How Often Should You Change Hummingbird Water?

If you have a hummingbird feeder, you should change the nectar every three to five days. If it is hot outside, you may need to change the nectar more often. 

You will know it is time to change the nectar when it starts to turn cloudy or moldy. When you change the nectar, be sure to clean the feeder as well.

 If your hummingbirds are nesting, you will need to change the water in their nest every few days. 

The water will become dirty from all the feathers and debris. You should also check the water level in the nest daily to make sure it doesn’t get too low.

How Often Should You Change Hummingbird Water?

In hot weather, the feeder should be emptied and cleaned twice per week. In cooler weather, once per week is enough. 

If your hummingbirds empty the water feeder with greater frequency, clean it every time it’s empty. Cleaning with hot tap water works fine, or use a weak vinegar solution.

If you live in an area with very hot weather, you may need to change your hummingbird water more often than twice a week. 

In extreme heat, the nectar can spoil quickly and make the hummingbirds sick. If you notice that your hummingbirds are not visiting the feeder as often as they used to, empty and clean the feeder and fill it with fresh nectar.

ALSO READ:  Are There Hummingbirds in Thailand?

Hummingbird at a red feeder

Should You Change Your Hummingbird Feeder Often?

You might think that because hummingbird feeders don’t contain any food that would spoil, there’s no need to change the nectar often.  However, it’s important to clean and refill your feeder regularly for a few reasons:

  1.  Dirty feeders can harbor bacteria and mold that can make hummingbirds sick.
  2. Old nectar can start to ferment, which can also make hummingbirds sick.
  3. If ants find your feeder, they’ll likely build a nest in it and contaminate the nectar.

How Long Can You Leave Water In a Hummingbird Feeder?

You should also be aware of how long you can leave sugar water in a feeder without changing it. 

Sugar water can start to spoil after just 24 hours, so if you’re not able to change the nectar in your feeder every day, be sure to empty any unused portions and start fresh.

You can store extra nectar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Just be sure to give it a good stir before putting it back in the feeder, as sugar can settle at the bottom.

What Happens If Hummingbirds Drink Old Sugar Water?

If hummingbirds drink old sugar water, they may develop diarrhea and dehydration. Diarrhea is the biggest concern as it can quickly lead to dehydration.

Dehydration, in turn, can lead to weakness, organ damage, and even death. So it’s important to change your hummingbird feeder regularly!

How Can You Tell If Hummingbird Nectar Is Bad?

If you’re not sure whether nectar has gone bad, here are some signs to look for:

  • The nectar is bubbly or foamy
  • The nectar is murky, cloudy, or has chunks floating in it
  • The nectar has started to change color
  • There is mold growing on the feeder or inside the nectar
ALSO READ:  How Much Nectar Does a Hummingbird Drink in a Day?

If you see any of these signs, it’s best to throw out the nectar and start fresh. It’s not worth taking the chance that birds will get sick from drinking bad nectar.

How to Clean Hummingbird Water Feeders?

The best way to avoid nectar spoilage is to keep feeders clean. Be sure to clean and sterilize your feeder with every refill. 

The best way to clean a hummingbird feeder is with hot water and mild soap. You can also use a weak vinegar solution. Be sure to rinse the feeder thoroughly after cleaning it to remove any soap residue.

You can use a weak bleach solution or vinegar and boiling water. Soak all the feeder parts for at least 10 minutes in the solution, then rinse well and allow to air dry. Be sure to check all the small nooks and crannies of the feeder for mold or other contaminants.

You should clean your hummingbird feeders every few days, even if you are not refilling them. This will help to prevent any build-up of residue that could contaminate a new batch of nectar.

Remember to clean your hummingbird feeders regularly to prevent nectar spoilage and keep your feathered friends happy and healthy!


To keep your hummingbird water fresh and safe for drinking, be sure to change it every few days and clean your feeders regularly. You can tell if nectar has gone bad if it is bubbly, cloudy, or has chunks floating in it.

If you see any of these signs, throw out the nectar and start fresh. You can also attract hummingbirds to your yard without using feeders by planting flowers they love.

ALSO READ:  Can You Freeze Hummingbird Nectar?

Leave a Comment