Saturday, May 2, 2015

How to Keep Ants Out of Your Hummingbird Feeder - DIY Ant Moat

Columbines to Attract Hummingbirds
My mother-in-law, who is a very smart lady, told me to put out hummingbird feeders when the columbines bloom. Although the orange columbines in my garden clash with the pink azalea, they are loved by the hummingbirds, so I let them pop up where they will and pull them out just before they go to seed (allowing just a few to go to seed so I will have them to attract hummingbirds next year). 

Last year I had so much trouble with ants in my feeders that I stopped feeding the hummingbirds. I’ve heard that Vaseline on the wire or string helps but it can get on the birds feathers and harm them. I certainly don’t want to use poison of any kind so I decided to try these bird safe moats.

$8.00 ant moat

I’ve seen them at prices all over the map, but my favorite price is FREE, so I made my own version.

You will need:

1 spray paint cap in the color of your choice
1 piece of wire - I used the red wire that came on my feeder

1.         Drill a small hole in the cap;
2.         Thread a piece of wire through the hole and make a hook on each end;
3.         Glue around the wire to seal the hole;
4.         Fill the moat with water and hang it just above the feeder.

I use the Audubon Society approved nectar recipe of ¼ cup plain white granulated sugar to 1 cup of water. Always use plain white sugar. The nutrients that are in raw sugar and honey are good for people, but not so good for hummingbirds. There is absolutely no need to put food coloring in the water and it may actually be harmful to the birds.  

I will let you know if the moat actually works.


  1. We've got ants at this place everywhere, they like the gravely soil in some spots. I don't have a hummingbird feeder anymore, but this makes me want to put one back out.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Bliss. I have not had one ant - but not very many hummingbirds either! I get most of my birds in the late summer. I guess I'm on their way back home rather than a summer vacation stay.

  2. How clever! I have a few hummingbird feeders that I need to fill and hang. Thanks for including advise on how to fill them.
    The mix of orange and magenta flowers may be odd, but is actually quite pleasing in your pictures. Those orange native columbines are my favourites. I always wish I had more of them.

    1. Thank you Jennifer - I love the natives too. Hope you have loads of hummingbirds!

  3. I seem to attract wasps with hummingbird feeders, so I quit hanging them in my yard. We do get a few every year when the bee balm blooms, so they should be visiting any time now! Your flowers look lovely!