Friday, September 17, 2010

Medieval Solutions

This summer we got hummingbird feeders for our deck, and we have really loved them.

Before we could love them, though, we had to deal with a problem.


The ants were much faster to discover the feeders than the birds were, and they were apparently willing to give their lives in trying to get some of the nectar.  The first time I went out and looked both little feeders were filled with dead ants floating in the nectar, and there was a line of ants all the way up the pole and down to each feeder waiting to get in.

In a word, it was gross.

(I’m not a fan of ants.)

I did some research online, and ended up deciding that my solution would be the medieval one.

Ant Moats.

Yep, you read that right.  Moats to keep the ants out.

I made them with old detergent lids and clothes hangers.  I was a little dubious, but filled with water they worked like a charm. 

July 2010 1327 (yes, that is a little hummingbird perched on the bar there!)

Not only did they keep the ants from being able to get to the hummingbird feeders, but they also provided a place for the beautiful goldfinches to perch and get a drink of water.  (Sorry, no pictures of that.)

The ant moats were a rousing success.

Later in the summer I decided it was time to try to attract bluebirds to my deck.  Accordingly I bought a special cup at the wild bird store (seriously—it’s a wild bird store) and spent far too much money on a dixie cup filled with meal worms to entice the bluebirds. 

I set it all up and waited for the bluebirds to come.

Instead, guess who came.  If you guessed ants, you’re right.  And I have to give these creatures credit; they are amazing. 

Because those ants carted off every one of the mealworms before any bluebird had time to think of looking!

July 2010 1415

And they were only half as big as the mealworms!


Obviously another moat was needed.  Which meant I had to wait for another laundry detergent lid to become available.

While I was waited I experimented with some old cherries, since bluebirds are supposed to be interested in fruit too.

July 2010 1419

We never did see any birds, but we did see some lovely creatures.

August 2010 040

This week I finally made the new ant moat and now it’s installed with another batch of mealworms in the feeder.  So far I’ve only seen a bee after the mealworms…hopefully the bluebirds will discover them soon.

I’ll keep you posted!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a big fan of ants, either. I was standing outside this morning, and got 5 different ant bites on my feet - - - and they stung! Tiny, tiny little I-can't-even-tell-what-color-they-are-because-they're-too-small ants that provided a shocking amount of pain!

    Blasted bugs...