Can You Use Brown Sugar In Hummingbird Feeder?

No, you should not use brown sugar in hummingbird feeders. Brown sugar contains molasses, which is difficult for hummingbirds to digest and can ferment rapidly, leading to mould growth that can be fatal for these birds.

Instead, prepare hummingbird nectar using a 1:4 ratio of white granulated sugar to water, which closely mimics the natural sugar content found in flower nectar, providing a safe and nutritious source of energy for hummingbirds. Avoid using honey, molasses, and artificial sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.

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Can You Use Brown Sugar in Hummingbird Feeders_ (1)

Which Type of Sugar is Preferred by Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds prefer white granulated sugar in their feeders, as it is easily digestible and supplies the necessary energy for their survival in the wild. Other sugar types should be avoided, as they may pose harm to these delicate creatures. Opting for white granulated sugar in hummingbird feeders is the ideal choice to support their health and well-being.

Types of Hummingbird Food Recipes

There are various hummingbird food recipes that are suitable to the needs and preferences of these small birds. The most common recipes include homemade nectar solutions, which mimic the natural sugar content found in flower nectar. Other recipes may involve using specialized hummingbird food products available in stores, which are designed to meet their nutritional requirements.

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

A simple and effective homemade hummingbird nectar recipe involves using a 1:4 ratio of white granulated sugar to water. Follow these steps to make your own hummingbird nectar:

  1. Measure 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes, ensuring the sugar dissolves completely.
  4. Allow the nectar to cool to room temperature.
  5. Fill the hummingbird feeder with the cooled nectar.
  6. Store any remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Nectar Recipe Tips

When preparing homemade hummingbird nectar, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a safe and nutritious food source for the birds:

  • Always use white granulated sugar, as it closely resembles the natural sugar content of flower nectar. Avoid using honey, brown sugar, molasses, or artificial sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.
  • Do not add red food colouring or any other additives to the nectar, as they can be harmful to the birds. Many hummingbird feeders come in red, which is enough to attract the birds.
  • Clean the hummingbird feeder with a solution of warm water and white vinegar at least once a week, or more often in hot weather, to prevent mould and bacterial growth.
  • Replace the nectar every 2-4 days, or more frequently in hot weather, to ensure it remains fresh and safe for the hummingbirds to consume.
  • Monitor the activity around your feeder and adjust the nectar recipe or quantity as needed to meet the demands of your local hummingbird population.

By using this traditional hummingbird nectar recipe, you can easily prepare an affordable and delightful hummingbird food that’s more cost-effective than store-bought nectars or mixes.

What Other Types of Food Do Hummingbirds Eat

What Other Types of Food Do Hummingbirds Eat? 

Apart from flower nectar and homemade hummingbird feeder solutions, hummingbirds also feed on insects like aphids, gnats, and flying ants. They relish consuming spiders, moths, and other invertebrates they encounter during their foraging. To entice more hummingbirds to visit your yard, consider installing bug traps near your plants, providing them with an accessible food source.


In conclusion, providing the right type of food and environment for hummingbirds is essential to keep them coming back to your yard. Remember to use white granulated sugar in your homemade nectar solutions and maintain a clean and fresh feeder. Don’t forget that hummingbirds also enjoy insects and spiders, so creating a welcoming habitat for these tiny creatures is equally a good idea.

Now over to you, What’s your experience feeding hummingbirds? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave your comments in the comment section below!

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References: HummingbirdBird Feeder.

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