When wanting to make your own nectar solution, you should never use honey, artificial sweeteners, or food coloring when making nectar. These may be harmful to the birds.
Honey should not be used to feed hummingbirds because it attracts bees and favors the growth of a black fungus that causes a fatal liver and tongue disease in hummingbirds.
The only type of sugar that should be used when making your own nectar is white granulated cane sugar because this is very similar to flower nectar and won’t harm the hummingbirds. Never use brown sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners!
Red dye or food coloring is unnecessary and also thought to be unhealthy for the hummingbirds. There is a great deal of debate on the issue of whether or not the food coloring is actually harmful to hummingbirds or not, but my personal opinion is why even take the chance of harming the hummingbirds that you are trying to attract.
- Red dye has no nutrient value so why feed it the hummingbirds.
- All red dyes are categorized as "xenobiotics" the same as other pollutants and stress the metabolism accordingly [Kuno & Mizutani, 2005].
- Red dye masks fermentation making it difficult to assess the freshness of a mixture, encouraging users to risk keeping the mixture beyond its safety margin since it looks okay to them.
- A properly designed feeder attracts no additional hummingbirds by coloring the water, so it is a useless additional ingredient. They are attracted to red flowers, not red nectar, so the feeder, not the feed, should be red. In comparison tests of dyed & undyed nectars offered side-by-side in identical feeders, the non-dyed was visited more often.
- The potential carcinogenicity, DNA damage, lowered of fertility rates, increase in tumors, lethargy, & other health problems associated with mammals given doses of Red40 far lower than are in manufactured nectar powders, are not worth risking on such small birds.
The bulleted items listed above came from the following web address: http://www.paghat.com/reddye.html
Most feeders on the market to day have red on them somewhere and this is enough to attract the hummingbirds.
Making your own nectar solution is simple and easy to do, but make sure when you do so that you don’t accidentally harm the hummingbirds that you wish to attract. Remember, you should never use honey, artificial sweeteners, or food coloring when making nectar. I hope that this post has helped to inform you on this subject.