Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes

Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes? Answered

Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures known for their agility and colorful plumage. They are well-loved for their attraction to flower nectar, which is their primary food source. However, their diet goes beyond just nectar.

In today’s post, we’ll delve into the world of hummingbirds’ feeding habits, including their surprising appetite for insects like mosquitoes.

Additionally, we’ll also explore recent research that suggests hummingbirds might play a role in pest management, specifically in reducing the impact of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) on berry crops.

So, Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes?

This is one major question that I hear many people ask, not only in the United States but almost across the globe. So, I will like to give a straight answer to it today.

Yes, hummingbirds do eat mosquitoes. They consume a variety of bugs, and mosquitoes provide them with protein, which is essential for their muscle growth and maintenance.

While they don’t specifically target mosquitoes, they naturally include them in their diet, especially ruby-throated hummingbirds, who rely on mosquitoes as a protein source.

Hummingbirds’ Diet and Feeding Habits

Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes

Nectar and Insects: A Balanced Diet

Hummingbird’s diet primarily consists of flower nectar, which provides them with the necessary sugar to sustain their high metabolic rate.

However, nectar alone is not sufficient to meet all their nutritional needs. Hummingbirds also consume insects to obtain protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

In fact, during the breeding season, when they are feeding their young, hummingbirds may eat up to 2,000 small insects per day!

Related Post: Debunking The “Mosquito Eater” Misconception

Supplementation and Feeding Tips

To attract hummingbirds to your garden, many people use feeders with a nectar solution purchased or mixed at home.

It’s essential to maintain cleanliness and hygiene by sterilizing the feeders frequently or boiling the nectar solution to prevent yeast or bacterial growth.

During hot, dry weather, it’s best to use a sugar-to-water ratio of no more than one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water to avoid dehydration risks.

Additionally, using hummingbird feeders with a center “moat” or coating the hanger rod with petroleum jelly can help reduce ant interference.

Migration and Diet Changes

Hummingbirds have remarkable abilities to consume large amounts of sugar water or nectar daily, often exceeding their body weight. Before migration, they may even double their weight by accumulating fat reserves to sustain their long journey.

Hummingbirds as Pest Management Partners?

Exploring Hummingbirds’ Impact on SWD

Research conducted by Julie at Cornell AgriTech showed intriguing results suggesting that hummingbirds might play a role in reducing the impact of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) on berry crops.

In her study, she observed fewer SWD caught in traps near hummingbird feeders compared to areas without feeders in raspberry plots.

Preliminary Data Analysis

Preliminary data from the research indicated that when SWD populations were very low or very high, there was little to no difference in the number of SWD caught in traps near or away from hummingbird feeders.

However, when SWD numbers were moderate, there was a noticeable reduction in SWD caught near the hummingbird feeder area.

Integrating Hummingbirds into Pest Management

While maintaining a large number of hummingbird feeders per acre may be challenging for some growers, there are alternative methods to attract hummingbirds to berry plantings.

Allocating space for their preferred flowering plants, such as Monarda (bee balm), can be beneficial.

Are Hummingbirds Fond Of Mosquitoes?

Not really. Mosquitoes don’t compete with hummingbirds for food. Hummingbirds rarely go after these bugs. However, on rare occasions when mosquitoes are present, you might see a hummingbird quickly snap its beak to catch them.

Hummingbirds don’t have specific “favorite” foods, but they mostly feed on colorful plants and flowers in your garden if you attract them. They happily take care of mosquitoes in a wild yard.

Hummingbirds have high metabolisms and need to feed on lots of flowers daily, consuming sugary nectar for a quick energy fix. Flowers like zinnias, sunflowers, and honeysuckle, which offer natural sucrose, are among their favorites.

How To Attract Hummingbirds

To attract hummingbirds, create a diverse garden with various flowers that can also attract small insects like flies and mosquitoes. Hummingbirds can eat up to three times their body weight daily, so providing enough food sources will keep them coming back.

Snapdragons, morning glories, fuchsias, and trumpet-shaped flowers are the blooms that hummingbirds prefer to feed on.

Is It A Good Idea To Use Hummingbirds To Control Mosquitoes?

If you have a mosquito problem in your garden and attract hummingbirds regularly, it’s better to let the birds handle it rather than resorting to pesticides. Pesticides and mosquito repellents can harm other animals in your garden.

Moreover, using insecticides too often might make local pests resistant to them. Hummingbirds are beneficial for your garden’s ecosystem and can help control pests naturally.

You may notice hummingbirds catching a mosquito or two, but it’s still important to ensure they have a balanced diet. You can achieve this by having a garden with plenty of colorful blooms for them to feed on.

Why Do Hummingbirds Eat Mosquitoes?

Hummingbirds eat mosquitoes because they have the habit of eating whatever is available. 

Mosquitoes reproduce quickly and grow into adults in just two days. These insects are attracted to carbon dioxide and body heat, and they are found all over the US.

While hummingbirds don’t actively seek out mosquitoes, they help us by taking care of these bloodsuckers whenever they come across them.

Sometimes, mosquitoes fly around sweet-smelling plants and fruits that attract hummingbirds. If they happen to cross paths with the hummingbirds’ long beaks, they become a part of their meal.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that hummingbirds even rescue mosquitoes from spider webs and nests near their feeding areas. Interestingly, hummingbirds won’t hesitate to eat spiders if they get in their way!


Hummingbirds are not only captivating creatures that add beauty and joy to our surroundings but also valuable contributors to the ecosystem.

Their diet, which includes insects like mosquitoes, showcases their importance in maintaining a balanced environment.

Furthermore, recent research suggests that they might have a role to play in pest management, offering an innovative and eco-friendly approach to control pests in berry crops.

As growers embrace new and sustainable methods like this, they contribute to the principles of Integrated Pest Management and reduce reliance on pesticides, ultimately benefiting both their crops and the environment.


  1. Hummingbirds may reduce SWD – Spotted Wing Drosophila

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