July 24, 2020
Did you know honey bees will star to feed at a hummingbird feeder station? If this happens, how can you discourage the honey bees?
Many of us are animal lovers, which includes helping our birds get through droughts and offering some extra treats for the birds native to our areas. If you have hummingbirds and have a feeder for them, you may have noticed our honey bee friends constantly in the area. If the honey bees are emptying the feeder before the hummingbirds get there, we can fix this quite easily.
At some point in the summer, most areas will go through a brief drought where water supplies for honey bees can become sparse in certain locations. If that happens, honey bees will look for food sources wherever they can find them, including your hummingbird feeder. Hummingbird feeders are not filled with seed, but rather the same thing honey bees love… sugar water.
There will undoubtedly come a time during the course of the summer when you look outside and you will see dozens of honey bees slurping up the sugar water from the feeder to take back to their hive. The bees will not generally be agitated, as they are simply concentrating on getting the water and getting it back to the rest of their colony. They can, however, use up the supply as well as scare off the hummingbirds from feeding. If there are too many bees visiting the feeder every day, it will also be difficult for the hummingbirds to get into position on the feeder to get their daily dose of sugar water.
To get the honey bees to leave the area, you are also going to have to punish the birds for a few days. Once you see honey bees gathering at the feeder in number, you will need to let the hummingbirds get their daily fill, then remove the feeder. After about three or four days, the honey bees will think the food source has dried up and they will stop coming around. Hummingbirds, however, are far more loyal. Even if the feeder is not out there, they will continue to visit the spot to see if it returns. After the coast should is clear, you can rehang the feeder for hummingbirds.
In all likelihood, you will have to repeat this process a few times during the summer months if you want to keep the honey bees away. Of course, you could also put up another feeder away from the home for the honey bees, because we have to make sure they have a source of food too, right?!
Photo By piccaya (Envato Elements)