Friday, July 6, 2018

The Best Way To Keep Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders: DIY Ant Cups

Guess what ants love more than anything else in the world?
Sugar water.
What's in that hummingbird feeder?
Sugar water.
See the problem?

The best way to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders is with ant cups.
The easiest solution is to go buy one at the store.
On the other hand, they often cost upwards of $8 which seems excessive and if, like me, the closest store with hummingbird feeder supplies is half an hour from your house, you may feel motivated to find a DIY solution.

Instructions for making DIY Ant Cups for Hummingbird Feeders.

Find something to use for the cup. I made two of them, one with the cup that came on the laundry detergent, and the other with the cap from a can of hairspray.

Find something to use for the hook. I just happen to live on land that has a lot of fallen chain-link fence so I used fence ties because they're laying around all over the place. A length of metal coat hanger would work too. Look for something metal that is strong enough to support the weight of the feeder but that can also be bent.

Before bending hooks into the metal, heat one end until it is hot enough to melt through the plastic cup. Poke the metal through the lid and allow to cool.

At this point, the cup will most likely not be water tight. Seal the hole around the hook with a strong water proof glue. I used Gorilla Glue which takes 12 hours to dry.

Once dry and secure, add water and dish soap to the cup. This way, the birds won't try to drink the water but the ants can't swim across the proverbial moat. Another option would be to coat the inside bottom of the cup in petroleum jelly.

Generally, once the ants figure out that the path to sugar is blocked, they will stop trying to access the feeder - at least for awhile. Even if the ants seem to have gone away, I recommend using the cups all the time because it only takes one renegade ant to "rediscover" the feeder and send out the bat signal to trigger a new feeding frenzy.

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