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Dos and don’ts of making hummingbird nectar

Tomorrow is the last day to enter our giveaway so it’s not too late to post a picture you took of a bird to our Facebook page and win a free hummingbird feeder. Since we’re on the subject of hummingbirds this week, I decided to dispense some useful advice about making hummingbird nectar. While many of you are definitely pros, it’s easy to get into bad habits or forget that things have changed a bit.

Hummingbird nectar is an easy thing to buy at the store, but it’s almost just as easy to make homemade nectar for your hummingbird feeders. An easy recipe for nectar is to mix one part sugar and four parts water. Then, boil, let it cool and you’re all done! Nevertheless, when you make things for birds, you want to make sure to do everything right, so here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

Do use clean or purified water

It’s perfectly fine to use tap water if you’re confident the water supply is clean, but you shouldn’t make the nectar with water that’s filled with chemicals. Instead, use a water purifier or some other water source.

Don’t put hot nectar in the feeder

Extremely hot nectar or even mildly warm nectar could do damage to the inside of the feeder. The high temperatures might melt the interior of the feeder and that in turn might cause some chemicals to seep into the nectar itself. That’s why it’s always a good idea to let it cool outside.

Do store your hummingbird feeder in a refrigerator

If you have a lot of hummingbird feeders or sometimes find yourself refilling them frequently, it’s a smart to make more than you need and store it. When you do store it, make sure you put it in a sealed container in the fridge. Also, don’t store the nectar for longer than a week.

Don’t use any artificial sweetener or honey

Using sweetener other than sugar can be dangerous to the hummingbirds because they are of different composition, weight and texture. They are not capable of digesting everything.

Do clean your hummingbird feeder often

I’ve covered this extensively on the blog because it’s so important. You must clean your bird feeder often to make sure there’s no mold or harmful bacteria for the birds. For hummingbird feeders, a good rule of thumb is to clean whenever you replace the nectar.

Don’t microwave the nectar

While it might seem like microwaves can help warm your nectar much quicker, it’s a very bad idea. If you don’t boil over the stove, it can ruin the chemical composition of the nectar and make it come out different.

Bonus: To dye or not to dye

This one is neither a do nor don’t. People were once discouraged from dying nectar because some of the dye contained harmful additives, but that’s no longer the case. Although dye is safer these days, it’s still unnecessary to actually do it. Hummingbirds are more attracted to the red on hummingbird feeders than the red of the nectar.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

141 Comments

  1. I’ve read that the mixture IS One part sugar and 4 parts water!!! And don’t make it too sugary (1/3 sugar to 4 parts water at most) or it messes with the Hummingbird’s metabolism!!!

  2. Excellent advice, although the water to sugar ratio has obviously been flipped by mistake. I would add one other piece of advice….Fill the feeders only 1/3 to 1/2 full until you have an established number of birds draining your feeder. You will use less and not run the chance of the nectar spoiling.

  3. I have always used 1 cup boiling water to 1/4 cup of sugar, this has worked very well and I can’t keep my feeders filled fast enough sometimes. They LOVE it….

  4. Don’t worry about it, Timothy. I write a newspaper column and make mistakes all the time. Best thing to do is blame it on the editor.

  5. I fixed it. Thanks for the catch!

  6. I fixed the error. Also, that’s a good piece of advice. You don’t want to make too much nectar if not many birds are eating it yet.

  7. Thanks. I’ve written many articles for newspapers as well and have unintentionally inserted some embarrassing mistakes. But like you said, it’s still the editor’s fault!

  8. […] Start off by taking down the feeder and dumping out any nectar that might be leftover. Since hummingbird nectar is so easy to make, there’s no reason to reuse […]

  9. I set and watch the humming bird outside my window one will be drinking nectar and one will be fluttering back and forth under the one drinking he flutters back and forth about 12 inches can you tell me why he does that.

  10. Question: Is it necessary to boil? I always have, but a client told me she just mixes with hot tap water. I couldn’t find anything specific on the internet saying not to do this, but I’ve always thought the whole idea is to make a simple syrup. Also I worry about too many minerals in my tap water.

  11. I have heard that hot tap water may have hard metal in it from the pipes. Best bet is cold water warmed up in the microwave. Warm the water up first then add the sugar. DO NOT warm up the sugar water mixture.

  12. Can you make a bunch of nectar and freeze it? I have refrigerated it, but would love to freeze. Let me know what you think!!! Thanks

  13. I boiled my sugar water recipe longer than a minute.
    Did I ruin it?
    I do it at night while washing feeder.
    Thank u.

  14. the recipe I got online said put 4 cups water 1 cup sugar & bring to a boil for 1 minute. I have about 20 hummers I feed. I think I overbooked last night while washing the feeder.
    I’ll recook with attention if they don’t come today.
    I have a bat, many birds & quail.

  15. I was wondering the same thing!

  16. Nice info, i have do all things properly except – Deframentation, after read your articles i will do it and hoping all will go better. Such a basic and nice information. Keep it Up dear. Thanks again.

  17. Is it okay to use canned juices from canned fruit to give to the hummingbirds?

  18. No please do not.
    Only the simple ratio of 4 parts boiled water to 1 part granulated sugar and stir to dissolve.
    This most mimics the nectar in flowers.
    No other additives…no dyes…chemicals…flavors or types of sugar.
    They cannot metabolize anything else added and will cause the kudneys and liver to stop functioning correctly…therefore causing a bird to become very sick and most likely dye.
    Please join the Hummingbird Whisper Group.

  19. My daughter swears by using distilled water instead of sink purified water. I see first hand that swarms of HB’s constantly vying for position to get a drink. Is using distilled water dangerous?

  20. I’ve been making my nectar with 4 part cold water and 1 part sugar and blending it in a Vitamix. blender
    It’s very fast and mixes the solution immediately
    Is this okay
    They seem to like it and o change it every three days

  21. Only one feeder. Four birds, some beaks longer than others. Sweet water level gets low, can I just add or throw out? Its every other day.

  22. It is not good to use hot tap water for birds anymore than it is not good for humans to drink. It builds up germs and sediment in the tank that is harmful to just drink straight from faucet.

  23. 1/3 sugar to 4 parts water? What does that even mean? 1/3 what? The standard nectar mix is one part sugar to 4 parts water.

  24. I would also like to know!

  25. Distilled water doesn’t have minerals in it that is needed , from what I’ve read.

  26. I dont see a reply to the question about freezing nectar. Can that be done?

  27. I use the mix as above (1 part sugar, 4 parts water which I read in a hummingbird book) I have simmered it for one to two minutes but have also read that hot water will suffice. However, only cold tap water that has run for a little while is safe to drink because of pipe residues, and then it can be heated in a kettle to mix with plain sugar only. I have a few suggestions: Please do NOT use any red dye; my dad and I are allergic so who knows what it does to the birds. It is also known to pass through their kidneys and stain their rear ends and poop red. They do not need red nectar to attract them, there should only be red on the feeder that attracts them. Natural nectar is clear, not red. I have stored the nectar in the freezer in baggies or in an ice tray (after cooling it) and then the cubes can be put in a baggie. So it never goes bad. Also, no harsh chemicals should be used to clean the feeder such as bleach or dish soap. It can be soaked in warm water and then brushed with vinegar and a bottle brush which has not been used with any cleaners. Then make sure to rinse the feeder thoroughly. I had a question- my husband bought me some Perky Pet clear nectar but I am leery of it because it has preservatives (sodium benzoate and tartaric acid); does anyone know if it is safe for the birds? I can’t find any comments on line. Really tempted to just throw it out and make my own.

  28. If it’s every other day and you see no sign of mold, you could add a bit if they go through it fast. But better to clean it out and start fresh because the mold shows up fast and you can’t always see it at first.

  29. Yes, definitely. Make sure the syrup is cooled off and then put it in baggies or an ice tray. First rinse the bag or tray well, with plain untreated cold water (no chlorine), no soap or any chemical cleaner. When frozen the ice cubes can be removed from the tray and stored in a bag. They can be a little soft and a bit hard to get out of the tray but it works ok.

  30. My hummingbird book says you can boil it for a minute or two, does not give an exact time. But it’s more like a simmer.

  31. I don’t know but out of curiosity is it a male underneath? He could be keeping guard. The males do have some fighting instincts.

  32. I would not use hot tap water, it is not safe for anyone to drink because it sits in pipes too long. Better to use cold water and heat it. Make sure there is no chlorine or flouride on it. If only chlorine is in it you can leave it sitting for a few hours and the chlorine evaporates (good to know if you want to drink it too!). For the boiling question, I read to boil it but since then read that it just needs to be heated and then added to the sugar, enough to dissolve it. So I am not sure but it probably keeps longer and is sterilized if it is boiled gently for a minute or two, as was advised in my book.

  33. It isn’t healthy to drink distilled water; spring water would be better, or well water.

  34. I used that once; the birds avoided it.
    No.m, in my opinion I think the additives make it unsafe for them.

  35. I understand why you wouldn’t want to boil the sugar/water mixture. However, why couldn’t the sugar be added after the boiling water comes out of the microwave? Is it necessary to boil the sugar with the water?

  36. I have never seen sugar go bad – so why do you need to refrigerate it ?

  37. Hi, with the excessive heat this past week, my hummingbird feeder is leaking a lot. Leaking a quart of nectar per day. Only happens when temperature is ~ 90° or higher. It’s a 32oz glass feeder with plastic flower pots with perch bar around it. Are there any suggestions to stop the leaking? Thank you.

  38. I am in Arizona and it’s unbelievably hot. I have an umbrella over my feeder but the water still gets so hot. I’ve recently started bringing the feeder in during the hot part of the day and put in the refrigerator to cool it back off then I put it back outside in the late afternoon, early evening for feeding and it’s nice and cool. I do the same late at night after dark (after midnight) and then put it back outside early morning and it’s nice and cool for them again. There’s no issue with it getting hot and then me cooling it back down is there? If I don’t do this, the water gets nearly boiling hot.

  39. I refrigerate mine to keep it nice and cool for them, especially during the hot summer months.

  40. When making your own nectar (water + sugar), do you boil the water alone and then add the sugar or does it matter? I’ve been mixing mine together, boil for 1 minute then cool.

  41. I add sugar to water and then boil both for 10 minutes. What happens with over boiling? I usually have done this. Not great luck with hummers also.

  42. How do keep big black ants from raiding the feeder? It doesn’t take ,long for them to plug up all the feeding holes.

  43. I’ve been heating my nectar to a boil for 30 years in a microwave without any complaints from hummingbirds. Please let us know what the source of your information is as well as the chemical data on this subject.
    You can also include what the appropriate cool down temperature is for serving the nectar.

  44. I read on a very detailed page on AZ hummingbirds that when it is very hot out, dilute 5 -6 parts water to 1 part sugar. It also say NOT to boil the water with the sugar, but rather to boil water, then measure it and dissolve the sugar in it. This is because water evaporates as It boils and your ratio will be off. Also, the sugar doesn’t need boiling. It also states that microwaving the water changes the molecular structure slightly, so it is not advised. Color is not advisable, because the feeder color will attract birds and you’re not introducing potentially anything harmful.
    This has worked super well for us. I have a beautifully colored all glass bowl feeder that is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Found it on Amazon. The birds love it. It comes with a metal hanging basket that has beautiful little perches built in and the birds sit and drink deeply. Very decorative, as well.

  45. We are using well water that is softened. Is that ok or should we use hard water?

  46. I use 1/4 cup cane sugar to 1 cup water and do fine.

  47. Hummingbirds are very territorial and when there is one drinking and one approaches the feeder wanting a drink as well, there will often be a fight over who gets to drink from the feeder.

  48. Softened water contains salt residue , so no, it shouldn’t be used. I have hard water where I live, and I use it. I feed about 30 to 40 birds a day, so I cook A LOT of mixture!

  49. Does it matter if i boil my mixture in a cast iron pot?

  50. HELLO! JUST FELL ASLEEP! CAN YOU BOIL IT TOO LONG? LOOKS SLIGHTLY DARK. SHOULD I START OVER? HATE WASTING SUGAR! THANKS

  51. I read that you should boil the mixture. This was a posting from a small family-owned company that sells humming-bird feeders. All of their information regarding ratio, storing, & using dye was the same as advice given here; however, the reason given for boiling the mixture was to kill any bacteria in the sugar. I do not know if this is correct, but their concern for boiling was a sugar issue only. The posting also stated never to use raw, powdered or brown sugar & to be sure the words, ‘Pure Cane White Sugar’ appear on the bag. It was suggested the mixture needed only one minute of boiling which would reduce the problem of evaporation. I appreciate all of the advice & was unaware that the mixture should not be microwaved. Thank you!

  52. I wouldn’t use that type of pot because it actually puts iron into whatever you’re cooking. That’s why people are told to use cast-iron pots when they’re anemic. Hope this helps.

  53. For many years I have been changing the formula from 4/1 ratio to 3/1 when it gets within a few weeks of migration. I was given that advice years ago by someone who said it gives more energy for long trip. Birds seem to really love it, but now some people have told me it could do harm. I’m guessing if that were true I would have noticed a long time ago. Any thoughts?

  54. My goodness! It was asked by sevetal people, but never answered. What happens if you overboil the sugar/water mixture. It is ok?? U usually boil the water, then add the sugar ans boil another minute or two. In occasion, I have accidentally left it boiling for several minutes after adding the sugar. Does this burn the sugar and render it useless? Would really like to know the answer to this one question.

  55. Sorry for all the typos. Couldn’t go back and correct. I’m a terrible texter.

  56. If it’s Carmel color you boiled to long. Carmelizing is bad for birds. Boil water to simmering then after put in sugar and dissolve and let cool.

  57. Use baby powder at the bottom works Awesome!

  58. I was wanting to use distilled water and liquid sugar its, Sugar in the Raw liquid cane sugar non gmo, the ingredients says turbanado sugar and water.
    Distilled water keeps the bottles from getting a funky smell, I use only distilled water in my pets who are in cages water bottles. The sugar says no refrigeration required, if I mix the two there is no need to boil right?

  59. I’m so confused I’ve always heard to mix 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water so is 1 cup of sugar to much? Also, I’ve heard to put the sugar and water together and boil so is that incorrect also? Please help…..

  60. I have well water ,do I need to boil ? Also could you tell me why some of us only get or see 4 or 5 hummers ,while others have say 20 plus ? I kind of like having just s few as they seem to reconize me and trust me , but at the same time I kinda of want the experience of having more .

  61. I have well water ,do I need to boil ? Also could you tell me why some of us only get or see 4 or 5 hummers ,while others have say 20 plus ? I kind of like having just s few as they seem to reconize me and trust me , but at the same time I kinda of want the experience of having more .

  62. My Mom ony has 3 and she lives in Jeffersonville IN.
    I live in Hallsville TX and I can’t count them all, it’s as if my whole front yard is a haven for them. I fill my feeders 2 sometimes 3 times every day. I think it may be all the really big trees we have. I have retired and love watching them. Sometimes I sit outside on the porch and their feeder is only a couple of feet away. Today I filled their feeder and held it while they drank! I was amazed. My husband took a video of it but I don’t know how to share it here.

  63. I rub vaseline on the chain. It works great!

  64. No. Unless you boil it long enough to reduce it or change the consistency (i.e, you’re on the way to making candy), it will be fine. I boil mine for two minutes, as I do simple syrup for drinks.

  65. The point of boiling is to sterilize the solution, which takes a minute or two of boiling.

  66. Granulated sugar doesn’t spoil because it is dry. When you add water it will start to develop mold–typically within a week at room temp. It will also develop mold in the refrigerator–it just takes longer.

  67. You’re starting to get caramel there, Dan. It’s probably a little too thick for the hummers, and possibly a bit concentrated. I’d start over.

  68. No, Vickie. What you’re doing is fine. The proper sugar to water ration is 1:4. There is no reason not to put the sugar and water in the pot together and bring to a boil: you won’t lose enough liquid through evaporation during a two-minute boil for it to matter in the least. This really isn’t rocket science, although it’s being made to sound like it.

    Furthermore, I cannot find any reliable source that supports the warning against microwaving. On the contrary, the science indicates that the only change microwaves are capable of producing in food or liquid is thermal. In other words, it’s the heating itself that produces any changes, not the microwaves themselves. So if you can heat it on the stovetop without harm, you can heat it in the microwave without harm.

    That said, I never use the microwave to make hummingbird nectar or simple syrup because I don’t want to clean up the mess that would inevitably result from boiling something in the microwave. And it’s so easy and quick on the stovetop anyway, where you can keep an eye on it (unless you fall asleep).

  69. Not unless you’ve reduced the volume of the mixture by more than, say, 10%, or it’s started to change color, in which case the sugar is starting to caramelize. It that case I’d start over.

  70. No matter what kind of water you use, it’s safest to boil the solution to sterilize it, which will slow down bacterial growth both in the feeder and in storage in the refrigerator.

  71. I boil my water in microwave and than add sugar and stir until dissolved. Been doing it this way for over 10 years and always have humming birds.

  72. I always heat the water in microwave and then add the sugar and stir until disolved. Been feeding hummingbirds and Baltimore Orioles for over 15 years.

  73. Does your yard also include lots of flowers? The flowers help to attract hummers.

  74. Does your yard also include lots of flowers? The flowers help to attract hummers.

  75. NO, sorry Shirl, that is NOT ok. It MUST be boiled or you’re likely harming the hummers. One goal of boiling the water (stovetop NOT microwave) is to kill the harmful mold and bacteria which may be in the water or sugar.

  76. Your gut is telling you right—avoid preservatives. As you have been, simply mix one part plain refined cane sugar to four parts boiling water and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Cool to room temp before placing in the feeders. Can refrigerate unused nectar for up to a week. Also, AVOID organic, natural, and raw sugars as the iron levels are too high which may be harmful. Thank you, Patty, for being a good steward to our hummer friends!

  77. On the note of cleaning the hummingbird feeders, per Audubon:
    “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 feeder with greater frequency, clean it every time it’s empty. Cleaning with hot tap water works fine, or use a weak vinegar solution. Avoid using dish soaps, as this can leave harmful residue in the feeder.”

  78. Additionally, as others have stated, the boiled water will give some longevity to the sugar mixture. Freshly made nectar placed in feeders can last without spoiling from a few days to a week depending on the outdoor temperature.

  79. Per OSU (Oregon State University) article:
    “Do not microwave the solution, because microwaves can break down sugar molecules and change the nutritional value. Let the solution cool, then fill your feeder. Store the spare solution in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.” This is referencing the entire solution vs only the water. I have seen on an extension website that they advise against boiling of the water as it allegedly changes the structure of the water. I follow this advice as I don’t think we as home feeders can truly know if our hummingbirds have any complaints. Until there’s a study that proves or disproves the use of microwaving the water is harmful, I’ll err on the side of caution and not microwave.

  80. Hello- New to this and now that sub-freezing weather’s kicked in only at night I have a question: Have to leave for an overnight trip and won’t be here to put the feeders out first thing in the morning, which is what I do when it will be cold at night. Should I just bring the feeders in this evening and put them back out tomorrow, whenever I return? I was thinking of putting warm nectar in them after dark, put out again for the night. They’ll be there in the morning for their first feed. I’m concerned they will be too cold for them. Is it better to leave inside for the night, then put out the next day, even if not there in the morning? Thanks for any advice on this.

  81. In Southern California ‘s high desert it is currently freezing at night and mid 40s in the day time. I have one hummingbird that comes to feed and I keep the feeder full for him. My question is, given the temperatures, how often should I change the nectar?

  82. Norb, Make an ant moat with a small clay pot and attach with eyebolt and washer. Hang feeder on bottom. I had same problem. And track ants to see where they are coming from and get rid of them.

  83. Heat is heat. I’ve microwaved my nectar in the mornings for the last two years and my hummingbirds are doing great.

  84. Is it ok to use well water to make my hummingbird nectar?

  85. Is it ok to use the well water to make my hummingbird nectar?

  86. In our state, if municipal tap water is suspected to be contaminated (by flooding for instance), bring it to a rolling boil for one minute to TEMPORARILY make it safe to use (in any case, whatever YOUR state health officer directs YOU to do is the correct procedure). Two minutes is even more assuring (I have heard five minutes!) Well water may contain micro-organisms, chemicals, other contaminants, and minerals. You can have your well water tested by your local health department or by professionals who know how to properly sample and send the water to a licensed lab. Keep in mind that labs can differ by what all they test for. If it were me, and the lab said the water is safe for human consumption and it wasn’t loaded down with too many minerals (or too much chlorine)–use it. To be safe, boil it before adding the sugar. Some wells require chlorine to be added (in the proper amounts) to make the water safe. I don’t know how much chlorine hummers can tolerate. Well water may (but not always–depends on turbidity) be made safe to drink by using a UV (ultra-violet) treatment system. Some wells do not require any treatment. Check with the proper wildlife, veterinary, and health professionals to be sure. We don’t want to hurt the hummers! Hope this helps. 🙂

  87. Better yet, boil the water AND the sugar together for a minute or two.

  88. I have NO SHADE and live in Missouri. The mixture gets pretty hot. Can this harm the hummingbirds or will they just not drink? I never noticed a time last summer that they didn’t drink. To ne honest, I didn’t think about it. I change it more often in the heat because I worry about the build up of bacteria. I thought about buying a little cover this year. But read a couple reviews of when the wind blows it catches the cover and tips the feeder and empties it. Any ideas/ suggestions?

  89. I put out two or three feeders and on opposite sides of the house and yard so that they have enough sources to drink from and don’t have to fight over the feeders. I have never had more than two sit at any one feeder because they are territorial and will chase each other away.

  90. The reason for boiling water is to get the bacteria out of it. If you have public water they add chlorine and Floride to it and I always run mine water throught a Purr water filter or a Britta filter before I measure and boil it. I then bring the water to a boil and add the sugar once it starts to boil and mix it until it dissolves and remove it from the heate to cool. I let the water cool completely before putting it in the feeders so plastic does not break down and melt into the sugar water. I change my water every three days in the heat of the summer and have very little waste, as the feeders only hold about 1 1/2 cups of sugar water each.

  91. The reason you BOIL the water is to make sure there is no bacteria in it from the pipes. Also filtering the water is a good idea because city or public water has chlorine and Floride in it and can damage birds liver and kidneys. Once the water comes to a full boil add the sugar and stir until it all dissolves and remove from the heat. Let it cool completely so the hot water does not break down the plastic in the feeder again causing danger to the birds.

  92. In the heat of summer it is best to change it and wash the feeders well every three days.

  93. It is best not to use it for two reasons. One as long as people buy it the manufactures will continue to put it on the market and TWO it is bad for the liver and kidneys of the birds.

  94. Once the sugar is mixed with water over time it will ferment and make alcohol which is how some liquor is made. Definitely bad for the birds. In fact birds can get drunk from eating apples left on the trees in fall that have not been picked for a long period of time because it too becomes like hard cider.

  95. That’s the same as 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water!!

  96. The feeders that I bought are clear pineapples, will that cause the birds to not be interested? I have fake lilies that first attracted the bird, should I move them away from the feeder?

  97. If you boiled your recipe for long it’s probably not legible.

  98. I’m thinking when we freeze our boiled sugar water that is nice and cool that maybe pouring into a plastic empty water bottle maybe another option then freeze them standing up then cap tightly ????? What do you think ?

  99. Only mix 1 cup cane sugar to 4 cups water. Don’t altar that ratio.
    If you choose to feed hummers, remember its a committment by making certain to change the feeder every couple to days or so or if its very hot maybe more often. Each time you change it, you should properly clean and dry the feeder.
    Not keeping things clean and fresh could harm them.
    If you attract a lot of hummers it will be a respectable amount of work but is
    in return quite rewarding watching them come feed at your feeder.
    Believe me, if you don’t keep up, they will start to favor other feeders that are kept up and you will miss them.

  100. Excellent, Lori, and others too. Cleaning feeders is crucial, as is the researched composition of the solution. A couple of decades+ ago, it was determined that 3:1 would be good for providers; however, the researchers for bird health discovered that was harmful, if not even deadly to our precious hummingbird buddies. Luckily that trend lasted briefly, as soon as it was aired and spread thruot hummer communities.
    So please follow these good people’s techniques. Clean feeders regularly, esp in hotter temperatures (ideally with each nectar refill or exchange); clean feeder ports well! Always rinse all parts thoroughly !
    Bleach is seldom necessary if cleaning well and regularly and requires more thorough rinsing, maybe even soaking if parts are plastic.
    Brushes of varying sizes and shapes are extremely useful, for me absolutely necessary because nothing is left to chance. Eyelash brushes are excellent and can be bought in small bulks from Amazon.
    I have fed hummers for 35+ years. Our numbers were very high until Katrina, and we have never been that high since. And yet by season’s end, I am ready to give the little ‘folk’ (old and new) a great and healthy send-off as well as prayers for safe travels, and a return again next year. Watch for those few with distinctive habits and characteristics so you can hopefully spot them next season.

  101. I clean everytime I change the water and I use 3/4 cup of sugar to 4 cups water. I have 6 feeders and have sooo many hummers that I still have to add water every other day. Which is fine with me as I love to watch them.

  102. Would adding natural made mint flavor to my feeder cause problems

  103. Awesome advice right now I’m using 2oz to 8oz ratio and its almost empty every 3rd day! So it works perfectly with cleaning schedule. My backyard one isn’t as busy but two specific birds seem to favor it so I still keep it going 1oz to 4oz.

  104. Can you freeze the sugar water for using in the feeder.

  105. I have made my own hummingbird feeder. But the solution just pours out? Are my holes too big?

  106. So can you use boiled spinach leaves and carrots water as your water then add sugar to it to give the birds some vitamins too?

  107. Try to make a lean to for shade. They don’t like to feel trapped so not to small of area and 10 feet away from a big tree so they can hide and nest. But by a house window to enjoy. You will have to draw them in with colorful flowers you can grow around lean to and tree. A bird bath is a nice touch with bird feeders. I would make your own little bird garden area where you can see from house window they are skiddish. Also start early spring with feeders it took me a few months to get one and now mid to end summer see a few. Have fun building your beautiful area to watch your birds.

  108. I have tried adding ice cubes to the water as I am in Arizona and temperature is over 100 degrees. Is that is OK for birds?

  109. We have a water softener system in our new house because well water is crap. If I boil it good- is it ok to use?

  110. Only sugar water and absolutely nothing else.

  111. As the previous comments have said. Absolutely nothing but sugar water for the birds. They get all the nutrients they need by feeding on small insects.

  112. I use plastic feeders purchased from the Dollar Store. They work very good. Don’t know how you made your feeder but it does sound like the holes are much too big. I also have two glass feeders that I purchased at Lowes which have an ant moat and perches. Since it’s hot here in Texas I switch the feeders out every other day. This way the plastic ones last throughout the summer.

  113. No softeners work using salt. You can use water purchased from Walmart though. Spring is best water but drinking is ok. Do not use distilled because it lacks minerals hummers must have.

  114. I live in Mobile, Alabama and I just set 2 hummingbird feeders up for the first time (September 21, 2019). A neighbor about 5 houses North of me has SO MANY that I am hoping to get some to. When do you think I will start to see some in my backyard if I just set up today and I have seen some at my neighbor’s house? Also, can I make a batch of sugar water and refrigerate it to refill the feeder every 3 to 4 days? If I can refrigerate it how long does the mixture stay good for? And can I hang it with the mixture right out of the fridge or is that too cold?
    Sorry for all the questions at once, I am new to this and I want to do it right 🙂

  115. I have 3 feeders and go through 10 pounds of sugar a week. I have been boiling sugar and water together but it seems I should boil the water then add sugar. Should I boil the water, stir sugar in and leave it to cool?

  116. No, it has too much sugar. It may kill them.

  117. I use well water.there are no chemicals added to your well Water, but I know our water comes from the Itchetucknee Spring. Testing water is difficult as they only test for 2 things!! Do not ever microwave water!!! Read the “does and don’t here on this site!!

  118. Linda do not microwave water; it changes chemical composition!! Read this entire article which states Do NOT microwave..Read above article thoroughly please!

  119. This winter I have been microwaving the nectar early in the morning so that the hummers will have warm water after a freezing night. I read the comments in here about opinions on microwaving,

    I also freeze the nectar in ice cube trays and put one or two in the feeders during the summer months to give the hummers a cold drink. I leave in Las Vegas. The heat here in the summer gets to be unbearable sometimes.

  120. I live in Arizona and I’ve read that it’s 1 part sugar to 5 parts water because of the heat we have.

  121. Me too 😂 Would be great to defrost as needed.

  122. Everyone is on track. I purchased an off brand sugar. Too late, but it was mixed with beet sugar. I did not use it. Beet sugar is a NO, NO. Y’all may know this. Just though I’d mention it.

    Enjoy those marvelous little gems

  123. I use my well water. It was suggested to me to boil my water 5 mins before adding the sugar, then another 2 mins.
    Been doing it that way for yrs now and my hummers keep coming back every yr.

  124. Boiling water in the microwave does not change it’s composition. Boiling is boiling.
    That’s a misnomer.
    It can heat unevenly.

  125. I made a large batch and froze the last little bit… My hummingbird is NOT happy and is letting me know! I read that sugar, even though dissolved, freezes differently than water, and I know it did strange stuff in the jar! So I will never try freezing it again!!

  126. Dec 24, San Diego CA i am doing 6 cups for two feeders every other day

  127. It’s a time commitment. Once you start feeding the hummingbirds in freezing weather, they depend on you, ( I have 7 feeders and I’m busy changing out the frozen ones all day!) so there’s no quitting on them!
    If you can’t commit, don’t start

  128. Since there’s been a cold snap here in Tsawwassen I’ve been going out every one to two hours to keep my feeders from getting too cold and I have more little fellas around then ever ❤ Some people put hand warmers on their feeders to stop them from freezing but do you think that could make them too hot?

  129. Not when it’s very cold outside – esp if it’s below freezing at night. Most hummingbird feeder heaters use 5W bulbs, which is fine for “normal” winters in yhr Lower Mainland, but this winter (2021/22), I had to switch it to a 15W, just to keep it from freezing – however, I noticed just this morning (not yesterday), that the syrup had darkened overnight, indicating that there was bacterial present, so I will switch back to the 5W bulb for the overnight hours. Hope that helps.

  130. I accidentally reduced my sugar water by boiling too long. Is it still okay to use?

  131. […] Quote from the source: … […]

  132. My homemade hummer food. Solidifies?

    I am in NM feeders is facing sw in full sun in afternoon.

  133. Tanya, That is the proper ratio, 4 parts water, to one part sugar

  134. Margery, only if you add the sugar when you microwave.

  135. I have soft water and an RO that comes for the soft water. can I use the water from the RO to make the nectar? Since we got the soft water the hummingbirds seem to drink less.

  136. With my leftover sugar water for the hummers, I put what was left in the fridge and it turned brown, what happened and is it still good to put in the feeders?

  137. Heard my first hummingbird today. May 15th 2022. Ontario Canada here I get about 10-12 hummingbirds each year and more seem to follow. We are in the country and it’s amazing how they keep coming back to the same spot. I have lots of flowers for the hummingbirds but they aren’t even blooming yet. I just put the nectar (homemade) out for the birds. Build it and they will come lol. So happy to see them back.

  138. My hummingbird feeder is in the sun for a few hours morning then in the later afternoon. I have drinking water from a different tap but I boil my water and then add the sugar. I’ve never had any problems. I add 3/4 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water. They seem to enjoy it.

  139. Is it okay to mix the nectar I make on the stove with the stuff I buy in the jar at the store?

  140. I have been using apple juice for many years and i have the same amount of Hummingbirds coming back each year, everyone say no don’t but i say each to there own. each person i know who live where i do have been doing it for years as well. so i see nothing wrong with this and every place on the internet say it is wrong. i will keep doing this

  141. Sometimes I get distracted when making hummingbird nectar and leave it boiling longer than two minutes. Can the hummingbird metabolize the nectar boiled longer?

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