Ants – 2; Hummingbirds – 0

Freshly painted deck is now yellow with pine tree pollen...

It has been a beautiful weekend here in Nova Scotia, though there are a few drops of rain this evening.  Last night was just about a perfect evening with a glorious sunset, no wind, and warm temperatures.

Perhaps, if I hadn’t been so intent on looking at the way the sun illuminated the new growth on Miss Rhodie…

Look at all those wonderful new leaves!

or how beautiful the daisies looked with their faces turned to the evening sun…

Face to the sun...

or if I hadn’t been looking so intently at how vivid the colours of geraniums, lobelia, and marigolds became in the last of the sun’s rays…

Colour heightened by the last of the day's sun...

…then, perhaps I would have noticed that the hummingbird feeder was, once again, crawling with ants!  Sigh.  I swear I don’t know where they come from but they must like us because I think every ant in Windsor made a beeline for the feeder.  Today, I filled a bucket with hot water and put the feeder in it — the ants on the outside died immediately and inside, there were ten times as many!  ARRGGGHHHH! No wonder we hadn’t had any hummers.  So, this evening we took it down and put up the regular bird feeder.  Watch it attract every pigeon in town now.  I can’t win!

With the weekend sun, however, things are finally starting to perk up.  The geraniums are all loaded with buds just ready to open.  I bought another violet geranium today and paired it with some ageratum which I hadn’t been able to find locally until today.  Hopefully, it fills out quickly.  Some people think ageratum is overused…another one of those “granny plants”, but I love it paired with yellows and oranges and we’ll see what it looks like with the violet geranium.

Love that fresh green!

The hot pink verbena has really taken off over the past week and promises to be a bright spot as it spreads out.

This particular container also has a violet geranium whose buds are just beginning to hint at the colour to come. Can't wait to see it in bloom.

So, it’s Ants – 2; Hummingbirds – 0.  Maybe I can find a place to hang it where the ants won’t find it, but I think they have sugar radar!  Or better yet…maybe I can find a way to eradicate the ants altogether!  Muah-ah-ahhh!

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

21 thoughts on “Ants – 2; Hummingbirds – 0”

  1. If you ever find a way to eradicate those ants, please share! It’s a huge problem for me in my corner of the world too, especially during our summer and our ‘wet’ season!

    Beautiful photos … loved the shot of the Verbena. I constantly have trouble growing this one … there seems to be something lurking in my garden that waits for me to attempt growing the Verbena once more, then it pounces and infests every bit of the poor plants. Still have to figure out what to do about that one as well as the ants.

    The Gerbera photo is stunning.

    Thanks Bernie — this is the first year I’ve grown Gerberas and I can’t get enough of them. :) If I find a solution for the ants, I’ll sure let you know! Verbena always does well for me, so far, at least.

  2. Hi Nancy, lovely post! Glad your weather is so nice. Here, it’s hot and humid…95+ and I haven’t been out to garden in 2 days. For the hummingbird feeders, I hang ‘ant traps’ between the hanger and the feeder. I have 2 different types. One, is a little metal piece that you fill with water and the ants drown in it so they can go no further. The other, has a chemical/scent in it that deters the ants. They are very inexpensive. If I can find links to any I’ll send them your way, but I’m sure you can do a google search and come up with a variety to choose from. You should give one a try. They work wonders and I NEVER have to deal with the ants, because they just cannot succeed when you use these.

    Hi Jan — thanks for the ant tips! I’ll certainly have a look for these two possible solutions. I’m willing to try anything. :)

  3. Love that pink verbena! And I’m not a huge fan of pink flowers, although I seem to have quite a few of them. LOL. Love the photos with the late day sun!

    Pink is not my favourite either, Kylee, though I DO like this bright pink much better than a pastel. They certainly stand out! :)

  4. Hi Nancy – I took a spray can lid, like a paint can lid or spray starch lid. When you turn the lid upside down you will see it has 2 compartments. One small cup that covers the spray nozzle and the other is like a ring. I drilled a hole down the middle compartment so that I could connect the wire of the feeder through the center. That leaves a ring or a moat around the center. In the “moat” I mix up sugar and little water and oil. The ants go into the moat and stay there. It keeps them there instead of looking for the food in the feeder.

    Another great idea to try, Gloria! Thanks so much! I’ll let you know if it works. :)

  5. Love your flowers! As for the humming bird feeder problems, we don’t feed them in the summer, since the feeder attracts so many wasps, the bane of Victoria. Actually, we feed the hummers in the winter since we have a native hummer that over winters and really needs help then. But, we have attracted them to our deck by growing fuchsias, they love them. And we have lots of other flowers in the garden to attract them too.

  6. Dear Nancy, How very annoying, and upsetting, that your bird feeder should become infested with ants – they obviously appreciate a good and tasty meal! The images you show here are lovely, especially those back lit by the sun. A cheerful start to a grey and wet Monday morning.

  7. We are only just trying a sugar-water feeder for our sun-birds. They prefer the flowers thanks. But the bees! Hoover up all the sugar-water as fast as we can put it out! What do you do about bees? Ants we have, but not in the feeder.

  8. Hi Nancy – You have lots of suggestions to try – there are also hummingbird feeders that have built in moats – I have one hanging one and a window feeder. Got them from The Bird Garden here at the Moncton Farmers Market. Both work great.

    PS: love the new blog look!

  9. Nancy girl we are battling ants here as well .. John has this spray product that foams to the inside of the ant tunnels and seems to work for a while .. but I swear they are genetically mutated every generation to put up with all of the so called deterrents ?
    Love the picture and I can get the feeling of the sunset from the reflection on your deck .. it is lovely !

  10. Gorgeous photos of your blooms backlit by the last rays of sunshine, Nancy! I can only imagine what a beautiful sunset you had. Love the hot pink verbena–I like to use this in containers as well.

    Looks like you’ve gotten some good ideas for getting rid of the ants. There is something called an ant mote/moat . . . I’ve never tried it, but someone recommended it to me when I had similar problems.

  11. I’ve kind of given up on the hummingbird feeders. One thing I did that actually worked last year was wrap foil around the base of the feeder hook. It got hot in the sun and the ants didn’t cross – at least I think it worked. The hummers are still zooming around our yard though sipping from the monarda and salvias!

  12. For years I did the feeder thing. It’s gross, but smearing petroleum jelly on the hanger makes the pathway to the feeder unpassable for ants. I read somewhere that planting a variety of flowering plants will attract the hummers and now I just look for them in the garden. They seem to come here midmorning and midafternoon on a schedule, and enjoy odd things like hosta blooms!

  13. Hi Nancy…I feel your frustration. We’ve had a problem in years past, but not this year…yet. We have bees. I love to watch the little hummers buzz around quickly…to avoid the bees. I wish that all the little creatures would stay in their own place :)
    Balisha

  14. I had a hummingbird feeder with a shade cap that I just turned upside down on the hanger wire and filled with water — but I really like that spray can lid idea! I think the water would evaporate much slower in that. Good luck!

  15. It sounds like your problem will be solved soon, with all those ideas. We don’t have ants, just the usual bees. I am trying to put mostly butterfly/hummer plants in my garden, so have more there than at the feeder.
    By the way, I have had goldfinches and house finches drinking at the oriole feeder all spring.

  16. Sunlight through leaves and flower petals: There’s nothing more cheery, in my opinion. Sounds like you’ve received excellent advice about the ant problem. :)

  17. So many wonderful suggestions! Thank you all for taking the time to weigh in — I’ll be trying the “ant moat” asap and I’ll be sure to let you know how it works. It makes perfect sense. :)

    Thanks for your visits and for taking the time to leave your thoughtful and kind comments. – Nancy

  18. Aren’t ants difficult? I’ve had good luck with using petroleum jelly on the supports that the ants are crawling up; it blocks their access.

    Glad you’re having some nice weather!

    Lisa

  19. Such beautiful photographs. I love that evening light. Ants are everywhere! I brought peonies to church last Sunday and one women looked at me in horror and asked if I was bringing ants into the church. No ants on the big frilly blossoms. We were safe. That’s a good tip about petroleum jelly.

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