Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!

hummingbird feeder.2

Our backyard hummingbirds were not happy! A trail of hungry ants was climbing into our hummingbird feeder, fouling the sugar water, and keeping the birds away. The ants were undeterred by folk remedies like bay leaf barriers, and pesticides were out of the question. Ugh — but what to do?

My bin of toy parts yielded the answer. Drill a hole in the cap from a plastic vending-machine toy capsule. Attach the inverted cap on top of the feeder with a bit of Sugru or bathroom caulk. Use another dab to seal up the center hole and hanging wire. When filled with water, the cap makes a tiny water moat the ants refuse to cross. The hummingbirds are back enjoying the feeder — sweet!

Share it: #antfreefeeder


It molds like putty and cures at room temperature to form a strong, flexible
silicone rubber that can be used to fix, protect, improve, and innovate.

kid proof bath taps 5601 Toy Inventors Notebook: Ant Free Feeder Bouncy camera on display high res sugru plug hub
Make things child-proof and grippy Bounce-proof your camera Make a plug hub for your laptop
Joel Veitch, England Stefan Stocker, Germany Johan Frick, Sweden

Sugru is available in the Maker Shed.



Step #1: Gather materials.

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Ant-Free Feeder

You'll need a hummingbird feeder, vending machine capsule toy lid, and some Sugru.

Step #2: Take off the top.

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Ant-Free Feeder

Remove the cap and the hanger wire.

Step #3: Drill hole.

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Ant-Free Feeder

Check cap ( and drill a center hole big enough for wire to pass through).

Step #4: Assemble and hang.

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: Ant-Free Feeder
  • Place Sugru in a blob under the cap, thread the hanging wire through, add some more Sugru on top of the cap, then form Sugru together to level and seat the cap onto the lid. Smooth out with a moistened finger.
  • Let set for 24 hours, then use: refill feeder, assemble, hang the feeder outside, then fill the cap “moat” with water.
Bob Knetzger

Bob Knetzger

Bob Knetzger ([email protected]) is an inventor/designer with 30 years of experience making fun stuff.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,841 other followers