Sugar Water To make nectar for hummingbirds, add one part sugar to four parts boiling water and stir. A slightly more diluted mixture can be used for orioles (one part sugar to six parts water). Allow the mixture to cool before filling the feeder. Store extra sugar water in the refrigerator for up to one week (after that it may become moldy, which is dangerous for birds). Adding red food coloring is unnecessary and possibly harmful to birds. Red portals on the feeder, or even a red ribbon tied on top, will attract the birds just as well. IMPORTANT: Feeders should be cleaned everytime they are refilled. See the Safe Feeding section on this page for more information. NEVER use honey or artificial sweeteners. Honey readily grows mold that can be harmful to hummingbirds. Do not put any kind of oil around feeding portals to deter bees; you might contaminate the nectar. If bees or wasps become a problem, try moving the feeder.