We try to feed the birds and end up with many unwanted guests like squirrels, raccoons, bees, ants, etc. Some pests are easy to deal with and some are more challenging so here are some of my tricks. As I learn more, I will continue to update this page.
Give insects their own feeders: Attract the insects by hanging a detour feeder in the full sunlight they prefer and use a sweeter sugar water solution. I use 50/50 mix sugar and water instead of 1 to 4 ratio for hummingbirds. Place a very shallow bowl with strong sugar water about 5 or 6 feet away from the feeders. You may need to start close to the feeder and move it farther away in increments. This will keep the insects around to pollinate your flowers while giving them a food source besides the hummingbird feeder.
Move the feeder to trick insects: Bees take approximately three (3) days to memorize and share the path between food source and the bee hive. Moving the feeder by just a few feet can decrease insect visits, as bees have a hard time finding it again.
Color: Lastly regarding bees, I have been researching and might have found the right shade of red! Science says insects have a tough time seeing red but are attracted to yellow. I have been trying many different shades of red and in 2016 I landed on a shade of red that allowed me personally to get through the whole hummingbird season without having to deal with bees! This will be the red I will continue with. I would love to here from anyone who has purchased from me as to whether their red is working the same.
Ants: If your feeder is on a stake or shepherd's hook, the easiest thing is to spray the pole next to the ground with a lubricant such as cooking spray. You will need to repeat as necessary in the heat of summer.
Squirrels and other climbing pests: There are many different commercially made squirrel guards that mount to a shepherd's hook or larger poles that are used to hold feeders. Most stores that sell bird food also carry these.