Now if I do get bees hanging around the feeders, I coat the flat surface, which has the
feeder holes in it, with some type of vegetable oil, this will not hurt the birds, but it will definitely keep the bees away. The vegetable oil will eventually become dry and gummy and hard to clean. I have found
that normal tap water is not hot enough to do the job no matter how much soap I use, but using water from my coffee machine
or heating water on the stove solves the problem, but I need to wear gloves to keep from burning my hands. Hot water also
helps to sterilize the feeders. I usually clean my feeders at least once a week, and I don’t mix new and old food together.
New food only goes into sterilized feeders, and old food is combined into one feeder and if not used in a day or to is thrown
The food mixture
is 100% sugar water, the coloring process I discovered by accident.
I make large batches
of humming bird food, during the height of the season I refill the 10, 32 ounce feeders twice a day. On one occasion I poured 3 beer pitchers full of sugar into a large pot then added water, so I could bring
the mixture to a boil, I did this without stirring, as a result I accidentally scorched some of the sugar piled up at the
bottom of the pan and it colored the whole batch brown. Now I sprinkle sugar
on the bottom of the pan and wait till I get a small puddle to turn golden color, if an area starts to get to hot or wants
to turn black, I sprinkle more sugar on that spot to cool it down. Once I have
about a teaspoon of goldenish or amber colored liquid in the bottom of the pan, I add the rest of my sugar and water and bring
to a boil. I use the ratio of one-cup sugar to three cups water. Then I give
them a pinch more sugar just because I know they like it that way. Kinda like how we cook here at The Mill.
A teaspoon of color
will easily darken a batch, that's consists of 8 cups of sugar and 24 cups water.
just play around
with the process and you'll see how easily it is to color the water. It's healthier
for the birds than food coloring and sugar is cheaper than hummingbird food in the pet stores.
small gnats and mosquitoes, so they make our life her at The Mill much more pleasant
Hope this covers everything, if not drop me an e-mail
Happy Bird Watching, Sam