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The Butterfly Buffet - Feeding your Butterflies

Category: Xeriscaping, Grow Lawnless, Butterfly and Habitat Gardens | Posted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:51 pm

Butterfly Puddles and Feeding Stations

foods: just about any overly ripe fruit and sugar water. And they don't mind some smelly organic matter, either. so if you clean up after doggie friends, keep that in mind.if it's too gross for to eat it if it's been around a while.... save it for the butterfly feeder or your natural or home-made butterfly puddling areas.

i freeze bananas for smoothies, but over-ripe bananas can also be frozen with or without the skin, then left out to defrost. what you get is very mushy pulp and this is great for the butterfly feeder. my grocery store has a bin of over-ripe bananas at huge discounts that i purchase just for making my smoothies, as the softer the fruits are, the better your smoothie. this can also be done for your butterfly feeding. Overly ripe peaches, and many other fruits and berries can be used the same way. if you must throw out your going-bad fruit, toss it in a compost pile. But better yet, use them to attract and feed butterflies and some birds.

Another way to easily store food for the butterflies is to use different types of overly ripe fruits and toss them into a blender. you can add a squirt of honey, although it's not necessary, and set the blender on a coarse chop or a setting that doesn't liquify it. Or pop it into a food processor and just give it a pulse or two. pour into freezer containers or bags, and you'll have a good supply to keep your feeder full.

You can set up 2 separate areas - one for birds and one for butterflies. The bird area can contain feeding stations lots of berries and grains and nuts as well.
feeders for the birds can be placed higher up but out of the reach of squirrels. if there is such a place i haven't found it yet.

A pretty butterfly feeder that serves also as a landscape element can be easily constructed using one of those Gazing Globe stands and purchasing an inexpensive shallow bowl to place onto it. they come in different sizes and styles and are not very tall, so butterflies are likely to notice it, and it probably won't attract ants. any planter stand without the planter can be outfitted with a terra cotta bowl or deep dish glass pie dish. It can be relatively inexpensive. Also inexpensive are those pillar-type fake-stone resin decorative columns that you'd place a planter on top of. Purchase different heights and shapes, outfit them with inexpensive but pretty bowls and you have a feeding station. Squirrels will probably leave them alone, as there's not a good foothold on the columns. They can drop out of the trees, though, so place it where it's inconvenient for them.

A note about bowls - Dollar and discount stores carry the outdoor picnic plastic colorful bowls, and large platters with an inch or two of lip and not very deep. the colors of the bowls attract the butterflies, they're cheap, and if you find the party platters with sections, you can arrange an assortment of fruits for a Butterfly Buffet.

i've tried the method of attracting and feeding butterflies that hasn't caught their attention yet, but it will now that the buddleia (butterfly bushes) are in full bloom. buy a bag of colorful kitchen sponges at the dollar store, cut them into strips, circles, or other shapes if you want to get funky. Fill your butterfly feeding pan or bowl with a mixture of sugar water, slip the sponge pieces into that to soak up some of the sugar water. More butterflies for your buck, as the bowl will have sugar water and so will the sponges. the colorful sponges attract the butterflies. The butterflies can rest themselves on the sponges while they feed. i have them in the bowl of a garden sundial (bowl was meant for birdseeds but they get too wet). it's about 3 ft. tall and it's placed among the butterfly-attracting plants. I added some colorful glass beads and small river rock.

i am not sure of the ratio of sugar to water. i would imagine that whatever ratio is used for hummingbirds would work for the butterflies. Remember to clean out your feeders frequently and occasionally use a disinfectant non-toxic spray cleaner or diluted bleach.

August 2008

Last edited: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:11 pm

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Droopy wrote on Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:17 am:

I've learned more about butterfly mating and feeding in the last few minutes than I ever knew. I've seen a photo of the sponge method, it looks easy to do and comfortable for the little flying jewels.

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