Aug 11, 2011

This is for the birds

While I admire the tenacity, fortitude and strength of ants, I don't appreciate them when they march nonstop to our hummingbird feeder. I have no idea how much nectar they consume, but they're a nuisance I'd like to avoid if possible.

A few years ago I bought this thingamajigger that suspends between the feeder and the hook; it holds water and since ants can't swim, they can't cross it and get to the feeder.

My old one broke down from overexposure to sunlight, so I went back to buy another one. Over a two-week period I visited our local hardware store three times. Each time, the spot on the wall where these whodiwhatzits should be was empty. Their staff was sympathetic and encouraged me to order it site-to-store from their hardware supplier, but  when I searched the website, it appears the supplier is out, too.

But their website did give me a helpful tidbit of information.

These whatchamacallits have a name.

And the name makes sense, if you think about it.

They are called "ant moats."

Shut my mouth and call me silly - I had no idea these things had a name until now.

Armed with that bit of information, I went shopping and found several places with the plastic cup like I had before.

But then I found this super-cute little upside down metal umbrella. (Some people have a genius for taking an idea to a whole-new level. This is one of them.)

And so once again, my hummingbird feeder is free from the ant brigade, and it looks cute to boot. Let's just hope the ants don't figure out how to build a bridge or a raft.

If you want to make your own ant moat (I was tempted until I found the metal umbrella), here's a quick and frugal idea to MacGyver your own with a cast-off spray paint cap, a piece of wire and a hot glue gun.

Or if you want your own umbrella, they're available from a few places, but I purchased mine from the really nice folks at CreekTree USA, down in Red Oak, Texas. They had it to me in less than a week, for far less shipping and handling than most other places.

It's almost time or the hummers to head south.  But rumor has it we may have bluebirds setting up residence in the cedar nestbox I bought on my first trip to Lowes after we closed on this house.  (The way to Mr. Official's heart can take a few routes, including appealing to his songbird-lover heart.) Maybe we'll have some sweet little baby bluebirds showing up before first frost.

Happy birding!