Outdoor PestsBees

How To Keep Bees Away from Oriole Feeders

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Keeping bees away from your oriole feeders can be a challenging task. Bees, like orioles, are attracted to the sweet substances found in these feeders, such as nectar and grape jelly. As the temperature rises during the summer months, bees become more active and need more energy, making your oriole feeder an easy target. However, there are several strategies and methods you can use to deter bees from your oriole feeders without causing them harm.


To keep bees away from oriole feeders, use whole cloves in the nectar ports and ant moat, apply mint extract on the feeder, install bee guards, relocate the feeder away from flowering plants, use dish or saucer feeders, add nectar guards, and use a vinegar spray around the feeder. Avoid using pesticides or sticky substances. Also, some oriole feeders are designed to deter bees, such as the Fliteline Jr. oriole nectar feeder and the Perky-Pet oriole feeder.

Why Do Bees Love Oriole Feeders?

Bees are drawn to oriole feeders for the same reasons orioles are: they provide an easily accessible source of energy. Sweet substances like grape jelly, fresh fruit, and homemade nectar serve as a food source for bees. As the temperature rises during the summer months, bees may be more attracted to feeders due to increased activity and the need for more energy.

Effective Methods to Keep Bees Away

There are several effective methods to keep bees away from your oriole feeders, and here are some you can try:

  1. Use Whole Cloves: Place whole cloves in the nectar ports and ant moat of the feeder, and sprinkle ground cloves on top of the feeder. This method has been reported to drive away 99% of the bees.
  2. Apply Mint Extract: Wipe the nectar ports with mint extract or rub crushed mint leaves on the feeder. Bees are deterred by the scent of mint.
  3. Install Bee Guards: Bee guards can be fitted into the feeding ports of many types of feeders. They help deter bees and other insects from entering the nectar ports.
  4. Relocate The Feeder: Move your feeder away from flowering plants where bees are already buzzing about.
  5. Use Saucer Feeders: Dish or saucer feeders are more effective at keeping bees away because the nectar sits well below the feeding ports, making it harder for bees to access.
  6. Add Nectar Guards: If you already own a hummingbird feeder, you can try adding nectar guards to the feeding ports to make it difficult for bees to access the nectar.
  7. Use Vinegar Spray: Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it around the feeder. The vinegar scent is unappealing to bees.

Remember to avoid using pesticides, insecticides, or sticky substances, as these strategies are neither safe nor humane.

Oriole Feeders That Deter Bees

Certain types of oriole feeders are designed to deter bees. For example, the Fliteline Jr. oriole nectar feeder has beads in the port that orioles can easily push through to get to the nectar, while bees cannot. Another option is the Perky-Pet oriole feeder, which features weighted perches that pull the bee guards out of the way when the oriole lands on it.

Maintaining the Oriole Feeder

To maintain an oriole feeder and reduce bee attraction, make sure to keep the feeder clean and free of spilled nectar or jelly, as this can attract bees and other insects. Also, regularly wipe the nectar ports with mint extract or rub crushed mint leaves on the feeder. If you notice bees frequently visiting your feeder, try relocating it to a shaded area, as bees generally prefer full sunlight.

Addressing a Bee Infestation

If a bee infestation has already occurred at your oriole feeder, remove the feeder temporarily, install bee guards, and create a separate feeding station for bees. Remember to monitor the situation and adjust your strategies as needed.

By implementing these strategies, you can help keep bees away from your oriole feeders while still providing a safe and enjoyable environment for the birds. Remember, the goal is not to harm the bees but to deter them from your feeders.

For more information on bee-friendly practices and bird feeding tips, visit Birds and Blooms, The Spruce, and Audubon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any other natural repellents to keep bees away from oriole feeders?

Yes, besides cloves and mint, you can also use cinnamon and citrus. Bees dislike the smell of these and will stay away.

How often should I clean my oriole feeder to keep bees away?

Regular cleaning is essential. It is recommended to clean your feeder at least once a week to avoid attracting bees.

Can I use a bee feeder to distract bees from the oriole feeder?

Yes, creating a separate feeding station for bees can help keep them away from your oriole feeders.

Are there any specific times of the day when bees are less likely to visit the feeder?

Yes, bees are generally less active early in the morning and late in the evening. Therefore, you can consider feeding the orioles during these times.

Will these methods harm or kill the bees?

No, these methods are meant to deter bees, not harm or kill them. It’s important to remember that bees play a vital role in our ecosystem and should not be harmed.

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