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DIY Hummingbird Feeder Ant Guard from Recycled Materials

A photo of Mary  With the hummingbirds migrating back into the US, everyone is putting up feeders.  With the abundance of fire ants in my area, I like many was having problems with ants getting into the feeders and ruining the sugar water. I priced some of the store bought ant barrier containers and they were very expensive.  I found one at the end of the season at a very deep discount. I looked at it and said to myself, I can make this.  I came up with a couple of designs for making home made ones very inexpensive. 

One design uses a heavy gauge wire, such as electric fence wire, which I also had on hand for making homemade plant tags.  Another design used a screen door latch which I had on hand after replacing a screen door on the back porch.   

# 1 RULE, USE GLOVES WHEN DOING THIS PROJECT.

Other materials needed are a cap off of a spray can, a nail or ice pick or drill bit, a pipe or pipe or broom handle, pliers, and water proof caulking.  One advantage of using wire is that if you don’t quite get the hole in the center, you can bend the wire after hanging to level the cap. 

Punch a hole in the middle of the cap. 

punch hole in middle of cap 

Cut a length of wire around a foot long and file down the sharp edges on each end.

wire 

Wrap one end around a pipe or broom handle, rod or whatever you have to make a loop.

make first loop 

make loop in one end and twist closed 

Take the pliers and twist the end of the wire around the length of wire. Push the other end through the cap.

thread wire through hole and make a loop in other end 

Make another loop as you did with the first end.

make loop in other end 

Caulk and let dry and put to use.  

chaulk  around wire in cap to make water tight 

For the screen door latch, punch a hole in the middle of the cap.  

 punch hole in middle of cap 

I cut the smaller eye screw shown off of the screen latch either with a bolt cutter or hack saw.

ice pick and paint can cap 

Take a hammer and bend the latch part down to make a hook. Push the latch end through the bottom of the cap.   Caulk around the hole and let dry a day or two. Hang the feeder and put water in the cap.   

feeder with finished ant guard and hummers 

Don’t use the colored dye sugar water. Make your own by using 1 part of sugar and 4 parts of hot water. Cool and place in your feeder.  The red on the feeder itself is enough to attract hummers.  Check out one of my four posts of my hummingbirds at my feeders last September. 

The 13 year cicadas started hatching a couple of weeks ago and are slowly hatching out to the north.  They get more numerous and louder each day.  You can’t hear yourself think when you are outside.  The hooligans have been extremely stinky even from six feet away.  I finally figured out what was causing the odor when I saw Blackie, the most aromatic of the three rolling in something.  The cicadas, what the dogs haven’t eaten, they’ve rolled in.  I hope the birds are having a feast right now.  I’ve saw a bluebird carrying one to her nest, but haven’t seen many other birds after them.  

Saturday it was too wet to plow the garden, and my crooked neck and Zapallo scallop squash needed to be planted.   I had planted some several weeks earlier but only had one come up.  I took some single ply toilet paper and lined up my seeds down the middle and rolled it up length wise and put the wad into recycled yogurt cups and moisten the paper daily until the seeds started sprouting.  I had almost 100% germination this time, and I’ll have enough squash to feed an army.   

The tornado clean up continues in Hackleburg and Phil Campbell.  Hope is that Wrangler will rebuild it’s factory in Hackleburg as it is the largest employer in town. Phil Campbell’s prom was held in the Shoals last weekend, and the hospital group I work for is sponsoring their sports award banquet this week. Another group is trying to replace music instruments; volunteers spend their weekends going to these two towns and also to Moulton and other parts of Lawrence county to help. And the list goes on. Everyone in the area is trying to help bring some normalcy back into their lives.. 

I  purchased a small Golden Shadows Pagoda dogwood at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens a few weeks back and have been looking for a nice visible shady spot for this variegated dogwood which needed to be an understory tree.  I decided to put it on the north side of one of my Heritage birch trees in the front yard and of course put a hooligan cage around it.  After digging in compost and getting the hole dug, I pulled the tree out of it’s container and sat it in the hole. Levi who’d been picking on Blackie again was running for his life and ran to me to save him and sat on my tree before I could stop him.  Luckily the tree only sustained a broken off leaf and no other damage.  Advanced thinking had a hooligan cage just a few feet away, which was quickly placed over the tree before other damage occurred.  

I’ve been wondering if I’ve pulled a Rip Van Winkle and slept through summer and fall.  It’s been cold with misty rain the last few days.  Monday’s high was 60 beating the old record low high of 61 in 1926.  Lows have been in the low 40s, and I turned on the heat last night to warm up a bit.  My iris are finishing up and clematis, oriental lilies, daylilies and Japanese iris are starting to bloom. Usually the irises are finished by the end of April and the oriental lilies don’t start until the middle of June. My daylilies usually start in April. Plants are screwed up this year with all the snow we’ve had. Check out some of the new petunias on the market this year on my personal blog along with some of my flowers in bloom this week.