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Ratio of Sugar to Water for Hummingbird Nectar

Suzie Faloon

Artificial nectar for hummingbirds is made from sugar and water. The ratio to sugar and water is important because the birds require a 21 to 23 percent sucrose content to equal the amount found in flower nectar.

A hummingbird can eat half of its weight in nectar each day.


The ratio for artificial hummingbird nectar is four-parts water to one-part sugar. For example, you would use 4 cups of hot tap water and 1 cup white sugar to make acceptable nectar.


Mix the two ingredients together in a glass or stainless steel saucepan. Place a cover on the pan and set it on a burner over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil then remove it from the burner. Allow the mixture to cool before placing it a clean feeder.


The birds require real sugar. Do not use a sugar substitute because anything other than sucrose won't help the bird and could potentially harm it.