I have a Showcase Minnesota appearance this morning and I'm talking about how to minimize wasps around your hummingbird and oriole feeders. They won't 100% keep wasps out of your yard or feeding area, but these tips can help reduce your wasp numbers. All of the wasp catchers that I have with me this morning are from Cardinal Corner.
I asked owners, Pam and Le which were their favorite hummingbird feeders they both chose different ones. Pam chose:
Le's favorite the Mini Hummzinger. The whole top comes right off to allow easy cleaning of the whole feeder. It also has a built in ant moat to try and keep ants from getting to the rest of the nectar...although in the spring sometimes I fill it with mealworms or grape jelly for orioles.
Another reason I like both of these feeders is that neither of them have any yellow on them, and wasps appear to be more attracted to the color yellow. So, avoid having yellow on your nectar feeder if you can--even if the yellow is supposed to be a wasp guard (sometimes called a bee guard).
One thing you can do is to rub a small amount of vegetable oil or Vaseline around the openings of the nectar feeders making the area slippery and unattractive to the wasps. I had someone criticize me once for this advice that hummingbirds could get the oil on their feathers and die from exposure, but really the only way a hummer could get that one their feathers would be if you grabbed the hummingbird and rubbed it against the oiled openings.
Pam and Le also recommended putting this around the edge of jelly dishes to keep wasps from taking over grape jelly. Of course we all agreed that the best solution for wasps in grape jelly feeders is to just switch to feeding life mealworms.
In conjunction with the Vaseline and oil use a wasp catcher. It's a container that wasps can fly into but are unable to fly out of. Because they are attracted more by smell than hummingbirds, you fill this with a small amount of a heavier sugar solution than you would your hummingbird nectar. You can use equal parts water to equal parts sugar, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, syrup, apple cider, etc all of these are heavier than sugar than the four parts water to one part sugar of hummingbird and oriole nectar.
Wasp catchers come in a variety of colors, yellow being popular because that is a color that attracts them, but it certainly isn't necessary. They can be plastic or glass (like the ones in the above photo). Hang these in the same general area as your nectar feeders.
Anyone else have any tips for keeping wasps away from hummingbird and oriole feeders?