Backyard Birds

Keeping Hummingbirds Happy and Healthy: The Importance of Fresh Nectar, Especially in Summer Heat

Hummingbirds are captivating creatures with a sugar-centric lifestyle. They fuel their incredible flight and energy needs by consuming flower nectar, tree sap, and even the occasional insect for protein. In many backyards, birders attract these tiny marvels with a simple homemade nectar recipe that mimics the natural sucrose content of flowers.

This recipe, combining sugar and water, provides hummingbirds with a healthy and easily digestible source of energy. But here’s a crucial detail: freshness matters, especially during the scorching summer months.

Why Fresh Nectar is Essential in Summer Heat

Just like us, hummingbirds need to stay hydrated, particularly in the sweltering heat. Regularly changing their nectar source ensures they have access to clean, cool liquid. Stale nectar can become cloudy and harbor harmful bacteria or mold, potentially making these backyard visitors sick.

Homemade vs. Commercial Nectar: Freshness Matters for Both

Whether you choose the convenience of a commercial nectar mix or enjoy creating your own homemade blend, freshness is key. Here’s how to ensure your nectar solution provides the best for your feathered friends:

  • Homemade Nectar: Make small batches to avoid waste. The sugar-water solution can ferment quickly in hot weather, so aim to replace it every 2-3 days, especially during peak summer.
  • Commercial Nectar: Follow the recommended mixing ratios with water and store any unused solution in a cool, dark place. Once mixed, commercial nectar typically lasts longer than homemade versions, but it’s still a good habit to refresh it every 3-4 days in extreme heat.


By providing fresh nectar regularly, you’re not just offering hummingbirds a tasty treat, you’re ensuring they have access to a vital source of hydration and energy throughout the hot summer months. So, keep those feeders filled with fresh nectar, and enjoy the delightful hum of these feathered jewels in your backyard!