It’s that time of year where we want to draw in pollinators and hummingbirds to our yards. We love them for the benefits they bring to our gardens, but also how fun it is to watch them. There’s almost a feeling of being “chosen” when you have a really popular feeder. Learn more about how to properly prepare your yard for these visitors.


Hummingbird feeders will be on all of the store shelves, along with a feeder mix. It’s very tempting to purchase these powder mixes because you only need to add water. However, we caution against this because too much red dye is harmful for your hummingbirds. It can also be more cost effective to make the sugar mixture at home and the birds are attracted to red parts on the feeder.

The at-home mixture is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. An example recipe could be:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water
  2. Dissolve 1 cup of white granulated sugar in the boiling water
  3. Let the solution cool
  4. Fill your feeder and watch the hummingbirds!

Stay on top of cleaning your feeder as you don’t want bacteria to grow and make your hummingbirds sick. The National Audubon Society recommends cleaning twice per week in warm weather and once per week when it is cool. Use hot water with a small amount of vinegar to cleanse the feeder.

Butterflies, Bees, and other Insect Pollinators

Bees and butterflies may also visit your hummingbird feeders. Don’t be alarmed! They are looking for extra sugar too. Our ecosystems have natural nectar flows and down times. During these times when the plants aren’t producing enough nectar for the bees and butterflies, they may check out your feeders. Providing a safe space for these pollinators to collect some sugar water is very beneficial to their overall health.

Both bees and butterflies look for water to drink as well as nectar. You can help them find safe watering stations. There are many creative ideas available on the internet, but below are two examples.

Use a bird bath and fill the bottom with pebbles or other perches. This provides a shallow area that they will be less likely to fall into. We want them to be able to reach the water and have a moment to relax. You can add some bright flower petals to attract them to the water as well!

Image of shallow pan with moist rocks to allow bees to safely reach the water
Photo provided by Cathee Bollinger

You may also choose to fill the bottom of a shallow pan with sand. Adding fruits will supply sugars to the water. Butterflies and bees are big fans of water that we humans would consider salty, dirty, or gross. To help attract them to this, you can add some manure which will provide salts and protein. Check out this video from retired UGA Extension Agent, Walter Reeves, for a step by step guide.

Other Resources

Find out more information about feeding, Georgia’s 11 hummingbird species, and gardens that will attract hummingbirds by going to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Hummingbirds in Your Backyard webpage.

Learn how to Protect Pollinators in your backyard with UGA Extension. We host an annual Pollinator Census which will be held August 18-19, 2023.

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TLDR)

There are many easy methods to take care of the insects and birds you wish to bring to your home garden. Make sure you supply food and water that is beneficial to them and keep these materials clean.