Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ants Are Determined Little Critters

ants drinking
(click here for the full size image on flickr)

About a week ago, Dwight saw a hummingbird flitting by our deck, looking for our feeder. Guess they're back! So this weekend, Dwight brought the feeders up from the basement and I mixed up some nectar—basically colored sugar water—and hung up the two feeders, hoping to attract more hummingbirds. We had a few "regulars" last year and are hoping to get even more this year.

We've already seen at least two, possibly three, and they've hit both feeders. We're very excited. But something else found the feeders, too, almost immediately.


feeder on hook
One of our feeders is tiny and hangs from a shepherds hook stationed just outside the edge of our deck, so it's off the ground by a good 3-1/2 to 4 feet. Somehow, the ants sniffed it out and have a steady trail going up and down the hook. It's fascinating to watch because they each follow the same path, passing each other along the way, sometimes stopping to "chat".

ant path
They climb up the side, over the top of the hook, back down to the S hook that holds the feeder, crawl down that hook, over the side and down to the opening.
ants on s hook

They crawl part way into the opening to drink the nectar or slurp off the drop I made when trying to shoo them off. I think they might be gone now, though, because we had some torrential rain and pea size hail yesterday, so I think they got knocked off. I've got some ideas to keep them away, thanks to friend of ours that suggested we interrupt the flow by putting a ring of petroleum jelly around the pole. It sounds like a good idea to me.

ants drinking2

Besides, I want the keep the feeder nice and clean for its intended guests!
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