How to Keep Yellow Jackets Off Hummer Feeder

As it gets warmer, backyard bird lovers look forward to seeing ruby-throated hummingbirds again. But one annoying guest often shows up too - the yellow jacket. These buzzing bugs love to swarm around hummingbird feeders, scaring the birds away. Yet, there are good ways to keep them from ruining your birdwatching spot. The aim is to find ways that work well and are gentle on the environment.

Understanding the Yellowjacket Menace

Yellow jackets can be a real bother around hummingbird feeders. They're not like honey bees, which help pollinate plants. Yellow jackets buzz around looking for the sweet nectar solely for themselves. Their homes get bigger in summer, with more yellow jackets becoming aggressive hunters for sugary foods. It's important to know about their quest for easy sugar to keep them away from hummingbird feeders.

These insects build nests of various sizes, from as small as a nickel to as big as a basketball. Their groups can get pretty enormous, with over 10,000 working and 15,000 resting spots. In places with mild winters, nests can last for years, housing plenty of queen wasps. This huge population makes it tough to avoid conflicts at hummingbird feeders, which are a favorite spot for their meals.

Yellow jackets travel far from their nests, up to 1,000 feet, or about the length of three football fields. This means your feeder could still be at risk, even if it's far from their home. Their love for sugar can lead to dangerous encounters, causing over 500,000 people each year to seek medical help from their stings.

It's up to us to keep our feeds safe from these buzzing hunters. By knowing their habits and why they gather around feeders, we can protect them. This way, we can have peaceful, enjoyable times watching hummingbirds without the worry of yellowjackets.

Simple Preventive Measures

Keeping yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeder isn't hard. You can use some easy steps to protect it. These steps keep the nectar safe for your feathered friends from bugs.

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Saucer-style hummingbird feeders are a good choice. They are shallow and wide. This makes it hard for yellow jackets to get to the nectar, unlike the deeper feeders they like. You can also add an ant moat. This stops crawling bugs from getting to the nectar.

Try hanging the feeder with fishing line. This makes it tough for yellow jackets to get close to the nectar. Moving the feeder a little every now and then can also help. Yellow jackets get confused and can't find it easily.

By using these methods, you can keep yellow jackets away. This makes sure your hummingbirds peacefully enjoy their meals.

How to Keep Yellow Jackets Off Hummer Feeder

Maintaining a hummingbird feeder is a joy, but it can be hard to keep yellow jackets away. These stubborn insects disrupt both the hummingbirds and us. Luckily, special feeder features and tips can keep yellow jackets off and let hummingbirds enjoy their food.

Using nectar guard tips on the feeder's openings is a top trick. These guards welcome hummingbirds to sip while stopping yellow jackets. Another trick is hanging up fake wasp nests close by. Yellow jackets think these are real colonies, so they stay away.

Remember, avoid pesticides to solve this problem. Pesticides hurt not only yellow jackets but also hummingbirds and helpful bees. It's better to use natural methods.

With the right feeder features, tips, and a few fake nests, you can protect your hummingbird feeders. This way, you make a safe space for the beautiful birds, free of yellow jackets.

Providing Alternative Food Sources

To keep yellowjackets away from hummingbird feeders, offer a food source just for them. You can place a shallow dish with sugar water or jelly bits far from where hummingbirds feed. Also, hang yellowjacket bait traps close by to draw them away from the feeders.

Moreover, plant flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. Mints, lavenders, coneflowers, and sunflowers are great because they draw in the insects. This gives the yellowjackets a more natural food choice.

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By giving yellowjackets food far from the hummingbirds, you cut down on conflict. Using both artificial and natural food sources can make your backyard a peaceful place. It's all about combining the right tactics.

Sugar water dish
Provides a dedicated food source for yellowjackets
May still attract some yellowjackets to the general area
Yellowjacket bait traps
Actively removes yellowjackets from the vicinity
Requires regular maintenance and monitoring
Bee- and hummingbird-friendly flowers
Offers a natural, desirable food source for yellowjackets
May take time for the flowers to establish and become effective

Combine these methods to keep yellowjackets away from hummingbird feeders. This way, the birds get to enjoy their nectar without interference. And you provide the wasps with another food option.

Dealing with Nearby Nests

Seeing yellow jackets near hummingbird feeders means there might be nests close by. These nests might be underground, in trees, or even inside walls. In the summer, these nests grow, and the yellow jackets can become bothersome.

Dr. Tracy Ellis notes that a hummingbird feeder should supplement the bird's diet. But, Dr. Charles van Rees points out that bees and wasps also love sweet nectar. Dr. Ellis warns that swatting at these insects can accidentally cause stings.

If you have a problem, the best step is to call a professional pest control service. They can get rid of the yellowjacket nests for good. This will keep the pests off the hummingbird feeder.

Here are more ways to handle yellowjacket nests:

  • Making your nectar less sweet by mixing it 5 parts water to 1 part sugar can repel yellowjackets.
  • Leaving a separate sweet spot for the yellow jackets, like a bowl of jelly or sugar water, can divert their attention.
  • Hanging up yellowjacket traps might draw them away from the feeders. But, this only works if they prefer the trap's sweetness.

Tackling nearby yellowjacket nests head-on with professional help and these tips can help. It lets homeowners enjoy their hummingbird feeders without fear of stings or unwelcome guests.

Promoting Bee-Friendly Flowers

Gardening with plants that bees love can make your backyard a buzzing area for them. This can draw away yellow jackets from bird feeders. Plants like fuchsia, nicotiana, and nasturtiums attract both bees and hummingbirds.

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Creating a space that welcomes these creatures means you can watch hummingbirds without worries. This is important because hummingbirds can die from bee stings. Bees are crucial too. They help pollinate many plants that we eat, like 70 out of 100 major crops.

If you plant yellow flowers, it can help bees find an alternative food source. This keeps a good balance between helping hummingbirds and supporting bees which are key to our food sources.

  • Plant nectar-rich flowers like fuchsia, nicotiana, nasturtiums, trumpet vine, bee balm, and cardinal flower to attract both pollinators and hummingbirds.
  • Avoid using pesticides, as they can be harmful to both bees and hummingbirds.
  • Consider planting yellow flowers in your pollinator-friendly garden to provide an alternative nectar source for bees.

Being bee-friendly in your garden means you help both hummingbirds and the bees they rely on. It's all about keeping the natural world in balance.


This article has given a full guide on keeping yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders. It talks about the persistent yellow jackets and how to stop them. You can do this by using special feeder designs, offering other food, and dealing with nearby nests.

The main goal is to help create a place where hummingbirds can feed safely. This is without the bothersome yellow jackets. It stresses the use of natural methods to protect birds and pollinators. This way, backyard birding becomes more enjoyable.

Throughout the article, we've looked at important strategies for managing hummingbird feeders and keeping yellow jackets away. Tips for better backyard birding were shared too. This includes choosing the right feeder and making other food sources.

By following these tips, you can still enjoy hummingbirds in your backyard. This is without irritating insects. This guide gives you the tools to keep your feeders safe for hummingbirds. It also helps you appreciate the beauty of nature more.

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