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Outsmarting Yellow Jackets: How To Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders?

The delicate, ethereal presence of hummingbirds in your garden is a sight to behold, but it can be easily disrupted when aggressive yellow jackets begin to congregate around your hummingbird feeders. 

These pesky insects are attracted to the sweet nectar in the feeders, causing stress to both you and the hummingbirds.

To maintain a harmonious coexistence between these two winged species, it’s essential to learn how to keep yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders.

This article will explore how to keep yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders. From selecting the right feeder designs to using natural repellents, we’ll provide valuable insights into creating an environment that allows hummingbirds to flourish while discouraging unwelcome guests. 

By following these methods, you can ensure that your garden remains a sanctuary for hummingbirds and their enchanting visits.

How To Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders

How Do You Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders? 

Keeping yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders can be essential to ensure the safety and well-being of your hummingbirds. Yellow jackets are attracted to the sugar in hummingbird nectar and can be aggressive when they compete for it. 

Here are the techniques to help you keep these pesky insects at bay:

Choose Bee-Proof Feeders

Opt for hummingbird feeders with built-in bee guards or bee-proof features. These feeders often have plastic barriers that make it difficult for yellow jackets to access the nectar.

Use Yellow Jacket Traps

Place yellow jacket traps near your hummingbird feeders. These traps contain sugary liquid that attracts the yellow jackets away from your hummingbirds. Regularly empty and replace the traps as needed.

Relocate Feeders

If you notice a persistent yellow jacket problem, try moving your hummingbird feeders to a different location. Placing them farther from nesting sites or trash cans can help reduce yellow jacket activity.

Reduce Nectar Spillage

Ensure that your hummingbird feeders are not leaking or dripping. Clean up any spilt nectar promptly, as this can attract yellow jackets. Consider feeders with drip-resistant features.

Change nectar Frequently

Refresh the nectar in your feeders every 3-4 days, especially in hot weather. This prevents the nectar from fermenting and becoming more attractive to yellow jackets.

Create a Barrier

Place a physical barrier, such as a mesh or screen, around your hummingbird feeder. This allows hummingbirds to access the nectar while keeping yellow jackets out.

Natural Repellents

Planting natural repellent flowers like marigolds, mint, or basil around your feeding area can help deter yellow jackets. These plants have scents that these insects find unappealing.

By employing these techniques, you can significantly reduce the presence of yellow jackets around your hummingbird feeders, providing a safer and more peaceful environment for your tiny, vibrant guests.

Which Useful Stuff Will Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders? 

Which Useful Stuff Will Keep Yellow Jackets Away From Hummingbird Feeders

Keeping yellow jackets away from hummingbird feeders requires some strategic use of various items and substances to deter these pesky insects. 

Here are some useful things that can help you achieve this:

Vaseline or Cooking Oil

Applying a thin layer of Vaseline or cooking oil to the hummingbird feeder’s ports or perches can make it difficult for yellow jackets to access the nectar. They’ll have a slippery time trying to land and feed.

Peppermint Oil

Yellow jackets are repelled by the strong scent of peppermint oil. Dilute a few drops of peppermint oil with water and apply it to the feeder or nearby surfaces to discourage their presence.

Cucumber Slices

Placing cucumber slices around your feeding area can help deter yellow jackets. They dislike the odour of cucumber and are likely to stay away.

Paper Bag Decoys

Hang a paper bag resembling a hornet’s nest near your hummingbird feeder. Yellow jackets are territorial and may avoid the area, thinking it’s already claimed by other stinging insects.

Cayenne Pepper

Sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper around the base of the hummingbird feeder. Yellow jackets are sensitive to its spiciness and will avoid the area.

Citronella Candles

Citronella candles have a scent that deters many flying insects, including yellow jackets. Place a citronella candle near your feeder to create a protective zone.

Garlic or Onion

Yellowjackets dislike the pungent odour of garlic and onions. Chopping and placing these near the feeder can help keep them away.

It’s important to note that while these substances and items can be effective in deterring yellow jackets, you should monitor the situation and be prepared to try multiple methods if necessary. 

Keeping the nectar fresh and clean is also essential, as fermented nectar can attract more pests.

Why Do My Yellow Jackets Keep Attracting Hummingbird Feeders?

Why Do My Yellow Jackets Keep Attracting Hummingbird Feeders

Yellow jackets are often attracted to hummingbird feeders for several reasons, and understanding these factors can help you address the issue effectively. 

Here are the reasons why yellow jackets are drawn to hummingbird feeders:

Sugary Nectar

Yellow jackets are naturally drawn to sugary substances, and the nectar in hummingbird feeders is no exception. They are attracted by the sweet aroma and taste of the nectar.

Food Source

Yellow jackets are opportunistic foragers, and hummingbird feeders offer an easily accessible and concentrated food source. The availability of a high-energy food supply encourages their presence.


Yellow jackets may be competing with hummingbirds for the nectar. When there are limited food resources, these insects can become more aggressive, making it challenging for hummingbirds to feed in peace.

Color and Shape

The bright color and shape of many hummingbird feeders can resemble flowers, attracting both hummingbirds and yellow jackets. Yellow jackets are visual creatures and are drawn to colorful objects.

Spilled Nectar

Nectar that drips or spills from the feeder can attract yellow jackets. They are adept at detecting even small quantities of sugary liquid and will readily investigate any spills.

Nesting Sites

Yellowjackets establish nests in the ground or other sheltered locations nearby. If there’s a nest nearby, they will be more likely to frequent your feeding area.

Social Behavior

Yellow jackets are social insects, and their colonies are continually searching for food. If one yellow jacket discovers a food source, it can alert the rest of the colony, leading to increased activity around your hummingbird feeders.

To deter yellow jackets from your hummingbird feeders, consider using bee-proof feeders, employing natural repellents, and ensuring the feeders are free from leaks or spills. 

Also, be diligent about monitoring and addressing nearby yellow jacket nests to reduce their presence in your yard.


How do I keep yellow jackets away from my hummingbird feeders?

To keep yellow jackets away, opt for bee-proof hummingbird feeders with built-in guards. Additionally, avoid feeders with yellow or orange accents, as these colors attract yellow jackets. 

What natural repellents can I use to deter yellow jackets?

Natural repellents such as cucumber slices, peppermint oil, or even citronella candles can deter yellow jackets. Cucumbers emit an odour that yellow jackets dislike, while peppermint oil confuses their senses. 

Will relocating my hummingbird feeder help keep yellow jackets away?

Yes, relocating your hummingbird feeder can be effective. Place the feeder away from areas where yellow jackets typically gather, such as garbage cans or nesting sites. 

How often should I clean my hummingbird feeder to prevent yellow jackets?

Regular cleaning is essential. Clean your hummingbird feeder thoroughly at least once every few days, especially in warm weather when nectar can spoil quickly. Remove any residue and rinse with hot water to prevent fermentation, which can attract yellow jackets. 

Are there specific feeder designs that deter yellow jackets?

Yes, certain feeder designs can discourage yellow jackets. Choose feeders with built-in bee guards or those with flat or basin-style openings. These designs make it difficult for yellow jackets to access the nectar. 


Maintaining a yellow jacket-free hummingbird haven is not only possible but also vital for the well-being of these vibrant, tiny birds.

As the hummingbirds flit and sip in your garden, you can relish the peace and beauty they bring without the interference of aggressive yellow jackets.

Implementing the strategies outlined in this article, such as using bee-proof feeders, applying natural repellents, and taking steps to reduce nectar spills, will help keep the yellow jackets at bay. 

This ensures that your hummingbird feeders remain an exclusive dining area for these delicate creatures.

By fostering an environment that prioritizes hummingbirds’ needs and safety, you can enjoy the enchanting presence of these tiny, iridescent visitors throughout the hummingbird season.

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