Ants are a constant problem for those who keep hummingbird feeders, but luckily, a handy supply of the excellent moisturizer Vaseline is always at hand to solve the problem quickly and easily.
In order to keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder, you’ll need to use quite a bit of Vaseline, which can add up in cost. Vaseline isn’t meant for outdoor use and will dry out in the sun or wash away in the rain, but it can be useful in a protected setting. Only one opening in the hummingbird feeder needs to be coated in the sticky goo.
The effectiveness of this anti-ant Vaseline solution is highly dependent on the location of the hummingbird feeder; however, we wouldn’t know this until much later.
Spreading Vaseline on several entry points will be more of a hassle than a quick solution to keeping ants away from the feeder.
Hummingbird feeders benefit from being moved to a new position where ants are not present, and I would advise moving the feeder to a separate hanging point, preferably using a bracket on a bird feeding station.
Ants can be a problem if you don’t regularly clean your hummingbird feeder, so make sure the sweet nectar stays in the feeder and not on the ground below it.
This is significant because there is no assurance that Vaseline would work and using it for this reason is not cheap.
Putting vaseline on a feeder that will be exposed to the outdoors is a bad idea since it will quickly disappear. The same goes for plastic, metal, wood, and even tree branches.
If you really want to stop the ants in their tracks, you may have to resort to utilizing ant trap pads or, even better, non-toxic double-sided tape.
Last but not least, research what is known as an ant-guard with a moat that captures ants at the place where a hummingbird feeder hangs off a bracket.
Ants will get stuck in Vaseline
Vaseline is a compassionate technique to deter ants from hummingbird feeders, despite the tenacity of ants of all species.
Not a failsafe, but a thick layer of Vaseline would make it tough for ants to cross. It’s not sticky enough to hold them in place, but the goo makes it difficult to move around on the floor.
Hummingbird feeders can have a little layer of Vaseline on the hanging bracket or hoop, or a thick covering of Vaseline to keep ants from just walking over the thick jelly.
Start by applying a tiny layer on the pole, bracket, or hoop leading to the hummingbird feeders, and work your way up to a thicker covering until you are confident the ants will not be able to climb over.
Because ants are so intent on reaching the sweet, sticky nectar in a hummingbird feeder, even a thick covering of Vaseline will only deter them temporarily.
Vaseline is expensive, but you can get the same effect with hair gel for far less money.
With that stated, it’s possible that applying a thin layer of Vaseline to an outdoor item for the length of time it takes to deter ants wouldn’t be effective.
Short Vaseline lifespan
While Vaseline is great for moisturizing dry hands, the sun’s heat would quickly dry it out, leaving a white stain on the feeder machinery.
The reason is straightforward: Vaseline was not developed to serve as a weather-resistant gel that could be liberally applied to outdoor surfaces.
The sun’s heat would swiftly dry it out, and rain or snow would quickly remove the gel.
In the summer, you might only have a few hours before the Vaseline dries out, and any hummingbird feeder placed outside would quickly lose its Vaseline coating if it got wet, so setting it up in a protected spot might be a good idea.
The effectiveness of Vaseline as an insect repellent is severely limited when exposed to the elements; at best, you can count on it keeping ants away for a few hours. However, if you constantly reapply where it has worn off, you can extend this time to a full day.
As of right now, I’m referring to applying Vaseline to metal or plastic feeders and the accessories used to hang them, but not to wooden ones.
I can tell you from experience that using Vaseline in this way to prevent ants from reaching hummingbird feeders through a wooden passage like a wooden post or a tree branch is next to impossible.
Need to isolate Hummingbird feeder
The only way to properly stop hummers from perching on a hummingbird feeder of any kind is to keep it inaccessible to them at all times.
Keep in mind that the feeder hanger for most hummingbird feeders connects onto a single hoop. It’s just a matter of locating the right area to apply a coat of Vaseline to this hanging apparatus.
Vaseline can be used to either seal off any potential entry points for ants to your equipment, or it can be saved for use just in the region from where ants can access the hummingbird feeder, effectively wasting the expensive product.
Also problematic is when a hummingbird feeder needs to be stabilized with straps or rope to keep it from whirling in the wind, and these additions serve just to provide ants with additional entry points.
Vaselining up fabric isn’t recommended because it might ruin your equipment, but if you’re worried about ants getting in, you might have to compromise on the steadiness of your hummingbird feeders.
Cut off all but one possible insect access point to your hummingbird feeders. You can either use metal or the plastic hoop that comes with the feeder to create this path and hang it from a bracket.
If your hummingbird feeder is currently perched on a table or among flower pots, you should relocate it to a spot where it is not surrounded by any other garden features.
Better to use temporary traps
You might not be aware of it, but there are more efficient ways to keep ants away from a hummingbird feeder than just covering it in Vaseline.
As hummingbird feeders typically hang from a metal or plastic hook, you can trap ants by wrapping the hook with double-sided sticky tape.
If the weather permits it, it’s inexpensive, the double-sided tape will last forever, and it’s kind to the animals.
Specialty ant traps are a non-toxic adhesive pad that can be set around a hummingbird feeder’s perimeter to catch ants before they reach the feeder. This is a far more hygienic alternative than using wet and sticky Vaseline.
An alternative is to purchase a basic, universal ant-guard with moat to trap ants before they get a chance, which is especially important for those who utilize hanging hummingbird feeders.
Instead of simply attaching the feeder to a bracket or branch, or using a dedicated feeder hanger, this method entails inserting the ant-guard in the space between the two.
This ant guard has an ant moat built in, so ants can enter and never leave.
To further increase its effectiveness, you can coat the device’s outside in Vaseline if you so choose.
Vaseline is a safe and gentle approach to keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder, but you need to have everything in place for it to work well.
Hummingbird feeders must be hung such that Vaseline can be applied to the only possible point of entry for ants, typically the bracket or pole used to suspend the feeder.
Vaseline isn’t meant for external use, so it would dry out in a few hours if you tried to use it that way. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can keep applying another coat to keep it from drying out.
If you want to keep the ants from entering the feeder from multiple directions, it’s best to remove any possible access points, such as overhanging branches, flowers, or ropes used to keep the feeder from spinning.
Ant traps designed for this specific purpose are preferable than using messy Vaseline, but only if you can set them up outside.
Sticky ant pads that are safe for the environment can be used, or alternatively, some inexpensive double-sided tape can be used to attach the feeder to the pole it swings from.
Finally, I recommend installing a specialized ant-guard between your feeder’s bracket and the ceiling. This ant-guard has a moat within that ants will get trapped in.
You can temporarily deter ants with Vaseline, but there are better, less expensive options available.