Bugs for Hummingbirds
Did you know that hummingbirds need to eat bugs for protein? They are great little hunters and are very resourceful. They have even been known to steal little bugs out of a spider's web, eat the spider, and then steal the web to build their own nest.
The hummingbirds like to eat small soft bodied insects made up of small arthropods such as gnats, spiders, mosquitoes, aphids, caterpillars, and insect eggs. Another great reason to keep hummingbirds around is to help quell the gnat population that plagues many areas in the summer.
It's best not to use pesticides with hummingbirds around. The hummingbirds will do the exterminating for you. Plus, if a hummingbird eats insects with pesticide on them, the hummingbirds can get violently ill or die.
We have heard of a way that you can grow bugs for your hummingbirds to eat by doing the following:
- Get a large, empty, bucket with a lid similar to the one in the image to the right. (A clean 5-gallon paint bucket with a lid or something similar will do just fine.)
- Punch a bunch of really tiny holes in the lid (or use a piece of loose woven fabric secured over the top).
- Put a banana or two in the bottom of the bucket with the lid off.
- Leave the open bucket outside for a day or two until you see those little tiny bugs buzzing around the fruit (fruit flies).
- Put the lid (or piece of loose woven cloth) on top and make sure the bucket is not in direct sunlight. After a while, the bugs will start to breed, making more bugs.
- Then, at the same time every day, go to where your hummingbirds are and bring out the bucket. Take the top off the bucket very quickly to let out a few bugs and put the top right back on. Don't let out all the bugs as some need to stay to keep breeding and making new ones. The hummingbirds will soon learn what the bucket means and associate it with a quick and nutritious meal.
- Every few days, toss another old banana or apple in the bucket to keep the little bugs breeding more bugs for the hummingbirds.
Note: Many places are located in the middle of bear territory. It is NEVER advisable to teach the local bears where to find some nice squishy fruit (and hummingbird feeders). If you live in bear territory, do not try this process. If you live in a safe location feel free to give this a try and let us know how it worked for you. We would love to hear from you and hear your adventures with hummingbirds and bugs.