In this article: Learn how to make your own hummingbird food with this homemade hummingbird nectar recipe!
Hummingbirds may be small, but they require a lot of energy to move so fast. And due to their high metabolism they need to eat a lot!
While hummingbirds eat a variety of different things, including insects and spiders, they also need and consume nectar.
This nectar usually comes from flowers, but if you want to draw more hummingbirds to your yard, putting up a hummingbird feeder is just the thing.
Use the following hummingbird nectar recipe to fill your hummingbird feeder. This recipe closely matches the natural nectar and sucrose content of the flowers in your yard.
The Best Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
Hummingbird nectar is simple to make using just sugar and water. It is important to use the right proportions of sugar and water to ensure you are giving the hummingbirds the amount of sucrose they need.
To make this hummingbird food recipe, you will need:
Plus a small saucepan and spoon.
The hummingbird food sugar to water ratio is 1:4. In other words to make homemade hummingbird nectar you will use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
This means if you use 1 cup of sugar, you will need 4 cups of water. Or if you need a smaller quantity, ¼ cup of sugar to 1 cup of water.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the sugar to water ratio the same.
Combine your sugar and water on medium heat and stir until your sugar has dissolved completely.
That’s it! Pretty simple, right?
Let your homemade hummingbird nectar cool completely before filling your feeders and hanging them outside.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Hummingbird Nectar
This hummingbird nectar recipe is super simple, but here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to homemade nectar:
What kind of sugar do I use?
White, organic, or raw sugar
If you take a look around the internet you might find lots of resources warning you not to use anything but white table sugar. The reasoning behind this is largely unfounded and I have used raw cane sugar for years with no problem.
I don’t feed my family white can sugar because of the potential presence of pesticides and GMOs. I don’t feel that using it for feeding hummingbirds is a good thing either.
Read more on what kinds of sugars are safe for hummingbirds.
*Do not use honey or artificial sweeteners in this hummingbird nectar recipe.
Can I use tap water to make hummingbird nectar?
In most cases tap water is just fine. If your water source is very high in chemicals or has a strong smell or taste, you might consider using purified water instead.
Boiling the water can also help purify the water and reduce any potential risks, so if you have any doubts bring the water to a boil (briefly, so you don’t change the water to sugar ratios).
Can I store extra nectar for later?
Yes! You can store extra homemade hummingbird nectar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to inspect the nectar before using for mold.
It’s often easier to adjust the amounts to make the exact quantity you need to reduce waste. Just remember the 1:4 ratio.
Do I need red dye?
NO! Red dye was originally added to help attract hummingbirds to feeders. Today most hummingbird feeders are red in color or have red elements which means you don’t need to add any red food coloring.
Additionally, red dye can be harmful to the birds- I know I don’t like to give red, or any other food dye for that matter, to my family, so again, why would I give it to the birds?
How do I keep ants out of my hummingbird nectar?
Ants can cause a lot of problems since they are drawn to the sweet nectar. Luckily there are things to do to keep them out. Check out my article on 10 Ways to Keep Ants Out of Your Hummingbird Feeder for more information.
Related Reading: 7 Perennial Herbs for Your Garden
Tips for Using Your Homemade Hummingbird Nectar
Here are some tips for using your homemade nectar and how to draw in even more hummingbirds!
Make sure the hummingbird nectar is completely cool before using. Hot nectar has the potential to harm your feeders, especially if you are using a plastic hummingbird feeder.
Warm nectar can also speed up any bacteria growth or fermentation. I like to stick mine in the fridge for a few hours before using.
Replace your nectar at least once a week. Sugar water can become contaminated as the hummingbirds drink from the feeder.
Completely clean and replace the nectar once per week to keep the nectar safe for the birds. In warm weather more frequent cleanings may be needed.
Plant flowers in your yard and around your hummingbird feeders. The best way to bring in hummingbirds is to create a habitat that they love. This means planting lots of nectar filled flowers for them to choose from!
Remember hummingbirds love bright colors and are especially drawn to red flowers. Bee Balm, columbine, red honeysuckle, and trumpet flowers are all good choices.
Read more about attracting hummingbirds: How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden and Feeders
Hang your feeders in a low activity area. Try to avoid decks and near windows since these high traffic areas could scare hummingbirds away.
Shady areas, near trees are best. (Though we often hang one on our deck and stay very, very still when the hummingbirds come around!)
Keep the feeders filled until after the hummingbirds have moved on. This is especially important if you don’t have a ton of flowers in your yard. If the hummingbirds are dependent on you to provide this food source, you need to keep providing it until they have moved on to another area.
Take the hummingbird feeders down after your first frost. Keeping a feeder out during cold weather, especially if it’s glass, can cause the feeder to break or crack.
There you have it! A simple hummingbird nectar recipe that will help you draw more of these tiny, beautiful little birds to your yard!
This recipe is much less expensive than commercial hummingbird nectars and allow you to keep the hummingbird feeders filled all season long!