Yes, You Can Keep Honey Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders
Are you having problems with bees ? Wondering how to keep honey bees away from hummingbird feeders?
Well you are not alone. This is a common problem for many homeowners but you don’t have to choose one or the other. And you don’t have to resort to chemical sprays or other harsh products.
The methods in this article may not keep every single bee far away from your feeders. But they will be a big help. A couple of bees around the feeder is no big deal. But when this happens, unfortunately the bees often leave and return with their sisters.
Bees around the hummingbird feeders is a special problem for those of us who are beekeepers! Especially if you live in a neighborhood with hummer loving neighbors close by. We can certainly understand the frustration of the hummer loving homeowner.
But, we certainly don’t want to harm our hungry bees! Trying to kill bees around the feeder is not a good idea. More and more will come and not only honey bees. Bees and wasps both take an interest in feeders.
And a key secret is to stop this behavior before it starts! It is easier to keep honey bees away from hummingbird feeders, than to stop it once it starts.
Understanding the nature of both, may help in our feeding dilemma. And, yes you might need to relocate your bird feeders – at least temporarily.
We Love Hummingbirds
Hummers feature a charisma that no other bird possesses. Their flight skills include the ability to hover and even fly backwards. They move so fast you may miss them if you blink. Its a good thing they can move quickly. Some species of hummingbirds migrate 3,000 miles in one direction.
Humming birds seek out sweet nectar. Natural nectar from flowers and artificial nectar provided by us is attractive to hummingbirds. If you hang out a feeder, they will find it. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones searching for nectar.
We Love Honey Bees
The decline of honey bees in recent years has received a lot of media attention. Today, people have a better understanding of the importance of Honey bees and other pollinators.
Honey bees are responsible for millions of dollars of value due to their pollination efforts. They also help with pollination of vegetable gardens and fruit trees in our local neighborhoods. However, bees need nectar (honey) to survive.
It is important that we do everything possible to help save the bees .
Keeping Bees Off My Hummingbird Feeder!
Honeybees & Hummingbirds have something in common. Both love sugary nectar as a food source. It is not unusual to see both bees and birds harvesting nectar from the same blooming plants.
In nature, the practice of sharing nectar sources works out well with plenty of flowers for all.
The difficulties start when the time of heavy bloom fades. Nectar sources are often limited during the hot dry summer. As sure as, July will bring hot humid weather in the south, it will also bring complaints from homeowners who are trying to feed hummingbirds.
A homeowner goes out to enjoy the tiny birds and discovers a small swarm of bees. Or, perhaps hundreds of bees and wasps trying to drink from the feeder. It can get so bad that the birds stay away.
In addition to being a nuisance, hundreds of bees can drain a full hummingbird feeder quickly. Trying to find a way to keep honey bees off hummingbird feeders is challenging. It is much better to prevent bees and wasps from using your hummingbird feeder than it is to stop it.
Honey bees are hard workers and these hungry bees will search out any sweet source available! Unfortunately for you, the best available nectar source may be your hummingbird feeder.
Honey bees will not attack you unless threatened. They are not aggressive but will defend themselves if someone swats at them. However, the presence of bees can prevent hummingbirds from utilizing the feeder. The considerate homeowner looks for a solution that will do no harm to the honey bees.
What to do when Honeybees & Hummingbirds clash at your feeder ! Here are the tips that most homeowners don’t know.
How to Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders
1.* Choose a hummingbird feeder that has insect resistant feeding holes.
Feeders of this type will deter honeybees, wasps, etc. *You may be able to purchase bee guards for your existing feeders.
2.* Look for feeders that are all red (without the yellow inserts).
Red attracts hummingbirds – yellow attracts insects. If you already have a feeder with yellow feed ports, paint them red using non-toxic paint.
3.* Move the hummingbird feeder to a shady location.
Hummers will seek them out but insects prefer food sources that are in a sunny location.
4.* Create a honey bee feeding station
Use a mixture of sugar water (2 cups white cane sugar dissolved in 1 cup water) in a shallow dish or pan filled with marbles, gravel or stones (so the bees wont drown). The bees should move to the new food source as they prefer a sweeter solution. Every day move the honeybee feeder a little farther away – in time this should get the bees focused on something different than your feeder.
5.* Create a garden that attracts bees
Keep it watered during the hot summer if possible to encourage nectar production.
Bees On Hummingbird Feeders – Some Years Are Worse
On my bee farm, I have only had to keep honey bees away from hummingbird feeders during one summer. During that year, upstate South Carolina was suffering a severe drought.
I felt sorry for my bees and the birds. After a few weeks, we were lucky to receive some rain showers. This additional moisture resulted in new blooms with nectar for all pollinators.
If space allows the homeowner can plant flowers that will benefit both hummers and bees. A bee friendly garden is also a friendly garden for other pollinators.
This will provide additional nectar sources (in addition to the feeder) and reduce competition. Remember the honey bees don’t mean any harm to you, they are just hungry.
With proper planning you should be able to keep honey bees away from hummingbird feeders, and this system may work for wasps as well.
Good luck & thank you for caring about the honey bees & hummingbirds in your neighborhood.
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