For a chemical free solution mix cayenne pepper or liquid hot sauce with water and spray area. won't harm the birds ants and bees hate it.
I am using both methods, no stick spray and upside down lid. I found a cone shaped lid from a restaurant kids cup that was red, sprayed the inside with no stick cooking spray and turned it upside down and pulled the string through. Immediately, the ants went down the string and turned back around, they must not like the smell or something, working great, hummingbirds don't seem to notice it!!
Non stick cooking sprays work great and are inexpensive. Something like original PAM. Just spray the string that suspends or the next nearest thing to the ground. The bugs stick and die,or just seem to avoid it. Remember to clean the feeder well when refilling and respray...lasts well.
This is an easy and attractive way to Ants away! Instead of non- stick cooking spray I find running the chain, string or whatever through a small bell shaped ornament (attractive) then putting a relatively thin coat of Petroleum Jelly on the top and inside the bell so the ants get stuck or slide off and the only way to the feeder is to climb down and around the bell! Hang the bell high above the feeder so it does not disturb the Hummingbirds! When cleaning the feeder simply re-apply the petroleum jelly!
Try spraying the string it is held up with, with a ant killer spray that way they can't get near is if your hanging by a tree or something..
Do not use ant spray or any insecticide. It will deter the hummingbirds from coming, plus kill advantageous insects in the area. We have our feeder suspended on a wire that is hung from two trees, and do not have a problem with ants.
Skin so Soft, Or a lid from a spay can upside down in the wire in the inside ring and oil on the "outside" ring.