How To Keep Bees Away From Hummingbird Feeders: A Complete Guide

Watching hummingbirds flutter around your nectar feeder brings joy, but bees hogging the feeder can be a nuisance. While both are beneficial pollinators, bees can intimidate delicate hummers. With some strategic tweaks to your setup and maintenance, you can deter bees and create an oasis just for hummingbirds.

If you’re short on time, here are some quick tips: Site the feeder at least 10 feet from bee-attracting flowers. Use a bee guard or mesh screen. Choose red nectar ports. Clean the feeder regularly with a 10% bleach solution. Avoid fragrances that lure bees.

Location Tips for Deterring Bees

When it comes to keeping bees away from hummingbird feeders, the location plays a crucial role. Here are some location tips that can help deter bees and create a more enjoyable feeding experience for hummingbirds:

Site feeders at least 10 feet from flowers

Bees are naturally attracted to flowers, as they are an abundant source of nectar. To minimize the chances of bees being drawn to your hummingbird feeders, it is recommended to place the feeders at least 10 feet away from any flowering plants.

This distance will help reduce the likelihood of bees detecting the sweet nectar scent and interrupting the hummingbirds’ feeding routine.

Avoid placing near bee homes

Bees are known to establish hives or bee homes in various locations, such as trees, shrubs, or even man-made structures like sheds or fences. To prevent bees from being attracted to your hummingbird feeders, it is essential to avoid placing them near these potential bee homes.

The proximity to a bee colony can increase the chances of bees discovering the feeders and potentially competing with the hummingbirds for the nectar.

Set up multiple feeders to spread bees out

Having multiple hummingbird feeders strategically placed around your yard can help spread out the bee activity. By providing multiple feeding stations, the bees are less likely to concentrate on a single feeder, reducing the competition and allowing the hummingbirds to access their food without interference.

It’s important to regularly monitor all the feeders to ensure they are clean and filled with fresh nectar.

By following these location tips, you can greatly minimize the presence of bees around your hummingbird feeders and create a peaceful environment for both the hummingbirds and yourself.

Specialized Equipment to Exclude Bees

When it comes to keeping bees away from hummingbird feeders, using specialized equipment can be an effective solution. These innovative tools are designed to deter bees while still allowing hummingbirds to access the nectar. Here are some popular options:

Bee guards surrounding nectar ports

One effective way to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders is by using bee guards. These are small, plastic or metal screens that surround the nectar ports of the feeder. The mesh size is small enough to prevent bees from accessing the nectar, but large enough to allow hummingbirds to feed comfortably.

This simple yet ingenious solution ensures that only hummingbirds can access the nectar, while keeping pesky bees at bay.

Mesh screens on reservoirs

Another option to exclude bees from hummingbird feeders is to use mesh screens on the reservoirs. These screens are placed over the openings of the reservoirs, preventing bees from entering and contaminating the nectar.

The mesh should have a small enough aperture to keep bees out, while still allowing hummingbirds to easily sip the nectar. This method ensures that the nectar remains bee-free, providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience for the hummingbirds.

Narrow slots that only admit hummer beaks

Some hummingbird feeders are designed with narrow slots that only admit the beaks of hummingbirds. These slots are too small for bees to access, effectively excluding them from the nectar. Hummingbirds, with their slender beaks, are able to easily insert them into the slots and feed on the nectar.

This specialized design not only keeps bees away but also prevents larger birds from accessing the nectar, making it exclusive to hummingbirds.

It’s important to note that while these specialized equipment options can help keep bees away from hummingbird feeders, it’s still essential to regularly clean and maintain the feeders to ensure the health and well-being of the hummingbirds.

By taking the necessary precautions and using the appropriate equipment, you can create an inviting environment for hummingbirds while keeping bees at a distance.

Nectar Strategies Discouraging Bees

Bees are known to be attracted to the sweet nectar found in hummingbird feeders. While it may be enjoyable to watch these buzzing insects as they gather around the feeders, it can also be frustrating for hummingbird enthusiasts who want to ensure that their feathered friends have exclusive access to the nectar.

Fortunately, there are several strategies that can be employed to discourage bees from visiting your hummingbird feeders.

Red nectar ports

One effective way to deter bees from your hummingbird feeders is by using feeders with red nectar ports. Bees are not attracted to the color red and have difficulty seeing it. By choosing feeders with red ports or adding red accessories to your existing feeders, you can make it more challenging for bees to locate the nectar.

This simple adjustment can significantly reduce bee activity around your feeders, allowing the hummingbirds to feed undisturbed.

Sugar-water ratio of 1:4

The sugar-water mixture used in hummingbird feeders is another factor that can influence bee presence. It is recommended to use a sugar-water ratio of 1:4, which means one part sugar to four parts water. This concentration is less attractive to bees compared to a sweeter mixture.

By adjusting the sugar-water ratio, you can make the nectar less appealing to bees without compromising the nutritional needs of the hummingbirds.

Avoid fragrance and flavor additives

When preparing the nectar for your hummingbird feeders, it is essential to avoid using any fragrance or flavor additives. While these additives may enhance the appeal of the nectar to hummingbirds, they can also attract bees. Bees have a keen sense of smell and are drawn to fragrances and flavors.

By keeping the nectar simple and free from any additional additives, you can reduce the likelihood of attracting bees to your feeders.

For more information on how to keep bees away from hummingbird feeders, you can visit Audubon, a reputable source for bird-related information.

Maintenance Tips for a Bee-Free Feeder

Change nectar every 2-3 days

One of the most effective ways to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders is to regularly change the nectar. Bees are attracted to the sweet scent of nectar, so if you leave the same nectar in the feeder for too long, it can become a bee magnet.

By changing the nectar every 2-3 days, you can ensure that it remains fresh and appealing to hummingbirds while discouraging bees from visiting.

Thoroughly clean with diluted bleach

Cleaning your hummingbird feeder regularly is essential not only for the health of the birds but also to discourage bees from being attracted to it. Use a solution of diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) to thoroughly clean all parts of the feeder.

Rinse it well with clean water to remove any residue before refilling it with fresh nectar. This will help eliminate any lingering scent or residue that might attract bees.

Wipe down surfaces

In addition to regular cleaning, wiping down the surfaces of your hummingbird feeder can also help deter bees. Bees are attracted to the sugary residue that may accumulate on the outside of the feeder, so wiping it down with a clean cloth or sponge can make it less appealing to them.

Regularly wiping down the feeder will also help keep it looking clean and presentable, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your backyard.

For more tips on attracting hummingbirds and keeping bees away from your feeders, check out Audubon’s guide. Remember, it’s important to create an inviting environment for hummingbirds while finding ways to discourage bees from taking over their food source.

By following these maintenance tips, you can enjoy the beauty of hummingbirds without the hassle of bees.

When Bees Still Persist

Despite your best efforts, sometimes bees may still persist in visiting your hummingbird feeders. Here are a few additional strategies you can try:

Try a feeder moat or water trap

One effective method to deter bees from accessing your hummingbird feeders is by using a feeder moat or water trap. These devices create a barrier between the bees and the nectar, preventing them from reaching the food source.

Feeder moats are typically filled with water, while water traps are designed to hold sugary water mixtures that attract bees away from the feeders. By diverting the bees’ attention elsewhere, you can significantly reduce their presence at your hummingbird feeders.

Supplement with bee feeders away from hummer feeders

If bees are persistently attracted to your hummingbird feeders, consider setting up separate bee feeders away from the hummingbird area. These feeders can be filled with a mixture of sugar water to provide an alternative food source for the bees.

By offering them an alternative, you may be able to redirect their focus away from the hummingbird feeders. Just make sure to position the bee feeders in an area where they won’t interfere with the hummingbirds’ feeding habits.

Gently relocate bee homes as a last resort

If all else fails, and you have identified a nearby bee colony that is consistently causing issues, you may need to consider relocating their home. However, it’s important to note that this should only be done as a last resort and with great care.

It is generally recommended to seek assistance from a professional beekeeper or local beekeeping association to ensure the safe and ethical relocation of the bees. They will have the expertise and equipment necessary to handle the process properly without causing harm to the bees or their habitat.

Remember, bees play a crucial role in pollination and are an essential part of our ecosystem. It’s important to find a balance between attracting hummingbirds and respecting the presence of bees. By implementing these strategies and being mindful of the needs of both species, you can create a harmonious environment in your yard that supports the well-being of both hummingbirds and bees.


Deterring bees from your hummingbird feeder takes a bit of strategic placement, equipment adaptations, and maintenance. But with some tweaking, you can prevent bees from bullying hummingbirds away from their nectar source.

Take simple steps like distancing, using bee guards, and cleaning regularly to create a safe, bee-free space for hummers to thrive.

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