Keep Bees Away from Hummingbird Feeders with These 6 Tips

Use bee moats or guards. So only hummingbirds can eat the sugary food, buy or add a bee guard to your feeder. “Bee guards“ can be added to feeders to keep bees and yellow jackets out of the sweet solution by covering the opening with a thick mesh

Water between the feeder and bees is another approach. “Bees can't swim, so a bee moat, a tray of water between the nectar source and airborne suitors, may also work,” explains van Rees.

Clean the feeder often. There's more to do after hanging the feeder than ensuring hummingbird food. You must also clean it regularly. Dr. Ellis advises changing feeders every other day and properly cleaning them to prevent mold formation.

Not cleaning the feeder often could damage hummingbirds. “The sugary solution will ferment, mold will grow, and hummingbirds will suffer,” explains Dr. Ellis. “Keeping the inside and outside of the hummingbird feeder clean is also important to keep insects away.”  

Reduce feeder coating sugar. The manner you fill the hummingbird feeder can potentially attract pests. “Avoid letting excess sugar collect on the feeder's outside during filling, and check for leaks,” adds van Rees.  

Eliminating sugary leftovers from your feeder reduces insects. “When refilling the feeder, make sure the outside and your hands are sugar solution-free,” advises Dr. Ellis.

Give bees and insects water. Watering bees, wasps, and other insects might keep them away from the hummingbird feeder. Van Rees believes damp puddles or birdbaths will also attract bees, so strategically placing these in your garden may distract them.  

Plant pollinator gardens. Flowers with nectar attract bees. Grow bee-attracting plants to keep them away from the hummingbird feeder. Van Rees recommends mints, lavender, coneflowers, and sunflowers.

Move the feeder. If you follow all the other suggestions and still see too many bees and wasps near the hummingbird feeder, remove it and move it. Different factors may keep these insects around.  

"Maybe a heatwave or other event reduced the amount of alternative food," adds Dr. Ellis. Stinging insects may be "hangry"—bad-tempered or irritated due to hunger—and keep hummingbirds away.