What to Use in a Hummingbird Feeder (So Hummingbirds Flock Your Garden Instantly)

Humming bird feeding

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Having hummingbirds around your garden for sure is undoubtedly a beautiful sight. Your garden brightens up and looks more lively whenever hummingbirds fly up and down, chirping all day long.

Sharing your compound with hummingbirds seems great, right? But wait, it comes with responsibilities that you must take up willingly to ensure you take good care of them.  

Responsibilities come in many types, but the crucial ones are mainly food and shelter. You can make hummingbird nests for shelter purposes, and it will still serve as a great home for them.

Additionally, you can get a quality hummingbird feeder for food purposes that will host the type of food you would like your hummingbirds to enjoy. But sadly, for most people, knowing what to use in the hummingbird feeder is the daunting part, but do not worry; today, you are in the right place.

Below, we will discuss what you can use in hummingbird feeders to boost your hummingbirds health-wise. Stay with me.

What Foods Do Hummingbirds Eat?

If you want to keep hummingbirds always looming around your backyard, you must know what types of food they normally eat and the ones they like most.

Most average backyard birders know hummingbirds usually feed on small insects like gnats, mosquitoes, and fruit flies. 

But what if I told you that hummingbirds do not entirely depend on insects for survival? It is probably something new to you, right?. Let’s find out more.

Hummingbirds can feed on multiple food sources and still get to survive. Food sources such as sugar water, bugs, and flowers also ensure balanced nutrition to build a strong holistic bird.

Understanding what types of food hummingbirds like will enable you to convince them to stay in your garden for longer periods. Therefore, if you provide what they like, the birds definitely will stay longer.

The following food types are the ones frequently used in most gardens. If you use them in your garden, it’s a guarantee you will have hummingbirds sooner or later. Don’t go anywhere.

Hummingbird Nectar

Nectar is the most abundant source of hummingbird food since it is readily available in plant flowers around. Since it is the most popular source of food for hummingbirds, it is loved by most of them as they can easily find it without much struggle.

Therefore, without a doubt, I can assure you that nectar works like a spell. Why? Due to their readiness and ease of finding, your garden will attract more hummingbirds, and consequently, you will have a substantial amount of hummingbirds flocking your garden.

Aside from being readily available, nectar also has various nutritional benefits that positively impact the health of hummingbirds. Nectar has a lot of sucrose in its nutrients, giving out the energy required for swift flights and vibrant lives.

Since nectar is in a liquid state, it gives hummingbirds the right amount of water required to run various body functions, such as cooling the body efficiently.

Apart from the natural nectar, did you know that you can make homemade nectar that is safe for hummingbird consumption? If you follow a few simple steps below, you will be good to go.

Making a Homemade Nectar 

Making nectar from home might be simpler than you thought. Here’s why: you do not need complex and expensive materials to make them.

With a simple sugar and water solution mixed in the right proportion, you will be good to go. Making nectar only takes a few minutes of preparation, and you will be done. Below are steps to make good nectar. If you follow them to the latter, you will make nutritious nectar that is healthy for hummingbirds.


Apart from tap water, you can use distilled water after adding a sodium-free salt to ensure that potassium chloride is in the mixture.

  • Mix Sugar and Water

When mixing water and sugar, combine them in a ratio of 4:1. That ratio is commonly used as it is approximately close to the sucrose levels of hummingbird’s favorite flowers with natural nectar.

What is fascinating about self-mixing is that you can slightly adjust the mixing ratio to what you find convenient for your hummingbirds.  While adjusting, you should note that the ratio of the mixture directly affects the sweetness of the nectar.

If you put too much sugar ratio, the solution will be too sweet, making it difficult for the hummingbird to carry out digestion efficiently. Likewise, if the water ratio is higher than required, the sugar level in the nectar will be low; therefore, it will not attract hummingbirds effectively.

  • Heat the Mixture

Once you have attained the appropriate mixture, gently heat the solution for about two minutes to allow slow fermentation and help the large sugar particles dissolve easily.

If you use extra-fine sugar, heating to dissolve should be a thing of the past as you will only be required to stir the solution.

  • Cool the Mixture

Once you are done with the heating, you can allow the mixture to cool before filling it in the bird feeders.

When creating this mixture, you only use plain the white granulated sugar type. Avoid brown sugar, honey, molasses, and artificial sugars as their stomachs will have difficulty digesting them effectively.

Maintenance of the Feeder

To ensure you serve your hummingbirds with purely fresh nectar, you should keep changing the nectar every four to five days. You can also change it anytime you see mold in the feeder or if the nectar appears cloudy to avoid giving the hummingbirds infections.

If ants attack your feeder, you can use an ant guard to keep them away. You can also soak the feeder in a mixture of water and bleach, then wash it thoroughly every month.


When placing the hummingbird feeder on the tree, it is wise to place it at least 4 feet or more from the ground so bigger predators like cats and squirrels cannot reach it easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Fine Feeding Hummingbirds Sugar Water?

Yes, it is okay to feed hummingbirds sugar water because the sugar water contains sugar with sucrose that gives them the energy to move about.

Is Nectar the Only Food Hummingbirds Eat?

Nectar is not the only food hummingbirds can eat. They always get some proteins by eating small insects that thrive in the wild. They also eat various edible fruits that tend to spoil on trees.

Wrap Up  

The above nectar guide is among the cheapest ways of making homemade nectars. It is also a quick method, and you should be done in a few minutes.

When making the nectar solution, you should consider the ratio you mix sugar and water. If you mix water and sugar in the correct proportion, you will make a sweet, nutritious solution that will make hummingbirds flock to your garden in no time.

If you have recently acquired a hummingbird feeder and you are wondering what to use in the hummingbird feeder, I am sure you now know what to do. All the best.

Dawn Caffrey

Dawn Caffrey

Hummingbirds just make me happy - in fact, I read somewhere that they represent happiness in Native American totems.
Let me tell you what I found about feeders from treating the hummingbirds in my back yard.

About Me

Hummingbirds just make me happy – in fact, I read somewhere that they represent happiness in Native American totems.
Let me tell you what I found about feeders from treating the hummingbirds in my back yard.

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