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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Keeping bees and wasps away from your Hummingbird feeder

Rufous Hummingbird
Obviously, bees (and wasps) are after the sugar.  So it pays to be very careful when filling a nectar feeder.  Even a tiny splash attracts bees.
Some people will even wipe down a feeder using a weak bleach or vinegar solution, while it hangs. If bees still find it, move the feeder at least 10 ft. away from its current location (messes up bees' directional ability) or take it down completely for a couple of days.
Avoid mistakenly poisoning birds  Several reports tell about birds dying in large numbers near homes. This is strange!

A frequent explanation, from scientists who should know, is cross-contamination. Large stores tend to stock both birdseed and pesticides. There are accidental spills sometimes and the spillage gets mixed together (they can look similar to the untrained eye). Also, many seed crops up north are sometimes sprayed with chemicals. Up north, birds may have developed a resistance; but not north Texas birds. Hence, birds visiting your feeder can sometimes be eating poison.

It doesn't happen a lot (once is plenty). My advice is to play it safe, and avoid buying birdseed from a retailer that also stocks weed-killer, weed & feed or pesticides. The life of a bird, or many birds, is worth more than the few cents you might save.



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