Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Use Colored Hummingbird Food

Please don't use the hummingbird food with the red dye in it. It's not necessary to have red food when feeders always have bright colors to attract the birds. If you need some extra red for your feeder, tie a ribbon on it.

Those tiny bodies do not need to deal with the toxicity of food colorings and dyes. Despite the FDA approval of red dye #40, enough scientific evidence has accumulated that it has been banned in a number of countries.

You don't need to pay expensive prices for colored sugar. Simply use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and make your own. Be sure to boil the water, stir in the sugar and boil another 30 seconds, then cool and store unused portion in the refrigerator. My Ruby-throated Hummingbirds love this blend.

If you don't think they'll find your feeder, put a cheap Christmas bow on it and there will be no problem. If you're still not convinced, read more on the subject.


Anonymous said...

Hi Donna, I receive your newsletters and want to tell you how much I enjoy them. We have a problem. We love to watch the hummingbirds feed only the wasps come immediately to feed on the feeder as well. We put a paper bag close to the feeder as this is suppose to look like wasp nest and keep them away...has not worked!! The feeder is not out 5 mins and they are there, how do we get rid of them? The little fellow comes around quite often, but not when the wasps are there. I really do not want to take it down, but do not want a wasp nest there. Any help you could give us would be much appreciated.

sharingsunshine said...

I used to have this problem when I had the "typical" hummingbird feeder. As I was reading some info on your question I realized I've not had the problem since I switched to a window feeder, which I did because it was so easy to clean.

I've read that the yellow "flower" at the feeding port is very attractive to bees. My hummingbird feeder doesn't have those. View photo of my feeder

It has a holder that attaches to a window, but I will move it about without the holder since my problem is ants getting in. So sometimes I'll sit on the deck rail or a bench on the porch. Being red, the hummers always find it, but the ants get confused.

The neat thing about this feeder is that it's SOOOO easy to clean and in the winter I can use it on the window to feed the titmice and chickadees. They feed while I'm on the chair only 4' from the window. What a great winter view!

The HummZinger is another one recommended for a problem with wasps, but I've never used it. Hummzinger Ultra Hummingbird Feeder

Here's some other info on your question that I found online:

To keep bees from hummingbird feeder try giving the insects their own feeder.You will need two Hummingbird feeders, one for the bees and wasps and one for the Hummingbirds. Bees and wasps are more attracted to higher concentrations of sugar, so in their feeder use a nectar ratio of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. In the Hummingbirds feeder, instead of using the standard 1 to 4 ratio, use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 5 parts water. This ratio although not as sweet as the 1 to 4, will still be good enough for the Hummingbirds , but not nearly as attractive to the bees and wasps as the feeder with the 1 to 3 ratio. Give the bees and wasps a few hours to attach themselves to their feeder then move it away from the Hummingbird feeder and hope they follow.

How to keep bees away from hummingbird feeder...Buy a basin or saucer-type Hummingbird feeder. These type feeders are pretty much drip proof, so they're not as likely to attract insects in the first place. Also, the nectar level will be lower and out of reach to the insects, but not out of reach to the Hummingbirds with their long tongues.

Hope that's helpful to you!

Share This Post