Do harmful pathogens survive on feeders in winter?
Some bacteria, such as Salmonella, are very hardy and can survive in cold temperatures by entering a dormant state until conditions improve. The Avian Pox virus is similar. Some studies of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (the bacteria that cause House Finch eye disease), can survive on your feeders for 24 to 48 hours during moderate temperatures, but survival is shorter at very cold temperatures.
Not only can bacteria and viruses accumulate on seed and feeders, but many cold-loving molds can grow on seed as well. Don’t rely on extreme cold to “wash away” these organisms from your feeder. Be sure to clean your feeders frequently, and rake underneath feeders to clean up seed hulls and waste.