Post last updated: July 24th, 2017

At lunch in early May, I mentioned to Cee that I was having problems with my hummingbird feeder that had not been a problem the previous two years. Ants were getting inside and drowning in the sugar water. I did not want to feed ant germs to the hummingbirds.

I was surprised she had a solution because it seemed like a bizarre problem. She said I needed an ant moat (retailers call it an “ant guard”) filled with water that the ants couldn’t get past. Later that night, she went out in the dark to snap a photo of hers which she emailed me along with a link to a video demonstrating how to make one.

Cee’s photo was a prime example of a picture being worth a thousand words. As she described it over lunch, I pictured an empty gallon paint can hanging over the hummingbird feeder. All you need is the lid from a can of spray paint. The yellow plastic lid in the photo, below, is my ant moat:

My hummingbird feeder is made of glass and plastic

The ant moat is an ingenious contraption that I understand can be purchased in stores but it’s easy and quick to make your own. Again, you need a lid from a can of spray paint or hairspray, two cup hooks and a wine cork. Watch this video for instructions:

In the summer when temperatures are above 75 degrees, always remember to clean the feeder and fill with fresh nectar every 2 to 3 days.

UPDATE: One of my readers suggested I check the ruffled top of my hummingbird feeder as she had purchased one that had a built-in ant moat. It looks like mine has a built-in moat, too. I had purchased mine at Big Lots and it had no package labeling with this information.


8 thoughts on “ANT MOAT”

  1. Hi linda, I’m pleased you’ve solved your hummingbird feeder problem. I wonder why it was Ok for 2 years? Are your ants very slow learners?

  2. So just wondering here – but on your hummingbird feeder at the top where it is red plastic ruffly looking – I have something similar on mine and the label on the packaging said it was the ant moat built in to the design. I don’t have problems with ants – honey bees drink the nectar faster than the hummers. Somewhere in the back of mind I thought you mentioned in a previous post you had “issues” with hummer – or am I crazy? xo kim

    1. Crazy? You? Not so! My issue with hummers was that I didn’t like them. They were too much like insects especially that noise they make with their wings. I always feel like I’m under attack. They do have a really pretty singing voice, though. I took a good look at my ruffled top and you are right — it looks like it could be an ant moat. Wait till Cee hears this! I bought mine at Big Lots and any package label that might have started out with the feeder was long gone.

  3. Thanks for instructions. Previously, I have just put a layer of vaseline along the hanger and even over the top of the hummingbird feeder. It works well for a few days. I always put more vaseline every time I changed the solution in the feeder. The ant moat looks much easier and less messy!

  4. I had the same problem when I put out jelly in a feeder for orioles. It just attracted ants but no orioles. An ant moat is what I needed, apparently! Good to know!

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