Butterflies, with their bejeweled, multicolored wings, add a touch of stunning beauty to any yard or garden. They are attracted to bright sunny locations and enjoy flittering in and around flowers and fruit trees. Butterflies feed on the nectar found inside the flowers with the ‘proboscis’, which is a sort of long, skinny tongue. A steady source of water or moisture is necessary for them to stay healthy. They have been known to drink from a patch of damp earth by probing the ground with their special tongues if a water supply is not readily available.
Sunlight is especially important for the health and well being of butterflies. They are extremely sensitive to temperature and do their best when the temps are at least 80 degrees C. or above. Even though warm temperatures are vitally important, they will need a sheltered area to retreat to when the sun is at its hottest.
If you are fortunate enough to have a flower garden or a fruit orchard, you will certainly be visited by butterflies. But did you know that flower nectar is not the only food that butterflies will seek out? They will also feed upon such unpleasant items as decaying fruit, animal feces, and rotting vegetation. Take a walk through a pasture during the spring or summer and you will see flocks of butterflies delicately perched upon ‘cow patties’ or soggy, rotted fruit on the ground beneath the trees!
You will most likely not want to use such things to attract butterflies to your yard, but there is a simple item that you can make that will draw these beautiful creatures. It’s called a butterfly feeder and can be constructed from items you most likely have around the house.
To make an easy butterfly feeder, you will need a dish with sloping sides or a rim, something to suspend the dish with, and a few pieces of overripe fruit. You can suspend the dish with twine, flower pot hangers, or fishing line. Position the plate so that you can view it from your porch or yard, then sit back and enjoy watching the butterflies probe the tasty treats. Careful, though, the same fruit that attracts butterflies may also attract wasps or other unpleasant creatures. If that happens, you may have to move your feeder to another location, far enough away from yourself so as to avoid stings.
Here are a few fruits that will tempt the butterflies: brown bananas, peaches, overripe apples, watermelon, orange juice, berries. This is a great way to use up fruit that your family won’t eat, and or that has gotten too ripe to cook.
Swallowtails and Nymphalids are most likely to be attracted to the spoiled fruit, but other species of butterflies may well enjoy visiting your feeder as well.Swallowtails