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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 18:52   #1
Harley Babe
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Honey bees are taking over my hummingbird feeders Help!

I just noticed yesterday that my feeders are getting more and more honey bees on them. My hummers can't eat and I'm really getting discourage. Can someone give me so good and quick advice. I tried to swat one yesterday and when I did the stinger went in my ankle. I would appreciate it very dearly.
My husband told me they were honey bees.
Thanks!
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Old Monday 27th July 2009, 20:15   #2
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I had that problem too. I changed to the Aspects Hummzinger feeders. (I know, it sounds like a commercial.) The nectar is too far from the "flower" holes for the bees. The woodpeckers and orioles can get to some of the nectar with their long beaks but not much.

I think there are other methods to discourage bees and I'm sure the more knowledgeable members will respond with them.

In the mean time take a look at this older thread about bees on hummingbird feeders:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....s+hummingbirds

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Old Tuesday 28th July 2009, 19:55   #3
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First, move the feeders. Bees are not very smart, they will have trouble finding a feeder that has been moved.
As much as I love my soy-sauce bottles, they are prone to wasp-drainage by yellow jackets. I made a Bee trap out of a funnel and a large jar. The Yellow Jackets fall in, but they can't fall out... I placed the trap under a feeder on my porch.
Use perching feeders in bee prone places. You still get bees, but they can't drain the feeders.
I've heard of bee-guards? Never seen one.
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 03:09   #4
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As mentioned, move your feeder. Do this in the early morning or late evening when bees have gone back to the hive to avoid being stung. The HummZingers and similar basin feeders are the best way of keeping bees from getting to the nectar as mentioned. If the bees keep finding your feeder, take them down for a week.

Good luck.
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 15:25   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backyard Sanctuary View Post
If the bees keep finding your feeder, take them down for a week.
This seems a bit extreme. I would worry that the hummers might have based the location of their nests on the fact that there was a good and steady supply of nectar nearby and to remove them for a week seems a bit . . . well . . . extreme. I don't believe they feed the youngsters nectar (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) but the nectar gives them the energy to find food for the young ones.

When you think about it, the price of the feeders (assuming they last a few years) is a very small part of the overall cost of feeding hummingbirds so maybe the best solution is to purchase feeders that are bee-proof.

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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 17:56   #6
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That's my advice too. Replace your present feeders with Hummzingers & you won't have any trouble with wasps & bees (though earwigs are another problem, but at least they don't keep the hummers from feeding).
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 18:06   #7
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(though earwigs are another problem, but at least they don't keep the hummers from feeding).
I just stand out by the feeders until my ears are full of earwigs. Then I move away from the feeders and shake them out.

(Just kidding. But I did have to look them up in Wiki.)
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 18:36   #8
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One of my hummer feeders is a HummZinger, and I have two glass feeders up as well. I am a beekeeper, and surprisingly, the bees haven't found the feeders yet. When they do, I will place wire guards on the glass feeders to keep the bees out.
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2009, 20:02   #9
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I just stand out by the feeders until my ears are full of earwigs. Then I move away from the feeders and shake them out.

(Just kidding. But I did have to look them up in Wiki.)
It's because of earwigs that our spring garden fails most years--the little critters eat the seedlings as soon as they emerge from the ground. It sounds like you don't get them in Arizona, or maybe you're not a gardener? I'm getting a little off-topic here, I know.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2009, 03:59   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
This seems a bit extreme. I would worry that the hummers might have based the location of their nests on the fact that there was a good and steady supply of nectar nearby and to remove them for a week seems a bit . . . well . . . extreme. I don't believe they feed the youngsters nectar (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) but the nectar gives them the energy to find food for the young ones.

When you think about it, the price of the feeders (assuming they last a few years) is a very small part of the overall cost of feeding hummingbirds so maybe the best solution is to purchase feeders that are bee-proof.
Not extreme at all. Survival has taught them not to rely on a single source for food. Hummingbirds nest were there are multiple foodsource.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2009, 14:33   #11
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Originally Posted by Backyard Sanctuary View Post
Not extreme at all. Survival has taught them not to rely on a single source for food. Hummingbirds nest were there are multiple foodsource.
Well, I couldn't do that. For one thing, I don't think there is a decent nectar-producing flower within 1/4 mile of my house--most likely farther. And I feed the hummingbirds first and foremost for their benefit. Seeing and enjoying them is secondary. Likewise with my wildlife feeder (birds, mammals, etc.) and my watering pond (which has a 24x7 supply of fresh water)--I couldn't just stop providing those--not even for a day. Once I started feeding and watering the wildlife, it became a responsibility to continue.

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Old Thursday 30th July 2009, 22:03   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
Well, I couldn't do that. For one thing, I don't think there is a decent nectar-producing flower within 1/4 mile of my house--most likely farther. And I feed the hummingbirds first and foremost for their benefit. Seeing and enjoying them is secondary. Likewise with my wildlife feeder (birds, mammals, etc.) and my watering pond (which has a 24x7 supply of fresh water)--I couldn't just stop providing those--not even for a day. Once I started feeding and watering the wildlife, it became a responsibility to continue.
PumaMan,

I hear you and good on you. I myself have 4 nectar feeders, 5 seed feeders and 2 suet feeders and one bird bath I maintain daily (lately, twice daily on some). My response was just a recommendation of a short term (hopeful) solution to the bee problem Harley Babe is having.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2009, 23:51   #13
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Originally Posted by Backyard Sanctuary View Post
PumaMan,

I hear you and good on you. I myself have 4 nectar feeders, 5 seed feeders and 2 suet feeders and one bird bath I maintain daily (lately, twice daily on some).
I think we're on the same page when it comes to our love of wildlife.

Here's to your backyard sanctuary:
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Old Friday 31st July 2009, 01:58   #14
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You might try filling one feeder with a 3 to 1 ratio which is much sweeter than the normal 4 to 1. The bees will use the sweetest one, leaving the others to the hummers.
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Old Thursday 6th August 2009, 17:35   #15
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You might try filling one feeder with a 3 to 1 ratio which is much sweeter than the normal 4 to 1. The bees will use the sweetest one, leaving the others to the hummers.
Or reduce your solution to a 5 to 1 ratio, which is less attractive to bees.
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Old Thursday 6th August 2009, 17:39   #16
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Or reduce your solution to a 5 to 1 ratio, which is less attractive to bees.
Yes, I mentioned this yesterday in the other thread on this problem. Works for me.
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Old Thursday 6th August 2009, 18:30   #17
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It might not work in every situation (depends on how desperate the bees are), but if you don't want to invest in new feeders it's worth a try.

Africanized bees are a very real problem in my area (which doesn't have many beekeepers anymore), so I'm not keen on subsidizing them with sweeter solution. I don't have bee problems often, but when I do I put out a commercial wasp trap partially filled with sugar water plus some fruit juice and/or stale soft drink and hang it in place of one of the feeders to select for the problem individuals.
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Old Saturday 27th August 2011, 05:20   #18
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I wanted to let you know I joined this forum just because of this thread. I'm in San Antonio, TX and we are in the midst of a terrible drought with triple-digit temperatures. The vegetation is dead or dying and so all the wildlife are competing with each other for food and water. My area was suddenly inundated with honey bees which swarmed and overtook all my hummingbird feeders, forcing me to have to take them all down right after spotting numerous new hummer nests. It took a week, but after utilizing some of the tips listed here, the bees have largely moved on for the moment and the hummers are back. Here's what I did:

First of all, the only feeder I'm using at the moment is a flat feeder with the tube top. It is all red--no yellow flowers to attract the bees and wasps. I wrapped plumbers tape around the threaded parts to provide a tight seal and made sure that there were no leaks. Then I soaked four sponges in Mountain Dew and tossed them as far as I could into the woods behind my house to give the bees a sweeter food source then waited until the bees disappeared from my yard. It took a week, but gradually they started to thin out and so far so good. A couple of wasps have landed on it but that's normal--them I can deal with. I just keep making sure there are no drips and change the water every two days because of the heat.

Thanks for the tips, and if anyone else is having problems this is what has worked for me so far.

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Old Sunday 28th August 2011, 17:50   #19
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When it gets real bad, I use Off yard fogger bug repellant. I take the hummer feeders that are hanging from my front and back decks down, spray the fogger, and rehang the feeders. Bees will stay away for several hours. I also have a hanging glass wasp catcher that I put coke in but I find that the coke dries very quickly here in the Az. heat.
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Old Monday 29th August 2011, 00:18   #20
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I've heard of bee-guards? Never seen one.[/quote]
____________

Really? Perky Pet makes a very popular (and common) feeder with bee guard.
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Old Tuesday 30th August 2011, 01:14   #21
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Thanks for the tips, and if anyone else is having problems this is what has worked for me so far.

Thank YOU for posting your recipe for success! I never would have thought of Mountain Dew, but I guess I'll have to try some (only for the bees, though).

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Perky Pet makes a very popular (and common) feeder with bee guard.
That's right, and though you can buy replacement "bee guards" for those particular feeders they're not something you can add onto an existing feeder (at least not easily). IMO, "bee guards" are a sign of poor feeder design.
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