Once you hang your hummingbird feeders, it’s not enough to leave them up until the liquid runs dry. You can’t just assume that a full feeder means the birds still have something to eat. If a week has gone by, the food is often spoiled… especially in the summer.
Like most birds, hummingbirds can tell when the nectar is past its prime and will stop using the feeders. But if you want to keep them hanging around, you need to provide fresh food regularly and commit to keeping your feeders clean.
Sugar water is a natural magnet for fermentation, as well as mold and bacterial growth.
Each time you change the food, dump the old nectar and rinse the feeder with hot water, using a bottle brush like the ones found in the Brushtech Cleaning Kit to remove slime and black mold from the plastic.
How often you do this depends on where you live. If you’re far north, where summer temperatures stay below 70 degrees, you can get away with changing your nectar once a week. But if you live anywhere warmer, you’ll want to refresh your feeders more often. A good rule of thumb is every three to four days if temps are in the 80’s, and every one to two days when it climbs into the 90’s and above.
Once a month, it’s a good idea to soak the feeder for an hour in 1/4 C bleach to 1 gallon of water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
Do this from spring until fall, and you’ll be sure to enjoy hummers in your yard all season long.