Last Updated on October 17, 2021 by Guillermina
Do you have yellow jackets invasion on your hummingbird feeders and wondering how to keep them away? Then this is it.
A pest that is common in the United States especially during summer and fall is the yellow jacket. Even though hummingbirds are known to feed on insects, yellow jackets are too big and aggressive for hummingbirds to consider them as part of their meal.
An invasion of this yellow jacket on your hummingbird feeder can cause chase away hummers from their favorite nectar. Therefore, if you have an invasion of yellow jackets on your hummingbird feeders, it’s important to find ways on how to keep them away from your feeders.
In this post, we will be looking at how to keep yellow jackets off of your hummingbird feeder. So, let’s begin.
Different species of yellow jackets can be found throughout North America. There are around 16 species of yellow jackets found in the United States. Yellow jackets are an aggressive pest that has a painful sting and bite. You may find them in your backyard, picnic, and other outdoor activities.
These insects thrive in hot and dry climates which is why they are most active during summer and fall. They are more aggressive compared to counterpart stinging insects such as bees, hornets, wasps, and daubers.
Hummingbird Feeders And Yellow jackets
Just like many other flying insects, yellow jackets also love to feed on sugary substances such as flower nectar, fruit, and even soda if they find an open can by chance. Therefore, yellow jackets will also feed on hummingbird feeders whenever they find one.
A few jackets on feeders may not cause much conflict between hummingbirds and yellow jackets. But when they become too much for hummingbirds to share feeders with, hummingbirds tend to abandon the feeders. Hence, this causes an issue because you may see a drop in these iridescent birds’ visits.
Yellow jackets are even more persistent and aggressive when they end up finding an easy food source such as a hummingbird feeder. They can take over a hummingbird feeder in a short period. Therefore, they end up constituting nuisance and this worries birder a lot.
Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeder
Yellow jacket invasion on your hummingbird feeder can be pretty worrisome because these insects tend to be pretty persistent. Hummingbirds and yellow jackets have to compete for the same food source because both yellow jackets and hummers love the sweet nectar.
When the inconvenience becomes too much for the hummingbird to share their feeders with yellow jackets, they end up leaving the feeder.
But there are ways on how you can keep yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeders. So let’s look into this.
Tips On How To Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders
Below are some tips on how to keep yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeders:
1. Avoid Feeder Leaks & Maintain A Clean Feeder
One easy tip to keep yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders is to avoid any leaks. Any leaks on your feeders can attract yellow jackets.
Once you notice any leaks, ensure you seal them up immediately. Always inspect your feeder at least once a week for any leaks to stay on top of things. You can also go for leak-proof feeders.
Another way to keep yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeders is to always maintain a clean feeder. Avoid any drips of nectar outside or around your hummingbird feeder.
You need to always clean up your feeders from time to time because as hummingbirds drink, they tend to drip nectar on the feeder. Yellow jacket can smell sweet things. So, ensure you wipe any drop of nectar with a clean cloth from time to time to avoid inviting yellow jackets.
2. Bee Guards
Make use of some bee guards on your hummingbird feeders to keep the yellow jacket away. Bee guards are plastic cages attached over the hole or tube of the hummingbird’s feeder.
Your sweet hummers are able to feed through the openings of the feeder. But the yellow jackets are kept away from entering into the feeder.
3. Attract Them Away From Feeders
You can try attracting these yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeders. Do this by installing a substitute of sugar source meant for yellow jackets. Hopefully, this can draw away yellow jackets from your hummingbird feeders and the yellow jacket will concentrate on the source you provided for them.
4. Set Traps & Aim For The Queen
You can easily set up traps for yellow jackets with some specially designed feeders for yellow jackets. Inside of the yellow jacket trap is a well. The feeder is filled with nectar solution and the yellow jackets crawl into the well and they become trapped and can’t get out.
Once they’re trapped you may not need to bring them out because they will eventually die even though this might take some time. You can simply put the trap down once you’ve trapped some good number of yellow jackets and put them in the freezer so they can die quickly. Then you can trash the yellow jackets.
This trap can also catch the queen. This is usually a more effective way because once there’s no queen, there is no nest for yellow jackets workers. This is because the life cycle of yellow jackets begins and ends with the queen.
However, to catch the queen, ensure you hang the trap much earlier around spring (end of March/ beginning of April). The queens come out to nest when the snow is starting to disappear from the ground.
We have listed natural ways you can safely keep yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeders. We advise you not to use harmful substances to get rid of yellow jackets as this can pose a threat to your hummingbird’s health.
Also, avoid smearing any substances (such as petroleum jelly, hand cream, oil, or grease) on your feeders. These substances can be absorbed by hummers when they run into them and it can make it hard for them to fly. These substances can also stick to their bills making them difficult to open.
One effective way on how to keep yellow jackets away from your hummingbird feeder is to aim for the queen. If you can catch the queen before she comes out to nest and breeds her workers, you and your hummingbirds can successfully enjoy a yellow jacket-free season.
Eunice is a passionate lover of hummingbirds and all things nature. She loves to observe and study the tiny birds, learning about their unique behaviors and unique features. She has written a number of articles about hummingbirds and their habitats, which have been featured in a variety of publications. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting hummingbird sanctuaries and going on bird–watching trips in her local area. She also volunteers with local wildlife rescue organizations, helping to rehabilitate injured birds. When she’s not outdoors, Eunice can be found writing articles, creating bird–inspired art, and playing the flute.