DIY Ant Moat for Nectar Feeders

Hummer season is about to peak in New Hampshire. As a longtime subscriber to Bird Watcher’s Digest, I thought fellow readers might like to know how to make an effective and inexpensive ant moat to keep ants off of nectar feeders. One advantage of this moat is that you can always see how much water it contains, because it is made from the translucent plastic cover from a stack of CDs or DVDs. It could also be made from a plastic food storage container.

Here's an unusual and effective way to keep ants off a nectar feeder: Convert a shallow food container into a water-filled barrier and hang it above the feeder. Ants can't swim.

Here’s an unusual and effective way to keep ants off a nectar feeder: Convert a shallow food container into a water-filled barrier and hang it above the feeder. Ants can’t swim.

Parts needed:

  • 1 clear plastic cover from stack of 25 CDs/DVDs (about 1.75 inches deep) or a similar food storage container
  • 1 bolt with 6-32 threads about 3 inches long
  • Several 6-32 nuts
  • A few assorted washers of increasing size as needed
  • Flat washers for 6-32 bolt
  • Rubber gasket/washer to make watertight seal (I cut a piece from a bike inner tube)
  • Larger flat washer or disc to stiffen bottom of CD cover (could use a metal jar lid or top from tin can)
  • Light wire or paper clips to hang feeder and moat

Procedure:  Drill a small hole in bottom center of CD cover or plastic bowl. Thread a 6-32 nut onto the bolt nearly—but not completely—down to the bolt head. Add a small washer and perhaps a second (larger) washer or jar lid (to support the container when water is added). Push the bolt through the CD cover from the bottom. Put the rubber gasket on the bolt from the top and then add the flat washer or disc and additional washers as needed to allow a 6-32 nut to be tightened down the bolt to make a watertight seal against the nut and washers below. Then thread another nut onto the top of the bolt and hang the moat and feeder below it with wire or bent paper clips fastened to the bolt above and below. Voila! Keep it full of water, and your nectar feeder will be ant-free.

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