Can Hummingbird Nectar Get Too Hot? 5 Things To Watch Out For In The Summer Months

can hummingbird nectar get too hot
Yes, hummingbird nectar can get too hot. This is because contaminated feeders can lead to severe illness and cause them to be more vulnerable to predators. Also, hummingbirds tend to appreciate cool nectar over hot nectar during the warmer because it keeps their body temperature stable.

Five Things to Watch Out For In the Summer Months

During the summer, there are certain things you will need to watch out for if you want to provide quality hummingbird nectar to the various hummingbird species that will most likely pay you a visit. They include the following:

Shade for your Feeders

During the summer months, keep your hummingbird feeder in a shady area. It has to be somewhere that is out of direct sunlight. Some birders don’t realize this is a vital aspect of feeding hummingbirds. Nonetheless, by doing this, you will be able to prevent the nectar from heating up, thereby prohibiting the growth of any harmful mold and bacteria in the feeder.

How to Store Your Nectar

When it’s hot, you have to ensure that you store any extra hummingbird food in the refrigerator. This will allow you to provide a cool food source each time you refill the feeder. If the nectar gets too much exposure to high temperatures before the hummingbirds can consume it, it will spoil and they won’t eat it.

Do You Have a Glass Humming Bird Feeder?

A glass hummingbird feeder like the Perky-Pet-Top-Fill is easier to clean than most other feeders. It also has a thick barrier between the outside air and the nectar, preventing it from getting spoiled quickly. Another benefit is that a glass hummingbird feeder is scratch-resistant, which means that harmful elements like bacteria cannot find a home in small, hard-to-reach cracks.

Do You Have Ice Cubes

One of the better ways to cool down your hummingbird feeder during the hot summer months is to add some ice cubes to the nectar. If you want to use regular ice, please ensure that you make your nectar more concentrated to compensate for the melting water. You could also choose to make some ice cubes out of the nectar itself, which is another sweet option for the hummers.

Insulation is Essential

Some birders don’t understand just how vital insulation is to hummingbird feeders. You can keep your hummingbird feeder cool by adding a layer of insulation to keep the cold air from escaping. This will ensure that the birds keep the fresh nectar cool and consumable. Based on the shape of your feeder, you may also be able to re-purpose a soda cozy by taking off the bottom and then sliding it over the main chamber of the feeder.

plastic hummingbird feeder with hummingbird perched

Why it is important for you to keep your hummingbird feeders cool during hot weather

As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to keep your hummingbird feeders cool if you want to prevent the occurrence of mold and bacteria in the sugar water or nectar that may be left inside. You also must remember that sugar water can ferment in the summer, leading to severe illness in any hummingbirds that drink it.

Hummingbirds also have no sense of smell. They cannot tell whether the sugar water has gone bad. This means you have to ensure the sugar water is safe for them to drink by keeping it cool and fresh.

In addition, as a general rule of thumb, hummingbird nectar should not be exposed to direct sunlight or temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods. This is because doing so can lead to poor quality or compromised nectar. In case your feeder is exposed to hot temperatures, you should also ensure you clean and refill it to stop bacterial growth, another critical element.

Possible Diseases Caused by Unkempt or Dirty Hummingbird Feeders

A hummingbird feeder that is not adequately taken care of can result in the growth of several fungi and bacterial species, leading to severe illness. Some of which include:

  • Candidiasis
    • A fungal infection of the tongue.
  • Avian Poxvirus
    • A viral infection that occurs on the beak.
    • Makes eating impossible and eventually leading to starvation.
  • Aspergillosis
    • This is a fungal infection that leads to gastrointestinal distress.
  • Salmonellosis
    • This is a bacterial infection that causes issues such as:
    • Tiredness
    • Gastrointestinal distress
    • Ruffled feathers
    • Death

To decrease the likely occurrence of these diseases developing in the summer months among your hummingbird visitors, you should consider reducing the amount of sugar you put in the hummingbirds’ water. For instance, instead of mixing 1 part sugar with 4 parts water as you would most likely do in cooler weather, you can try mixing 1 part sugar and 5 parts water. It’s also essential to clean your hummingbird feeder regularly, particularly in the summertime when the temperatures go beyond 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

glass hummingbird feeder with hummingbird perched near pink flowers

Cleaning Your Hummingbird Feeder

Cleaning your hummingbird feeder can prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Clean it at least once a week and fill it with fresh nectar every 3 to 5 days in the summer. In fact, your hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and refilled even more often if the temperatures in your area happen to be over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some Hummingbird Feeder Alternatives during Hot Weather

One of the best alternatives to a nectar feeder for hummers in the summer months is to have a garden filled with hummingbird-friendly flowering plants. You should also remember that these birds like beautifully colored, tubular flowers like petunias, foxgloves, and bee balms before you embark on sort of planting. In addition, the main idea should be to ensure that whatever plants you decide to grow are in fact native to your area because they are the best option for your local hummingbirds.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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