There is an ongoing debate about the use of red dye in hummingbird food. I do not know if there will ever be a final resolution to this debate, but I do know what I believe on this issue and I want to give you some things to think about concerning this issue.
The use of red dye is absolutely unnecessary to attract hummingbirds. In fact, informal experiments using side by side feeders, one with red syrup and one with plain, would indicate that the birds do not like the taste of red dye.
If you are worried that the hummingbirds will not find or drink from your feeders unless it contains red dye, keep the following things in mind. Most feeders on the market today have some red on them and you can tie a red ribbon onto the feeder to attract the birds to the feeder. Given time, the birds will eventually find your feeder regardless if your nectar solution contains red dye or not.
Here is an important fact to remember. Natural flower nectar is clear, not red. Hummingbirds don’t look at nectar anyway. What I mean by this is that the birds are looking for flowers of the right shape and color as well as the quality and quantity of the nectar source which us available.
It is important to remember that the make up of all flower nectar is sugar and water. Yes, plants do have trace amounts of electrolytes or chemicals found in them, but there is no proof that hummingbirds use or need them for good health. In my opinion, none of the hummingbird food mixes seem to make an attempt to duplicate flower nectar accurately.
Please take the time to consider what I have said on this issue and make your own informed opinion on the matter. My goal in writing this post is not to force you to agree with my own opinion, but to get you thinking about the matter so you can make your own informed decision on the matter.