Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Got Ants?

We have several hummingbird feeders hanging in various spots around our motorhome from April until about October...  or even longer if we're where the birds are wintering.  I don't think any 2 of our feeders are alike, but one thing they all have in common....  the sugar water attracts ants!

I think some of our feeders have a little "ant moat" built in to the top, but those are usually quite small, and the water evaporates really quick.

As I've written before, Bill is very clever about designing and building great stuff.  
He made this ant deterrent from an empty soup can...  even painted it red when he got done...
It's really easy to make and all the supplies can be bought at Lowe's or Home Depot at very little cost.  I suppose if you don't have a drill you could make a hole in the bottom of the can by punching it with a nail...  just don't make too big a whole for the washer to cover.

We've not had an ant problem at any of the feeders where we use this.  The beauty of it (aside from no ants) is that it holds enough water that you don't have to fill it constantly.

 Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

One thing to remember if you have "nectar" out for the hummingbirds is that you should change it often.  We're having 100 degree temps here in Texas and it doesn't take long for that sugar water solution to ferment or otherwise go bad.  Sure don't want to kill off the little guys by giving them some bad bacteria!  

Speaking of 100 degree weather...  the hummers aren't the only ones who need something to drink...
This little Chickadee comes quite often to a little hanging water pan near our motorhome.
I'm not sure whether he's swallowing here or just sighing a big sigh of relief for the water....

And...  just to add a little color....
The Painted Buntings visit us every day.  Here the male is at his favorite feeder.  They really seem to go after the millet.....  kinda nice, because the cardinals prefer the black oiler sunflower seeds and leave the millet-eaters alone here.

Yesterday it got to 106 degrees...  the heat index was 116 degrees...  we didn't have much bird activity...  
just too darned hot for everyone!

That's All For Today!


  1. Best tip of the day! We're use it when we get home!

  2. Around here I mostly have an issue with the squirrels, but I haven't put out any feeders this season, even though we've been home since February. Just didn't get to it.
    It's finally cooled off here, but that won't last long.

  3. Great tip if you have an ant problem. Does Bill have a neat tip to keep bees away from the hummingbird feeder? We had to take our feeders down because the bees were all over the place. We put out thistle seed for finches, and they got so numerous they were eating us out of house and home, so we had to stop that too. Now we just toss out a wild bird see mix, get some finches, sparrows, doves, silver cardinals, the occasional northern cardinal and cactus wrens. That's all in SE Arizona.

  4. yes... I had more problems with the bees than the ants.. but what a great ant deterrent! We got bumble bees... awfully things but man! they can get pissed at the smallest interference...

    Seeing a Painted bunting daily? oh, joy ... sure hope I can get my yard fixed the way I want ... we don't have your temperatures ... good lord! 116... 93 high for today! yay ... but it's still sooooo hot and muggy. ol heavy air... bah

  5. Sharon, I don't know how you and Bill stand that heat!!!

  6. Holy Hotcakes, Batman! I guess that's the reason I leave Texas for the summer.

  7. That ant moat is a great idea. You should start marketing them and then form a an international corporation to supply and sell them to the world and then. . . . oh, just got carried away a bit, but it is a great idea!!

  8. Don't know that we have an ant problem, but I do know the solution. Keep dry!

  9. Good tip on the ant moat. We'll have to give it a try.

    I love that Painted Bunting, but I don't know how you stand that heat.

  10. Bill's clever idea in keeping ants from the hummingbird feeders will be passed onto friends of ours who were telling us about the problem this past weekend. He is a clever fellow for sure. Hope you are both keeping cool in those temps.

  11. 106 degrees sounds really unpleasant!! We think that 85 is hot here in Colorado.

    We have some plastic ant moats that we bought at a birding store somewhere. They are much smaller than yours and need to be refilled every few days in hot weather. Unless the chickadees start using them as bird baths, and then they have to be refilled twice a day...


  12. I got ants, everywhere, the little household ants, marching in their lines, coming from the neighbors rotting house and from the cracks under the driveway, where they create cavities and homes. I go at them, time and time again. But only if they try to enter my house. I'm trying to train them---enter my house and you're dead and I'll go at you everywhere. Don't and I'll leave you be. They're not getting it, but I have high hopes or a stubborn nature.

    The painted bunting is so beautiful! But that kind of heat, I think I'd smother in it.