The fact that this is one of the most popular hummingbird feeders on the market is mostly due to its wide availability, cheap price, and gaudy styling rather than its quality. I used these feeders for years before discovering better designs, and I came to hate them. The first thing I noticed was that they're hard to clean, with too many small parts and hard-to-reach tubes and crevices. It takes way too long to take the feeder apart, get all the parts clean, and reassemble it.
The next thing that became apparent is that the "bee guards" really don't do a very good job. Honeybees and wasps can't reach the solution through intact guards, but some long-tongued bumblebees can, and tiny bees just crawl right through the guards (and often right into the bottle!). They're also bright yellow, the same color as many bee-pollinated flowers (what was the manufacturer thinking?). The insects really swarm around when the solution oozes out, as it's prone to do on warm days (particularly if you refill the bottle with refrigerated solution).
It didn't take long to discover that this feeder is also not very durable. The plastic parts don't hold up to exposure to sunlight, becoming brittle and loose over time (more quickly in sunny or high-elevation areas, where intense UV light seems to deteriorate the plastic more quickly). The hardened glass bottle is actually the most durable part of this feeder, while the bee guards are the first parts to break down. The size is okay, though if you've only got one or two hummingbirds visiting you won't want to fill the feeder completely.
The best hummingbird feeders cost about twice as much as this model, but they will last at least 10 times as long. The feeders I use most now are the Hummzingers from Aspects and the Droll Yankees LF, both saucer-style feeders. For high-traffic times such as late summer, I switch to the Nature's Best bottle feeder. I never use anything in my feeders except the solution recommended by all hummingbird experts: sugar water made from 3 to 5 parts water to 1 part white table sugar (do not add food coloring!). This is much more economical and probably also healthier (and tastier) for the birds than overpriced chemical-laced commercial mixes such as Perky Pet's "Instant Nectar." The solution should be changed every 2 to 4 days and the feeder cleaned thoroughly at least once a week, no matter what kind of hummingbird feeder you use.
We have designed the parts on the feeder to be removable for easy cleaning and so that they can easily be replaced if they happen to get lost or broken over time. We are sorry to hear that you are not happy with the feeder.
Rest assured that the Perky Pet® Instant Nectar does not contain any chemicals or harmful ingredients. The red dye that is used is food grade and USDA approved. We are in the business of helping people enjoy the hobby of feeding birds would not want to harm them in any way.
If you have questions or concerns in the future about any of our feeders or products, please contact our Consumer Relations Team at 1-855-PERKYPET (1-855-737-5973).
Susan Consumer Relations Representative Woodstream Corporation Perky-Pet®