Ants are a common problem for bird seed. They can quickly overwhelm feeders and make them unusable for birds. This article will offer you some helpful tips on how to keep ants out of bird seed, so that you can enjoy feeding the birds in your backyard or at your workplace with no hassle.
The first thing we need to do is clean up our feeder with soap and water. This way we remove any food residue which ants might use as an invitation for their next meal.
After washing the area down, we want to add a little cooking oil around the inside of our container where the seed goes, and this helps prevent ants from climbing up inside and getting at all their favorite treats!
To finish our ant preventative measure, we are going to mix a strong batch of boiling hot water and peppermint oil. Ants hate peppermint, so the scent will have them fleeing your feeder in no time!
What is Birdseed And What Does It Do?
Birds are always on the move, looking for an easy meal. Birdseed is a great way to offer food to our feathered friends, but what exactly is it? Well, if you opened up a typical bird seed bag and poured it out onto the ground, you would find that it contains little tiny pieces of different grains like corn or peas.
As these seeds sprout into plants in their natural environment, small creatures, including birds, often feed them upon.
Birdseed is also known as wild bird feed, which mainly comprises sunflower seeds, peanut chunks, raisins, oats, safflower seed, corn bits, wheat. It comes in several packages ranging from 1 pound bags to 50 pounds or more bulk-sized bags.
Bird seed is not only good to feed birds, but it can also provide food for squirrels, raccoons, mice, and other small animals who are beneficial in controlling the population of insects.
Reasons You Don’t Want Ants on Your Food, Inside or Out!
A single ant is harmless, but when you have thousands of them crawling all over your food supply, that definitely causes concern. Ants don’t just nibble on your seed, and they eat them up!
They not only devour the protein-packed insides but will actually chew through the outer shell to get at it too. Sometimes this can expose a whole new species to salmonella, which might be deadly if ingested in regular amounts.
In short, ants are starving creatures and will eat anything they can find in order to survive. When they come swarming back from their trek across the yard looking for a snack or a way into your feeder, they will take what they can get, even if it means making a meal out of your prized birdseed.
With so many seeds, birds require large quantities to stay healthy and happy. This means that ants will continue coming back for more and more, and the only way to stop them is by applying an effective ant deterrent to your feeder!
Here are Some Tips on How to Keep Ants Out of Bird Seed
Keeping ants away from your bird seed is as simple as washing your feeder with soap and water. This way, we remove any food residue which ants might use as an invitation for their next meal.
In addition, they describe some of the most important tips on how to prevent ants from contaminating birdseed in the following section.
Apply an Ant Deterrent
Many people seem to automatically assume that the only possible way they can prevent ants from getting into their feeder is by keeping it in a completely dry place, but luckily, this isn’t always necessary.
There are several schools of thought for dealing with this issue, chemical or natural? While some people swear by either, there is no conclusive proof that either works better than the other! It’s really up to you and your preference.
The ant problem will vary depending on where you live, so here are the best methods for your area at our website.
If you think that your bird feeder might be the problem, try giving it a thorough washing with hot, soapy water and then drying it completely before filling it back with food. Avoid any soap or cleaner residue this time around! You can also sprinkle some ant deterrents on the surface of the feeder and scrub them in until they’re evenly spread out.
Use an All-Natural Product
Although some people might want to use chemicals or all-natural ant deterrents, some ants really don’t care about the difference. They want food, and they’ll take it any way they can get it.
If you’re more interested in keeping your yard safe for wildlife without harmful chemicals, then go with an organic option!
Whether you choose a product that has been specifically formulated for this purpose or just mix your own concoction, it’s important to know which ingredients work best.
One of the most common natural and deterrents is a simple spray made from dishwashing soap and water. It’s easily applied to any accessible area on your bird feeder, including the lid!
If you’re using a spray bottle, place it in an upright position. Then pump some liquid soap into the bottle and finish with water. Shake well before use, spray down your feeder thoroughly and leave for about 10 minutes or until dry.
Make Your Own Solution
The only things you need for this method are water, sugar, and peppermint oil, which you most likely already have in the house. Just mix it all until they’re evenly blended and put it in an old plastic spray bottle. Then give your homemade deterrent a light misting over the surface of the feeder, adding any bird food!
Hang Your Feeder a Different Way
Over at our website, we have a lot of information about everything from common bird diseases to feeding pigeons, so be sure to check it out if you want to learn how to properly take care of your feathered friends! However, you’ll have to trust us for now when we say that hanging the bird feeder from a tree is very effective at keeping away those pesky ants.
Use Teflon Tape or Electrical Tape
This might sound strange, but bear with us these types of tape can provide an invisible barrier that will effectively repel ants and prevent them from crossing over onto your feeder.
It’s not clear how it works, but the manufacturers promise ants won’t be able to climb where treated.
Use a Wire Mesh or Another Type of Barrier
It might seem simple, but placing something like a small metal jar lid over the hole in your feeder will keep ants from getting inside!
Check Your Yard for Any Leaks And Fill Up Any Cracks with Caulk
Ants might be tiny, but they’re tough little buggers that can slip into even the tiniest of holes and cracks, especially those near your bird feeder. Check around the base and underneath it for any crevices and seal them up with silicone caulk. That should solve the issue!
Set Up a Barrier Around Your Home
Another way of keeping ants out of your bird feeder is to set up a physical barrier at least 5 feet from its base and around the perimeter of your home. Ants can’t climb smooth surfaces like metal and plastic, so by sticking tape or some other non-slip material along this boundary, you’ll create an uninviting environment that they won’t dare cross over into.
Keep It Away from Plants
Plants not only attract ants but also attract aphids and other insects that ants will gladly go after. Keep your feeder away from plants or any low-hanging branches to prevent them from coming into contact with it.
If you have questions about anything we’ve talked about here, ask us over at our website. We hope this helps and good luck keeping those pesky little buggers away from your bird feeder!
Take The Following Precautions
When feeding birds, there are some safety and precautions that you need to take in order to ensure their safety.
Maintain a Clean Feeder
Keep the area under and around your bird feeders tidy by picking up fallen seeds and shells. This will prevent it from attracting rodents and ants that may feast on the seeds dropped to the ground. Ants can bring new ant colonies into your area, so keeping this area as safe as possible is very important.
Keep an Eye Out For Holes In Screens
Eliminate any places where you think small animals could enter to clear out their food source or find shelter. If birds have made a nest on top of your screen, try removing those nests so they don’t obstruct the view of a squirrel before they try to enter!
Be Aware of What Types of Feeder You’re Using
Some bird feeders are more suited to small animals than others. Squirrels can easily chew hooded or enclosed ones with thin mesh on the sides, so swapping for a different type would be best if you have this problem. Otherwise, try moving your feeder away from any trees or shrubs where rats and mice can dwell.
Check Your Feeders Regularly for Wear And Tear
If they become damaged during season changes or cannot resist outside factors like rain or snow, they will need to be repaired or replaced before having any seeds distributed inside them.
Don’t Forget About Location!
Your bird feeder should not only be set up somewhere that is out of the way of obstacles, but somewhere where you can see it easily. This will allow you to keep an even closer eye on your feeder and the birds feeding there.
What Types of Birdseed Ants Prefer
Peanut chunks: Ants can eat through the hard shell to get access to the soft peanut inside.
- Sunflower Seeds: These nutritious seeds are full of vitamins and minerals, making them a bird’s favorite meal. The half-shell allows for great exposure to the seed so that birds can easily pick it up and crack it open to feed on this tasty treat. Once again, the ant has no problem getting through this tough outer layer.
- Safflower Seed: This small round seed is all white and has very little nutritional value to birds, but it also doesn’t have much of an outer shell protecting it from those tiny insect jaws. Again, the ant has easy access!
- Millet: Mil is a type of grass seed that has a tiny shell that is easily broken through by ants.
- Cracked Corn: This type of birdseed comprises broken pieces of larger corns like dent, flint, and flour corns. These small particles are an ant’s favorite meal, but it’s fatal to some birds.
- Wheat: Like cracked corn, wheat is ground into smaller particles making it an easy entry snack for the ant.
- Corn: Ants also have no problem getting through this outer layer either! Corn can be deadly for some species of birds because they may choke on the kernels while trying to get at the nutrition inside. It can get stuck in their throat or get lodged in their stomach if not swallowed whole.
These are just a few types of bird seed that are found in the wild, but if you’re feeding birds in your own backyard, you might get different feed to keep your ant problem at our website.
Duration of Bird Feeding Season
Bird feeding season runs from late fall through winter and into early spring, but you can feed year round if you want to. If you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing for more than a few weeks at a time, it’s best to stop during those months because the seed can turn rancid as it sits in your feeder.
Rancid seed smells bad and may even attract rodents. It’s perfectly safe to distribute seed, though, as long as it isn’t wet or has been sitting out for more than a few days.
Your bird feeder doesn’t have to be on a timer either-birds know when it’s their feeding time, and they’ll come! However, if you struggle with squirrels hanging around, you can always set a timer, so you don’t have to worry about them stealing your seed.
Another thing you should know about feeding the feathered creatures in your yard is that it’s perfectly fine and often encouraged to change or rotate the type of birdseed you feed your birds. Just keep track of which ones they eat most often and stock up accordingly!
When you’re trying to feed birds in your yard, you need to pay attention and how to keep ants out of bird seed. You should know they attract which type of birds to which types of seed, and when you should stop feeding them during the year.
Keeping this information in mind will ensure that you won’t miss a single moment when bird watching season comes around again next time!