humming bird feeders bugged by honey bees

Asked July 24, 2018, 5:22 PM EDT

My hummingbird feeders are being bugged by honeybees which are scaring off the hummingbirds from feeding. What can I do? barb weamer

Clackamas County Oregon birds bees

1 Response

Another Expert (who also specializes in bees) recently answered the same question from another person recently. The following is his response:

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Honey bees typically don't like to eat syrup that is not supplied by a flower. But they will take syrup when there is not a lot else to eat. The natural flower nectar flow in Oregon starts to dry up around now and hungry honey bees can start to be attracted to things like hummingbird feeders.
But other insects can also be attracted, like yellowjackets and hornets (and for different reasons - their visits increase over time because of colony growth - their colonies get pretty big later in the summer).
So the first thing is to confirm if what is visiting the feeder is a honey bee or a yellowjacket. If it is honey bees, consider planting some late summer blooming honey bee flowers, for example, Russian sage, wild bergamot, sunflowers and Salvias.
If it's yellowjackets, know that the pressure will be temporary and will abate as summer comes to a close.
-Andony Melathopoulos
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Here's a guide from Idaho on yellowjacket control: