Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum: hummingbird feeders and ants

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(Zone 6a)
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UrbanWild
Aug 22, 2016 5:37 PM CST
A few days ago I hung 2 feeders on shepherds crook poles. A hummer has found it. Great. However...tiny ants found it as well. I have heard about some preventative measures. I was in Lowes today. The only option they had was this sort of popup hanger with repellant. I don't want to use something like that. What anti-ant measures are y'all using?
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Aug 22, 2016 7:09 PM CST
I've tried everything else. Those are the only thing that works for me.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Aug 23, 2016 11:02 AM CST
Some people use moats very successfully. I still haven't tried but let me go find a great link for making your own moat...

Every now and then I've dusted the area where the ants walk with Diatomaceous earth but that's not always an option.

Be right back.

*Edit to spell moat correctly.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

[Last edited by wildflowers - Aug 23, 2016 11:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Aug 23, 2016 11:07 AM CST
Here's the link for DIY ant moat - http://garden.org/ideas/view/Xeramtheum/1228/How-To-Make-an-...
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: MarĂ­a Cecilia Merlo
La Plata, ARGENTINA
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ceci
Aug 23, 2016 4:11 PM CST
I used to have the same problem. I solved it by adding a bottle cap on the hanging wire, and filling it with water.
Thumb of 2016-08-23/ceci/b72514

Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Aug 23, 2016 7:03 PM CST
I have tried "moats" but (a) they have to be kept filled...a very intensive project, because the water evaporates, and (B) because the ants can actually walk across the drowned bodies of their predecessors. I can only allow so many hours a day to the feeders.
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
Hummingbirder Butterflies Birds Dragonflies Garden Photography Container Gardener
Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Annuals Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Virginia
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krobra
Aug 23, 2016 7:35 PM CST
I use store bought ant moats

evaporation is not that bad but I do dump the water and wipe them out with a paper towel pretty much
every other time I refill the feeder to keep them clean and remove any algae or slime.
It gives the hummingbirds a place to drink water too , all the more reason to keep it clean.

Thumb of 2016-08-24/krobra/ccf030

Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Aug 24, 2016 7:11 AM CST
Nice moats. And it inspires more ideas of things to use if going DIY. Thumbs up
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

(Zone 6a)
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UrbanWild
Aug 24, 2016 1:40 PM CST
Well...sometimes I just need to get out of my own way. I gathered materials to make a moat...then I noticed the top of the feeder looks like it also functions as a moat. So...I filled it and it immediately confused the column of ants. It has been about 6 hours and still holding. Who knew?

BTW, I think the feeders are Perky-Pet Pinch Waist Glass feeders.

Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Aug 24, 2016 2:31 PM CST
That's great, Urban! Thumbs up None of my feeders have that feature. Need to look into the Perky-Pet feeders.

Neat! I just looked and that one has a built in ant moat!! http://www.birdfeeders.com/perky-pet-buy-3-get-1-free-pinch-...
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

[Last edited by wildflowers - Aug 24, 2016 2:35 PM (+)]
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(Zone 6a)
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UrbanWild
Aug 24, 2016 9:34 PM CST
Actually discovered at Lowes tonight that mine were whatever brand Lowes stocks. The bee guards are white. Otherwise...very similar.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
Name: Kurt
Woodbridge , Va (Zone 7a)
Hummingbirder Butterflies Birds Dragonflies Garden Photography Container Gardener
Seed Starter The WITWIT Badge Annuals Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Virginia
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krobra
Aug 24, 2016 9:37 PM CST
that is funny , mom went out shopping today and came home with a built in ant trap feeder from Ace hardware for about 12 bucks.
moat is a little smaller then my add on ones , but we are giving it a go , swapped it out right before dark.


http://www.morebirds.com/node/77
Name: Connie White
Athens tn.
Im no quitter.. I will garden in TN
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TnWildflower
Sep 1, 2016 7:19 PM CST
I wonder if you put some vasaline on your string and up to the hook if that would help... Ants surely wouldnt want there feet sticky. Find out where there trails are and throw cornmeal down they eat it and die .
Respect mother Earth and connect with her .. She will return the favor.
(Zone 6a)
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UrbanWild
Sep 1, 2016 8:41 PM CST
I may try a thin coating if vaseline near the ground as insurance.

UPDATE on ant moats...

The ants were foiled by the moats. Early on, they were so numerous and used to swarming the feeder that they tried to use shear numbers and swimming to overcome the obstacle. A few actually drowned. Then, the numbers dropped precipitously. Now, you rarely see ants. You do gave to keep filling the moats but that's OK by me. I fill slowly to the point where the water is actually above the rim but held by surface tension. It is hot here so it will evaporate in 8-10 hours. Not bad really. Well designed feeder.

BTW, I picked up 2 HummZinger Ultra feeders (made in the USA) after seeing people rave about them. They also have built-in ant moats. I have yet to try them as I have two feeders out and only seem to have one hummingbird thus far...and it seems to visit sporadically.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly scented plants.
[Last edited by UrbanWild - Sep 2, 2016 8:02 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1260258 (14)
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Sep 2, 2016 7:52 AM CST
Urban, thank you for the update. Thumbs up Thumbs up

Tnwild, vaseline on the hook is a good idea.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

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