I love having birds in my garden, so I always hang a selection of bird feeders, each aimed at attracting a specific type or group of birds. The staple feeder of any garden is of course the hummingbird feeder. Who can resist those little suckers? They are gorgeous jewels that zoom around, feed, fight each other over food and make a ton of (non-annoying) racket.
What is annoying is the stupid ants have decided the hummingbird feeder is also their feeder. I honestly wouldn’t mind it- ants do serve a purpose in the garden- but their presence on the feeder often repels the hummingbirds, especially if they are of the really pheromone-y variety that stink to high heaven.
The best natural solution I’ve found for this problem is to use an hummingbird feeder ant moat (also known as an ant guard) that hangs between the feeder and whatever it’s hanging from to deter the ants from going after the sugar water in the feeder. Ants will not attempt to cross the water in the ant guard because they can’t swim and can drown in even a drop of water if they get caught up in it.
I could just buy an ant guard since there are plenty of them on the market, but almost all of them are plastic (which doesn’t last long outdoors) and, frankly, pretty ugly. I have seen some pretty ceramic ones for sale as of late, but they are pretty pricey. So I decided to make some of my own and try to come up with something eye-catching and save myself a few bucks to boot.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 1 1/2″ terracotta flower pot (find them at craft stores)
- 2 2 1/2″ x 3/16″ eye screws
- 1 3/16″ connecting nut
- 2 3/16″ nuts
- waterproof silicone sealant
Screw one of the nuts all the way down on one of the eye bolts:
Insert bolt through the bottom of the pot:
Put a dab of silicone around the bolt on the inside of the pot, then screw down the other bolt on top of it, holding the bottom bolt firm and forming a watertight seal:
Screw the connecting bolt halfway onto the eye bolt in the pot, then screw the other eye bolt onto the other side:
Allow silicone to dry for 24 hours.
Attach ant guard to wherever you hang your hummingbird feeder, fill pot with water, and hang your hummingbird feeder from it.
Feel free to paint this if you like… I left mine au naturel for now, but I might paint it later. Also, feel free to experiment with different sized pots and hardware. I like the look of the tiny pots, but in summertime I have to refill them with water almost daily. A bigger pot would not have to be filled as often.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it helps keep the hummers in your garden happy! 😉