Sunday, September 1, 2013
Change hummingbird nectar daily in extreme heat
A sugar solution, or nectar, can ferment in direct sunlight in two days and in as little as five days in the shade. So check the nectar in your feeders daily. If the solution is cloudy or the feeder has mold, take it down and clean it thoroughly with a 10 percent solution of white vinegar and water, not soap – hummers will reject a feeder with a soap residue. Rise thoroughly and replace with fresh nectar.
If you're seeing mold, you're waiting way too long to clean the feeder.
To make nectar: use a 4:1 ratio of water and pure granulated sugar and boil for three minutes. Boiling helps retard spoiling of the nectar. Red dye is unnecessary and potentially harmful to the birds. Nectar can be stored for two weeks in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Never use honey as a substitute for sugar when making nectar. Honey fosters the rapid growth of bacteria and fungus. Hummingbirds can pick up a deadly fungal infection called Hummers Candidiasis at a feeder with a spoiled honey solution. An infected bird can pass this disease to birds at other feeders. The infection causes a swollen tongue, which causes the hummingbirds to suffocate or starve.
Help protect our precious little birds!