If there is any way ants can reach a hummingbird feeder, they will. They love slurping up the sugary nectar inside and the presence of a lot of ants will often keep hummingbirds away. There are a lot of ways you can dissuade ants from reaching your feeder, like hanging it from places they simply can’t reach (the middle of a clothesline, for example), but you can also solve the problem quite rapidly without moving the feeder by putting in a water barrier. Ants are very poor swimmers and hesitate to cross even the narrowest surface of water, despite the fact that there is delicious nectar just on the other side.
One simple tool you can use to solve this problem is an “ant moat” or “ant baffle” designed specifically to use as a water barrier to keep ants away. Just install it above the feeder and add water to create a “moat” that ants can’t cross.
Some hummingbird feeders even have an ant moat incorporated into their structure: again, you just have to keep it full of water.
You’ll readily find both ant moats and feeders with a built-in ant moat online on Amazon or Ebay or in stores that specialize in birdwatching supplies.
Or Make One Yourself
You can also make your own ant moat barrier from products you probably already have at home.
Just use an aerosol can cap (found on all sorts of products, from spray paint to pesticides) with a “double shell”, that is, with a small raised “cup” of plastic in the middle. Now drill a small hole through the center of the cap, one just wide enough so you can insert it onto the stem or wire from which the feeder hangs. Turn it so the cup faces upwards and skewer it onto the stem about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) above the feeder. Apply some hot glue to the cap around the stem or wire so it stays in place.
Now add water to the reservoir formed by the inverted cap and the ants will no longer be able to cross to the feeder. It couldn’t be easier!