This post may contain affiliate links. These help support this website.
My two favorite creatures in the summer are hummingbirds and fireflies. I have loved both since I was a little girl. The first thing I did when my husband and I moved into our first apartment was by a hummingbird feeder. We lived in California at the time, and I had multiple hummingbirds feeding at a time for most of the year.
For years now, I have been making this easy homemade hummingbird food recipe, and it is great for attracting hummingbirds.
Most store-bought hummingbird food is red, and if you scroll through the ingredients, about 90% of it is dye and preservatives. Hummingbirds don’t need either one.
You can also purchase organic hummingbird food that just contains sugar and water, which is perfect! But, it is pricey.
The solution is to make this homemade hummingbird food at home anytime.
Be sure to stay tuned after the instructions for some important chemist tips on preventing bacteria growth and keeping other insects away.
Pin This: Easy Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipe
4 cups of H20 (Regular tap water is perfect)
1 cup granulated cane sugar
- Boil the water in a saucepan. Once boiling, add in the sugar. Stir until dissolved.
- Allow to boil for 3- 4 minutes (this is important to eliminate bacteria susceptibility). Yes, boiling 3-4 minutes creates a sticky, simple syrup. This creates the perfect nectar for hummingbirds. You can boil for 2-3 minutes if preferred, just NO less than 2 minutes for bacteria aspect.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit until room temperature.
- Add to hummingbird feeder!
Store any leftovers in refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Chemist Tips on Hummingbird Food
In the sun, warm sugar water can grow bacteria very easily. Sugar can also ferment in hot weather, so keep an eye on your feeder. If the mixture looks cloudy or milky, clean it out immediately.
The first thing to do is make sure you feeder is more in the shade. I started doing this a few years ago, and more hummingbirds came to the feeder. I have had the best luck keeping it tucked way in the trees like the picture below. I will also keep it near the honeysuckle or roses since they love to feed off the nectar from those plants too (for more tips on attracting pollinators, check out this post).
Clean out the hummingbird feeder every few days. Scrub with warm water and a little dish soap. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry before filling with more hummingbird food.
Since bacteria increases with higher temperatures here is a good rule of thumb for cleaning out your feeder:
- 60-70 degrees – every week is good
- 70-80 degrees – every 3 days
- 80-85 degrees – every 2 days
- Above 85 degrees – every day is best when temperatures are hot like this!
I have tested it out in my area which is 100 degrees in the summer, and it is essential to clean it out every day.
Keeping Away the Bees
In addition to keeping bacteria away, bees are also a problem with hummingbird feeders. Cleaning it out every few days helps with this along with making sure you wipe the outside of the feeder after filling. Make sure there is no residue on the outside.
I also bought a new feeder which is made to keep bees away and attract more birds. Over the last ten years, I have tried out dozens of different feeders, and the ones with smaller flowers seem to attract less bees. You can see the ones I have used over the years below!