Tips for Using Hummingbird Feeders

1. Use less spring nectar. Fill your feeders less early in the year because hummingbirds are scarce. Fill feeders a third full of nectar and add more as hummingbirds come to avoid waste.  

2. Regularly clean feeders. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned twice a week in hot weather and once in cool weather. Wash the feeders with hot water, a hummingbird feeder brush, and diluted vinegar (one part vinegar, two parts water).  

3. Avoid red dyes. If you use a red hummingbird feeder, synthetic red dyed nectar is unnecessary and harmful. Instead, buy clear hummingbird nectar or prepare your own with water and refined white sugar.  

4. Hang shade feeders. If not cleaned, hummingbird feeders can grow bacteria. Although nectar should be refreshed every three to five days, hanging feeders in light shade slows spoilage.  

5. Keep feeders pest-free. An ant moat or sugar water in a saucer will deter ants and bees from hummingbird feeders. Avoid using petroleum-based pesticides like petroleum jelly on hummingbird feeders; they can kill hummers.  

6. Disperse feeders. Multiple hummingbird feeders in your garden should be 10 feet apart. Male hummingbirds defend their territories from rival males.  

7. Plant natives. Although useful, hummingbird feeders operate best with nectar-rich plants. Hummingbirds love native plants like cardinals, bee balm, and columbines, which brighten flower beds.