People who are fond of gardening are often lucky to be greeted by colorful hummingbirds. Hummingbirds get attracted by nectar-rich flowering plants or feeders. Nectars are essential for their survival during fall or spring migration. These active birds visit hundreds of flowers each day to fulfill their nutritional requirements and are one of the largest pollinators despite having difficulty in reaching flowers with their long tapered bills. Henceforth, gardeners with beautiful tomato plants in their gardens often ask the most common question do hummingbirds bother tomato plants? Today we delve deep into this concern and let you know if your tomato plants are in danger due to hummingbirds.
Do hummingbirds bother tomato plants?
Hummingbirds keep on hovering over flowers to satiate their calorie requirements. Mostly, they prefer to suck out nectar from specific types of flowers. Your concern that hummingbirds bother tomato plants comes to an end.
Anecdotal evidence suggests there are very few instances where hummingbirds are seen hunting tomato plants even if they might attack vines occasionally. Sometimes, they might even use tomatoes to find other kinds of live snacks in your garden.
There is no research or evidence that proves that hummingbirds do not eat tomatoes, they just prefer other food sources. If you find a hummingbird around your tomato plants, there is a high possibility that they are either in search of insects, hoping to prey on them, or your garden has a multitude of nectar-rich flowers. There are instances where hummingbirds are indirectly connected to tomato plants.
- Hummingbirds hover around tomato plants because they have other flowering plants around them
- Hummers get lured by juicy plants and might have some sip of fermented overripe tomatoes
- The insects on tomato plants attract hummers
- Hummingbirds eat a wide array of bugs that find their source of nutrition from tomato plants
- Hummingbirds readily feast on aphids and drive their protein nutrition from arthropods, who in turn are largely attracted by tomato plants.
Do hummingbirds pollinate tomato plants?
Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from one plant to another, and the birds who do it are known as pollinators. Hummingbirds are very imperative for your garden as they are good pollinators for encouraging the reproduction of plants by passing on pollen grains from one plant to the other. Many flowers depend on hummers for pollination.
While bees are mostly blind to red, hummingbirds get easily attracted by the color, besides orange and pink. A hummingbird’s preference for favorable flowers for pollination is that they should be tubular in shape, rich in nectar, and generally lack fragrance. Since tomatoes do not have any of the aforementioned features, hummers do not pollinate them.
The pollination of tomatoes takes place through a different process known as buzz pollination. The buzz pollination behavior is mostly exhibited by bumblebees and mud bees. Therefore, they are the only bee species that pollinate tomato plants. A bumblebee or mud bee produces an audible buzzing sound when they sit on the flower and dislodge the pollen from the stamen by vibrating their wing muscles.
This pollen can either get self-pollinated by landing on the stamina of the flower or stick to the bee which then carries it to another flower for cross-pollination. Till date, there is no proof that hummingbirds pollinate tomato plants. However, for yielding an increased harvest of your tomato plants, you can opt for bee-friendly flowers, as the fruits pollinated by bees are said to be rich in Vitamin C.
How do I keep hummingbirds from bothering tomato plants?
Gardeners faced with the concern that hummingbirds bother tomato plants can take certain precautionary measures to keep them away from ripening tomatoes. To protect your plants from insects, which invite hummingbirds, use cages or cones to shield them from access.
Hummers won’t make a meal out of your overripe tomatoes unless they are thirsty. Therefore, ensure that you do provide food for them somewhere else by placing a bird bath in the garden. This would keep them away from your tomato plants. Or else, you might also get ahead with creating an alternate garden where you provide a bird bath, feeders, and nectar-rich flowers that hummingbirds can freely feed upon.
This trick is not just applicable in case of hummingbirds, but for birds in general. People with yards can protect their fruits and vegetables from birds by putting the technique of bird netting to use. Under, this method, you need to place the bird netting over the whole plant along with anchoring it down well so they cannot get under it. Moreover, they are also petrified of things that reflect, light up, move and spin. Therefore, you can place a shiny whirligig, chime, aluminium pie pan or hang an old CD or DVD, or flashing Christmas lights around the plants to keep hummers away and enjoy the satiable harvest of tomatoes.
Cages made out of wood, chicken wire, or wrapping nylon or mesh around fruits to prevent hummers from bothering your tomato plants are another way to keep your garden safe. Creating a web fishing line or reflective tape over and around the plants you want to protect is another excellent way of keeping your plants away from insects and hummingbirds.
By now you must have understood the process of pollination, insects that carry out pollination in tomato plants, and the ways in which you can protect your tomato plants from hummingbirds. Your doubt that do hummingbirds bother tomato plants has also been cleared. Since hummingbirds are more fond of tubular-shaped flowers with an abundance of nectar, they hardly eat tomatoes. However, you might see a hummer in your garden provide that your yield of tomatoes attracts many bugs and insects, which in turn lures hummers as they are always looking forward to preying upon them. Additionally, having different varieties of plants that are rich in nectar might be another reason that a hummingbird might visit your garden, but that certainly does not mean that they have an intention of bothering your tomato plants.