Plate Feeders for Butterflies
Plate feeders can be purchased or made at home using a thin plastic plate or the lid from a large ice cream tub or Tupperware container through which you can punch holes to hang it with wire or twine. Alternatively, you can use a ceramic or metal plate and hang it using a macramé-style hanger.
A plate feeder is a great way to make use of fruit that has gone off. Add slices of fruit that is overripe or spoiling. Butterflies are particularly fond of oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, peaches, nectarines apples, and bananas, especially bananas that have been stored in the freezer and then thawed so that they become black and mushy.
Once you have added the fruit, hang the feeder and wait for visiting butterflies to discover it. You can increase the
likelihood that butterflies will find your feeder by attaching large, brightly colored plastic or silk flowers to its edges or to the string or wire that you use to hang it, and by hanging it near large, aromatic real flowers.
Clean the feeder regularly, and replace fruit when it dries out or becomes mouldy. You can keep it moist for longer by adding fruit juice. Butterfly feeders may attract other types of bugs, so you may not want to hang them right next to your windows or doors.
|Butterfly Nectar RecipeTo make butterfly nectar, mix 4 parts water with 1 part organic cane sugar and boil for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Cool the nectar thoroughly before adding it to the feeder. Large batches can be made and stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. This nectar recipe can also be used for hummingbird feeders.|
Nectar Sponge Feeders for Butterflies
To make a nectar sponge feeder, decorate a glass jar by gluing brightly colored silk or plastic artificial flowers to it or painting bright colours on its exterior. Waterproof electrical tape in a colour that butterflies like (such as red) can be used to attach artificial flowers. This tape is available in most hardware stores.
Next, punch a small hole in the jar lid by placing it on a piece of wood and hammering a large nail through its center. Remove the lid, fill the jar with butterfly nectar, and stuff a piece of cotton or a clean sponge into the hole on the inside of the lid. The sponge or cotton should be a tight fit – trim as necessary.
Screw the lid back on tightly, and use wire or twine to hang it upside down (so that the hole faces the ground) in an open, sunny area, ideally near colourful flowers. Butterflies will suck the nectar through the cotton or sponge.
lean the butterfly feeder regularly (at least once a week and preferably every three days) using very hot water and a light mild detergent solution to prevent mould from forming. Rinse very thoroughly with pure water before refilling with nectar.
In addition to providing feeders and growing flowers that butterflies like, such as lilac, lavender, rosemary, and azalea, you can provide the type of puddles that entice butterflies to congregate. To make butterfly puddles, bury a bucket, bowl or other container to its brim and fill nearly to the top with sand or gravel. Fill the remaining space with a sweet drink or stale beer. Beer may also draw slugs, but this will keep slugs away from the rest of the garden, which is an added bonus.
- Bailey, S. (n.d.). “How to Make Butterfly Gardens.” University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Counties.
- BirdDigest.com. (2007). “Butterfly Feeders.”
- HomeTrainingTools.com (2007) “Make a Butterfly Feeder.”
- Lake, J. (2008). “Butterfly Gardens: How to Make Butterfly Food and Butterfly Feeders.” AllFreeCrafts.com.