Why Are Bees Buzzing Around Hummingbird Feeders?

Discover why bees are buzzing around hummingbird feeders and learn how to peacefully coexist with them and hummingbirds in your garden.

Have you ever wondered why bees seem to be buzzing around your hummingbird feeders? It may seem peculiar, since hummingbird feeders are specifically designed to attract these tiny, nectar-loving birds. However, bees are also drawn to the sweet nectar in hummingbird feeders, often mistaking it for a flower. This can lead to a frustrating situation for both you and the birds, as bees can become aggressive and territorial around the feeders. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide some tips on how to peacefully coexist with bees and hummingbirds in your garden.

Why Are Bees Buzzing Around Hummingbird Feeders?

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You may have noticed an interesting phenomenon – bees buzzing around your hummingbird feeders. While it may seem confusing at first, there are several reasons why bees are attracted to these feeders. Understanding why bees are drawn to hummingbird feeders can help you take steps to prevent them from swarming and ensure that the hummingbirds get their fair share of nectar.

Understanding Bees and Hummingbird Feeders

Before we delve into why bees are attracted to hummingbird feeders, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fascinating creatures that bees are. Bees play a crucial role in pollination, helping plants reproduce and ensuring the survival of many plant species. They are known for their hard work and their ability to produce honey, which is enjoyed by humans around the world.

Hummingbird feeders, on the other hand, are designed to attract hummingbirds, small and vibrant birds known for their ability to hover in mid-air. These feeders typically contain a sweet nectar solution that mimics the nectar found in flowers, which is the primary food source for hummingbirds.

Reasons for Bees Being Attracted to Hummingbird Feeders

So, why exactly are bees attracted to hummingbird feeders? Well, there are a few factors at play:

Competition for Resources

Bees and hummingbirds both rely on nectar as a source of energy. When a hummingbird feeder is filled with a delicious nectar solution, it becomes a valuable resource that bees are eager to access. The availability of food in the form of nectar is limited, and bees are simply trying to make the most of it, just like the hummingbirds.

Natural Instincts of Bees

Bees are naturally inclined to seek out sources of nectar to sustain their hive and produce honey. They have an excellent sense of smell and are highly efficient at detecting the presence of nectar. Hummingbird feeders, with their sweet nectar solutions, are like beacons for bees, guiding them to a potential food source.

Similarities Between Hummingbird Nectar and Flower Nectar

The nectar solution used in hummingbird feeders bears a striking resemblance to the nectar found in flowers, both in terms of taste and composition. Bees are naturally attracted to the scent and taste of nectar, and when they encounter a hummingbird feeder, they perceive it as a promising food source.

Color and Shape Attraction

Bees are known to be attracted to bright and vibrant colors, especially shades of red and orange. Many hummingbird feeders are designed with these colors to attract hummingbirds, but they can also catch the attention of bees. Additionally, the shape and structure of the feeders can resemble flowers, further enticing bees to investigate.

Scent Attraction

Apart from color and shape, scent also plays a crucial role in attracting bees to hummingbird feeders. Nectar emits a delicate and sweet fragrance that bees can detect from a considerable distance. When they catch the scent of nectar, they may instinctively follow it and end up at the hummingbird feeder.

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Tips to Prevent Bees from Swarming Hummingbird Feeders

While it’s natural for bees to be attracted to hummingbird feeders, it’s possible to take steps to prevent them from swarming the feeders and ensure that hummingbirds can enjoy their meals undisturbed. Here are a few tips:

Using Bee Guards

Some hummingbird feeders come with bee guards, which are small plastic or metal mesh screens that cover the feeding ports. These guards allow the beaks of hummingbirds to access the nectar, while preventing bees from doing the same. Consider purchasing a hummingbird feeder with built-in bee guards or adding them separately to your existing feeder.

Using Ant Moats

Ant moats are small devices that can be attached to the hummingbird feeder and filled with water. The moats create a physical barrier that prevents ants from reaching the nectar. By keeping ants at bay, you reduce the risk of attracting bees, as they often follow ant trails to food sources.

Planting Bee-Friendly Flowers

To redirect bees’ attention away from the hummingbird feeder, consider planting a variety of bee-friendly flowers nearby. Bees are naturally drawn to flowers, so by providing them with alternative nectar sources, you can reduce their interest in the hummingbird feeder.

Consider Using a Different Feeder Design

If you find that bees are persistently swarming your hummingbird feeder, you may want to consider switching to a different feeder design. Look for feeders with smaller feeding ports or ones that are specifically designed to deter bees. Experimenting with different feeders can help you find one that is less attractive to bees while still appealing to hummingbirds.


Bees buzzing around hummingbird feeders can be a common occurrence due to the similarities between the attraction factors of bees and hummingbirds. Understanding the reasons behind bees’ interest in these feeders helps us take steps to minimize their presence and create a more welcoming environment for hummingbirds. By employing techniques such as using bee guards, ant moats, planting bee-friendly flowers, and exploring different feeder designs, you can ensure that both bees and hummingbirds thrive in your backyard.

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