It’s important to keep your hummingbird feeder clean and fresh to ensure that your feathered friends are getting the best possible nourishment. But how often should you change the nectar, and what’s the best way to do it?
Here are a few tips on how often to change your hummingbird feeder and how to keep it clean and fresh.
Should You Change Your Hummingbird Feeder Often?
The answer to how often should you change your hummingbird feeder really depends on a few different factors. Let’s take a look at a few of them, so you can make an informed decision about how frequently to change your own hummingbird feeder.
One factor to consider is the weather. If it’s hot and humid, you’ll need to change your hummingbird feeder more often to prevent the nectar from going bad. In general, you should aim to change your hummingbird feeder every 3-5 days in hot weather.
Another factor to consider is how many birds are using your feeder. If you have a lot of birds using your feeder, you’ll need to change it more often to prevent the nectar from going bad.
Finally, you should also consider how dirty your feeder is. If your feeder is starting to get dirty, it’s a good idea to change it so the birds don’t get sick.
In general, you should aim to change your hummingbird feeder every 5-7 days if it’s starting to get dirty.
How to Clean Hummingbird Feeders?
If you’re new to caring for hummingbird feeders, you might be wondering how to clean a hummingbird feeder. It’s essential to clean your hummingbird feeder often, preferably after each time you refill it. It’s actually pretty simple and important!
Here are some tips on how to give your feeder a good cleaning:
- Take the feeder apart and rinse all the parts with hot water. If you see any residue, use a bottle brush to scrub it away. Rinse again until all the soap is gone.
- Fill your sink with hot water and a cupful of vinegar. Submerge the feeder parts in the mixture and let them soak for 30 minutes. This will help loosen any stubborn residue.
- Rinse all the parts thoroughly with hot water, making sure to get rid of any vinegar residue.
- Let the feeder parts air dry completely before reassembling and filling with fresh nectar.
How to Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar?
The easiest way to make your own hummingbird nectar is with a simple Google search! The following tips will help you get started making this delicious and healthy drink in no time at all:
- Avoid using brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, or honey because these ingredients interrupt the delicate balance of bacteria that creates vitamin syrup for feeding birds. Plus, they’ll take longer than we’re told on their labels, sometimes up to 24 hours before being ready again.
- If you want to use a sugar substitute, try sugar-free simple syrup. You can find it at your local grocery store.
- Boil water for 3 minutes to kill any bacteria, then let it cool before adding sugar. This will help prevent mold growth.
- Use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. For example, if you’re using a cup of sugar, add 4 cups of water.
- Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Adding a drop or two of lemon juice will help keep the nectar from fermenting.
- Pour the nectar into a clean feeder and enjoy!
How Frequently Should I Swap Out Hummingbird Nectar?
It’s important to change your hummingbird nectar often, especially in hot weather. The general rule of thumb is to clean and refill your feeders every three to five days.
However, you may need to change the nectar more often in very hot weather above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.22 °C)
Keep an eye on your nectar levels and the cleanliness of your feeders, and change the nectar as needed. Your hummingbirds will thank you!
Keeping Flying Insects Out Of Hummingbird Feeders
We don’t want to gross you out, but those pesky flying insects love sugar water just as much as hummingbirds do! If you start to see wasps or bees hovering around your feeder, there are a few things you can do:
- Invest in a hummingbird feeder that has a built-in insect screen
- Make your own nectar guard out of wire mesh
- Hang your hummingbird feeder from a tree or other high place where insects can’t easily reach it
Taking these steps will help keep your hummingbird feeders clean and free of flying insect pests.
When Will You Fill Up Your Hummingbird Feeder?
You’ll need to keep a close eye on your hummingbird feeder and refill it as required. A good rule of thumb is to check it every few days and give it a thorough cleaning (including a nectar change) once a week.
If you start to notice that the sugar water is looking cloudy or discolored, definitely empty out the feeder and start fresh. And, as we mentioned before, if you live in an area with hot weather, you’ll need to change the nectar more often to prevent mold or spoilage.
Use Less Nectar Than You’d Think
While it’s undoubtedly important to keep your feeder filled with fresh nectar, you don’t need to fill it to the brim.
Not only will this minimize the likelihood of spillage and resulting insect problems, but a feeder that’s only partially full is also less likely to grow mold.
If you’re worried about not providing enough nectar for your feathered friends, consider filling multiple feeders and hanging them in different locations around your yard.
Move The Feeder To A New Spot
If bees (or wasps!) seem to have found your feeder no matter how often you clean it, try moving the feeder to a new spot in your yard.
Sometimes all it takes is a few feet to throw them off the scent, so to speak. This buys you a little more time to clean the feeder thoroughly and keep those pesky insects at bay.
Keep The Feeders Up From Spring Through Fall
Depending on where you live, this means keeping your feeder out from late March through early November. If you take it down too early, you may miss migrating hummingbirds that could use a quick sugar water pick-me-up.
Plus, some species of hummingbirds overwinter in areas where others don’t, so you might have resident hummingbirds sticking around your yard year-round. If you’re not sure when to take your feeder down, err on the side of caution and leave it up a little longer.
You can always take it down if no hummingbirds show up. But if you take it down too early, you may inadvertently deprive them of much-needed sustenance.
In some areas of the west, especially in Southern California, you may get hummingbirds year-round! If that’s the case in your neck of the woods, consider leaving your feeder up all year long to provide a consistent food source for these amazing creatures.
Just be sure to clean it regularly and change the nectar every few days to prevent mold and bacteria from growing.
Regardless of when you take your feeders down, give them a good cleaning before storing them until next season. That way, they’ll be ready to go when the weather warms up and the hummingbirds return.
Ultimately, how often you need to change your hummingbird feeder will depend on a variety of factors, including the weather, the type of feeder you’re using, and how many hummingbirds are using it. To err on the side of caution, we recommend changing the nectar every few days and giving the feeder a thorough cleaning once a week.
By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your feathered friends always have access to fresh, clean nectar – and that bees (or wasps!) don’t ruin the party.