Feeding and attracting hummingbirds each season is a favorite gardener and birder activity. I use a combination of native plants and a hummingbird feeder. I used to find refilling the feeder a tedious and messy task. Now, a New Mexico entrepreneur, Arnold Klein, has patented a one-step system for mixing hummingbird and oriole nectar that is easy and clean.
Before I go further, I want to emphasize why you should mix your own nectar. First, it costs less than purchasing a mix. Second, it is fresh. And finally, you should not add red food coloring like commercial nectars do. Hummers will find the feeder, since all have some degree of red on them. And the dyes can be harmful.
Klein’s product, Nectar Aid, makes it easy to mix two simple ingredients—sugar and water—by providing all the tools and steps you need for making nectar in your kitchen. The Nectar Aid comes with a handled plastic pitcher, a lid, and a divider for separating sugar and water while measuring (that doubles as a stirring paddle). The pitcher is microwave safe in case you want to warm or boil your water.
How Nectar Aid Works
The product comes with easy instructions. Place the mixing paddle/divider into one of the grooved slots – one is for oriole nectar, and the other for hummingbird nectar. Fill it with water. I only make two batches at a time, so after several uses, I have learned to fill mine about one-fourth up or less. But if you have several feeders or go through lots of nectar, fill it as full as necessary. You can boil the water right in the pitcher. Or you can use warm tap water – warmed water dissolves the sugar faster.
The top time-saving feature of Nectar Aid for me is that you need no formula. I always forget ratios and recipes and have to go look them up again. The Nectar Aid pitcher already has that figured out.
As soon as you have put in both sugar and water to the same level, lift the separating spoon out and use it to stir your mix. It easily scrapes sugar out of corners and drags the bottom of the pitcher. Then, place the lid on and you are ready pour your nectar, assuming it has cooled enough to avoid burning you and especially your hummers.
Easy Pouring and Storage
I also love that the Nectar Aid makes pouring the sticky water easier. I have spilled nectar in the past and had ants all over where it landed. This makes it super easy to fill nearly any size or shape of feeder without a funnel.
The pitcher stores well in the fridge with the lid on, so all you have to do when you refill your feeder (which you should do every few days after a quick clean) is pour it in; your batch is ready and safe. It will keep for 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, so only make what you usually need for a week. You won’t mind mixing more if you run out, because Nectar Aid makes it so easy.
Notes on Use
Another great feature of the Nectar Aid is the paddle holder on the side of the pitcher’s lid. That makes it easy to store your Nectar Aid without misplacing just the lid or stirring paddle. I have found I prefer to put sugar in first, just because the water sometimes runs under the paddle and into the sugar side. But it doesn’t affect the mix unless you stop in the middle of filling.
Overall, this is a clever and useful product. I have had mine for a year and use it regularly each summer. It stores easily in winter in a pantry along with other pitchers.
Where to Buy Nectar Aid
Buy Nectar Aid from Hummingbird Guide and even view a video on how it works. It costs $19.99 plus shipping. I know hummingbird season is winding down in some areas of the country, but you can be ready next spring with a Nectar Aid or give it as a gift this holiday season to a bird lover.