About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ant moats for hummingbird feeders

Hi, I have a couple questions for Wild Birds Unlimited. I know it’s a bit early, but at what point should I put out our hummingbird feeder? Also, do you carry ant moats? ~ Haslett, MI

As flu season ends it’s inevitable that hummingbird fever begins. The days are getting longer and people are anxious for spring and the arrival of certain birds and flowers. If you check out the migration maps at www.hummingbirds.net you’ll see that Ruby-thoated hummingbirds begin to travel north as early as the end of February.

Hummingbirds migrate alone, each to their own internal clock and map. As the weather warms individuals will begin to reach Michigan in mid-April and the final ones will arrive in June. I always say in mid-Michigan you have to pay your taxes and put out your hummingbird feeders by April 15th. The first hummingbirds probably won’t stick around but continue on to nest in the Upper Peninsula or Canada. The hummingbirds that choose to nest in our area (the regulars) usually arrive by Mothers Day, the second Sunday in May.

If you feed hummingbirds, you know that the nectar can attract a line of ants from your feeder to the ground. You can help the hummers eat in peace if you install an ant "moat" between the feeder and the hanging hook. An ant moat is a small cup-like device that hangs between your feeder and your hook. Just like a water moat protects a castle, fill an ant moat with water, and it creates a barrier the ants can’t cross to get to the nectar. We carry several styles of ant moats, however most people choose to go with our popular hummingbird feeders that have built-in ant moats.

My favorite hummingbird feeder is the HighView™ mini saucer style. These hummingbird feeders are easy to fill and more importantly easy to clean. The saucer style is leak proof and bee resistant and the built in ant-moat stops ants from reaching the nectar. The feeder has high perches that invite hummingbirds to rest comfortably as they drink from any of three feeding ports while also offering an unobstructed view of the birds.

The bright red cover also attracts hummingbirds from a distance and has raised flowers to prevent rain from running into the bowl. The feeder is constructed with UV stable poly carbonate, the most durable plastic available and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The hanging rod is solid brass. It comes with a lifetime guarantee, and is made in the USA. Our Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU) saucer style feeders come in different sizes and colors too. 

We also have the Jewel Box window hummingbird feeder. The semicircular-shaped reservoir holds up to 8 ounces of nectar, has three raised flowers feeding ports, an optional ant moat and window or deck mounting options. The feeder is bright red to help attract hummingbirds and it’s made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee.

The built-in ant moats for both of these feeders blocks crawling insects and the patented Nectar-Guard tips (optional) on the feeding ports prevent bees, wasps, and other flying insects from contaminating nectar.

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