Stop Buying Hummingbird Nectar and Make Your Own

A hummingbird feeder can be a thrilling addition to any summertime yard. Flowers should provide their primary food source, but you can supplement their needs by feeding them with a well-placed sugar water feeder. Don’t waste your money on commercial hummingbird nectar — not only are they expensive, they often contain preservatives, additives and dyes that can harm birds. It's simple to make your own hummingbird food. All you need is 4 parts water to 1 part refined sugar. The water should be boiled and cooled before adding it to the feeder. Regular tap water, well water, and bottled water are all fine to use, but DO NOT use distilled water because it has been stripped of natural minerals. Also make sure to only use granulated white sugar — no honey, brown sugar, molasses, or artificial sweeteners, because they develop bacteria very quickly. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red because they associate red flowers with higher-nutrient nectar, but when making your own hummingbird food, using red food coloring is a definite no-no. Because hummingbird feeders are great places for bacteria and fungi to grow, it’s important to clean your feeder regularly with a nontoxic cleaning product like weak vinegar away from areas where human food is prepared. Feeders should be cleaned every 3-5 days, and more frequently in hot weather. Placement is also important. Always place your hummingbird feeder in a shady spot, preferably in front of a window so you can sit back and enjoy the show.