Keeping flying bugs out of a hummingbird feeder?

Asked January 12, 2021, 2:25 PM EST

Hello Just in the last few weeks my hummingbird feeder has been invaded by black flying insects. Apparently when they die in the nectar they make it taste bad to the hummingbirds, who stop feeding. Is there any way to discourage these pests? Thank you.

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

I assume these flying insects are very small. If so, it's very likely they are fungus gnats, a nuisance pest.

If the insects are larger, please send a well-focused image with one or several samples alongside a coin or ruler, or with an estimate of the insect's size.

If they're fungus gnats, it's likely that the feeder contains more sugar solution than the hummers can use in a day. If so, consider adding a relatively small amount of sugar solution to the feeder, then thoroughly clean the feeder every day or, at the longest, every 2 days. The current moist,often rainy weather is greatly contributing to fungus development, especially around the small feeding ports but also in the sugar solution.

It's worth knowing that hummers also feed on small flying insects. So, even if the gnats continue to congregate on or near the feeder, they'll add a protein boost for the hummers' diet. Because hummers are currently nesting and laying eggs, they need all the choice foods they can find.