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The top results on google for DIY hummingbird feeder suggest a white-sugar solution for the feed. In humans we make a big deal about processed sugar vs. the sugar you get from, say, eating a piece of fruit. Does this matter for hummingbirds? Their metabolisms so high, it makes me wonder if this is relevant. Maybe it is not! But I would like to know.

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    $\begingroup$ You should only use white sugar. Anything else (honey, brown sugar etc) can harm them. Hummingbirds get their nutrition from bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. $\endgroup$
    – Pungh0Li0
    Aug 26 '15 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD I think a more accurate statement would be "no trace chemicals", since the carbohydrates in both foods are extremely useful to animals. $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Aug 26 '15 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Pungh0li0 The first half of the statement is unsupported, and the second half is patently false (hummingbirds subsist on nectar, not insects). $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Aug 26 '15 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ Here's a relevant study showing (Anna's) hummingbirds lost weight but had no behavioral changes eating nothing but sugar water for 10 days. Obviously in the wild hummingbirds will have access to much more than just your hummingbird feeder. I'm sure it also varies with species. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0300962992906435 $\endgroup$
    – C_Z_
    Aug 26 '15 at 21:31
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    $\begingroup$ @MarchHo I thought that hummingbirds only ate nectar too, but a quick google search informed me that insects are part of their diet too. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Aug 27 '15 at 10:07
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Hummingbirds absolutely eat insects, and HONEY and BROWN SUGAR are a huge NO NO. The following is a statement from: http://wildbirdsonline.com/index.html

Every year, as more studies are completed, we learn more about hummingbird life and diets. However, we find that some people think that hummers can survive on nectar alone. Nectar provides quick energy to sustain their extremely high metabolic rate and little else. This is important enough that the shape of the bills of hummers have evolved in partnership with the flower shapes that they frequent. Consequentially, there is a wide variety of hummingbird bill lengths and shapes among the more than 300 species that exist.

There is another critical food source for the hummers. Essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, oils and fats, fiber, etc. all come from the insects they eagerly consume, not the nectar. Their preferred insects include, but are not limited to: small beetles, true bugs, weevils, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, aphids, mites, leafhoppers, flying ants, and parasitic wasps. Their favorite insect food source is the spider and harvestmen (daddy long legs). Some ornithologists estimate that spiders are between 60% and 80% of their diet.

But there are lots of other resources for you to find accurate information about feeding hummingbirds.

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    $\begingroup$ Hummingbirds eat nectar, which is a high sugar solution. You're assuming that they'll eat sugar water instead of insects.I would assume the sugar water feeders act as a substitute for nectar, and the humming birds will prey on insects all the same. Is there any evidence for this either way? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Aug 27 '15 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ Also, why is brown sugar such a big no-no (genuinely interested, not rhetorical)? $\endgroup$
    – James
    Aug 27 '15 at 12:14

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