You may have a swarm of bees because the nectar in your hummingbird feeder is exposed rather than hidden, which is one of several possible explanations.

It is possible that bumblebees are drawn to hummingbird feeders because the feeders resemble flowers that produce nectar. Not only that, but there will be a delicious nectar odor in the air.

Well ports, where hummingbirds drink, typically collect pools of nectar that are otherwise available to bees; hence, the nectar is both easily reachable and attractive to bees.

Hummingbirds can push swarms of bees over the hummingbird feeder without the bees actually getting to any of your produced nectar because they can only get it by treading it.

Bees may only access nectar in a drip form, therefore a bee guard installation at each port well is necessary to keep them out.

If the nectar is allowed to collect on the wells of an unmaintained hummingbird feeder or if the body’s outside nectar is stepped on, swarms of bees will be drawn to the feeder.

Regular cleaning of the hummingbird feeder, along with a short splash of cool water over the body once or twice a day to wipe out accessible nectar, is necessary to discourage bees from congregating around your feeder.

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