Anyone have a hint to prevent bees on my hummingbird feeders?

Q: I love to read the newsletter. Here’s a photo of bees lined up like pigs at a trough on my hummingbird feeders. I do NOT enjoy that! Anyone have a hint to prevent the problem? (Vaseline does not work.) Thanks for a great publication.
N. Schwartz

H Pocklington wrote: Try Vicks Vapo-rub or one of the products used to get bees out of supers (Fischers Bee-Quick, etc). Birds do not have a good sense of smell.

J Albrecht, of Montana, suggested: One reason the bees are taking from the feeder: they need water. I have found that as soon as I start the sprinklers in the yard and out by the bee hives, the bees stop coming around the house looking for water. We have 4-5 hummingbird feeders every year, feeding about 40 birds. We do not have any problem with the bees on the feeders.

J. Fischer, of New York, provided these insights: I’ve fixed this problem multiple times. The photo in your newsletter reveals two problems, both most easily solved with the purchase of a better-quality hummingbird feeder.

The photo shows bees lined up at the seam between the reservoir and the base of the feeder. This indicates that sugar syrup is leaking there or was sloshed there when the reservoir was screwed into the base.

If it is leaking, one or the other may have a crack and need to be glued.

If it is not leaking, wiping off the rim of the reservoir and the threaded part of the base when refilling should remove the residue.

The bees around the “flower” indicate a badly-designed hummingbird feeder. The tubes down to the nectar should be much longer than a bee’s proboscis. The bees are showing us that this feeder has such short tube depths that bees can feed where only the hummingbirds should feed.

The flowers can be replaced with “Par-A-Sol - BEEPROOFFT” retrofit flowers, but it is often cheaper to buy a new feeder that is bee-proof, such as the “HummZinger” or the Backyard Nature Products “Hummerfest.”

Hummingbirds have tongues that twice as long as their beaks, so this means that any hummingbird can easily handle a 1-inch tube depth. Nectar an inch below the top of the tube would be far beyond the reach of any bee.

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