Yep, turns out that host plants and nectar-producing flowers aren’t the only foods butterflies enjoy. Seems that beer is mighty popular with the winged wonders too! When mixed with molasses and a few slices of over-ripe bananas, beer is an ultimate attraction due to the high sugar content. The best way to offer this type of mixture is on a shallow dish, or spread over some rocks (in full shade is best).
Of course butterflies will take some time to find the new food source, but if habitat is suitable and they’re already hanging around, chances are very good they’ll discover the treat. Habitat would begin with gardening, and oh, the leaf misters! Butterflies adore the gentle mist in summer. To be honest, we’ve never offered butterfly feeders in our yard, but every summer the action is non-stop. Two misters and plants like lantana, milkweed, butterfly bush, abelia and angel trumpet abound, and the best part… they’re all perennial plants which come back every year!
Now if you’re more inclined to offer traditional nectar in your butterfly feeder, remember that they do not drink from an open liquid source. A sponge (preferably new) is necessary to soak up the liquid, and a regular kitchen sponge will do the trick well. In this manner it acts as a wick, where butterflies can draw their food from, more along the lines of extracting nectar from a flower. This stoneware dish is perfect for offering nectar and the beer & molasses mixture, even a few pieces of old banana.
The video below, by P.Allen Smith offers some great suggestions for attracting butterflies through gardening. As far as the beer & molasses mixture? You’re on your own with that!
Last week in Atlanta, the Merchandise Mart hosted its annual gift show, with a whole floor dedicated to backyard birding. Spending a whole day there just wasn’t enough, I felt like a kid in a candy store and wanted everything!
Unfortunately, that’s far from possible, so the search was narrowed to very unique birding products, namely one, butterfly houses. Many of the standards were there, in cedar construction from small to large. A few recycled plastic (or poly lumber) butterfly houses were shown in some fab colors.
This one caught my eye however, likely because of the mod curved entrances. The copper accents were nice too, so I inquired. Upon learning these butterfly houses are hand crafted in solid cypress, and included the tall mounting poll, I was pretty much hooked.
At home I don’t have a butterfly house, but last summer there were tons of butterflies. Planting the host plant (milkweed) helped, but the leaf misters are what kept them around daily. Butterflies absolutely love the gentle spray from a leaf mister, whether they really use these houses or not…you can attract them with mist! By the way…Hummingbirds and others really love that mist during summer’s sweltering temperatures too!
Innovative by design, with beauty to compliment any environment, these glass butterfly feeders work perfectly in any garden setting. With their rich hues, the large hand-blown glass flowers make for a fun and interesting focal point. Add versatility to this…and they become more than just feeders.
In our yard a red one sits just below a leaf mister, and as the water collects in the flower, it creates the perfect bath – not only for butterflies, but birds too! The unique shape allows for feeding nectar or fruit to butterflies as well. Over-ripened fruit like bananas, melon, peaches, pears and more can easily be placed in the flower. Add nectar to this glass flower with or without the use of a sponge.
When attracting butterflies, several factors come into play. Landscape and the use of flowers is an important one. Nectar producing plants, and host plants will yield the best results when used in conjunction with one another.
A water source is very helpful too, but butterflies do not use birdbaths. Puddlers are more suited for attracting these “flying flowers”. Puddlers are just what the name implies, pools of water, or puddles. They can range from small to large, plastic or stoneware, raised or at ground level. This puddler is handcrafted of weatherproof stoneware, so it stays in the garden year-round. It gives butterflies a place to dry in the sun (after bathing) with its’ smooth rock-like surface. Some puddlers may even be used as butterfly feeders, with spaces for offering fruit or nectar.
Butterfly accessories that are versatile and interchangeable are always a sure bet as you can try different things to see what works best for attracting these little guys to your garden.
A leaf mister in our yard sits in front of a glass butterfly feeder. Unfortunately from this angle, the feeder is hidden by shrubs. But it’s the perfect example of using a butterfly feeder as a bath instead.