Ants may be industrious little critters, but you certainly don't want them invading your hummingbird feeders. It's the sweet, sugary nectar that attracts the insects, and once they discover that you're supplying the goods, you'll have a hard time convincing them not to get their groceries from your hummingbird feeder. Installing a simple, homemade moat will save you the frustration of reasoning with an ant, and allow your hummingbirds to enjoy their repast in peace.
You only need four simple items to put together a homemade hummingbird moat, and you might already have all of them on hand. The moat itself can be made from the cap off a can of spray-paint or hairspray, or if your hummingbird feeder is small you can even use the plastic cap from a can of hair gel or mousse. You'll also need two small hooks -- the ones that are shaped like a question mark and have a threaded "screw" end -- and a plastic cork from a wine bottle.
To put your moat together, just place one of the hooks inside the spray can cap and poke it through the top. Then twist one end of the cork onto the threaded portion of the hook that is poking through the cap. Finally, screw the second hook into the other end of the cork. You'll use the hook inside the cap to suspend the moat from the hook you typically hang your feeder from, and you'll hang your feeder from the hook at the bottom of the moat.
Filling the Moat
You can fill your moat with water or drop a dollop of petroleum jelly into it. Either will keep the ants away from your hummingbird feeder. Your homemade moat should be water-proof, but if you want to be extra-sure, apply glue around the top of the cork where it meets the spray can cap.
Maintaining the Moat
If you fill your moat with water, check the level every other day to ensure that it doesn't all evaporate away, and re-fill it as needed. Using petroleum jelly is a lower-maintenance option. Even though it will melt when the temperatures get hot, it won't dissipate like water will, so you'll only have to maintain it when you take down your feeder for cleaning and refilling. Just wipe away the old petroleum jelly, along with any dirt and debris, and then place a clean blob of the jelly inside the moat.
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Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.