How to Attract Specific Types of Butterflies
Butterflies are the most delicate and beautiful of creatures, and there are many types of butterflies worthy of marveling. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 14,000 species of true butterflies across the world. When trying to attract butterflies to your yard, it is helpful to know what will attract specific species of butterflies, from food and drink to their host plants.
Cold blooded in nature, butterflies enjoy warm, temperate climates. However, they can be found almost anywhere in the world, with the exception of places including Antarctica, Iceland and the most arid of deserts. While it is difficult to ascertain exactly how many butterfly species are in the United States itself, it is believed that over 700 types exist in both the US and Canada. In areas with cold winter months, butterflies will migrate to warmer regions. There are certain types of butterflies that can be found only in certain areas; a fact that is influenced by their food source.
In the United States, different regions are graced with the presence of specific species of the winged beauties. To attract the butterflies, two types of plants will be required in a yard. First, the adult butterflies need nectar on which to feed, and will continually search for the plants that will supply it. The second plant is one which will provide a safe and nutritious place for the butterfly to lay their eggs, called a host plant.
Nectar is obtained by butterflies in a variety of means. Sweet nectar from flowers will attract many beautiful butterflies. Some plants, such as butterfly weed, lantana and asters will bring hordes of many butterfly species, as it is a favorite of many. The best method of determining which plants will be the magnet for butterflies in a specific area is to purchase a guide for identifying those in the area. These guides will also detail the nectar plants which they seek to feed upon. Some of the most common nectar plants are lilacs, honeysuckles, flowering tobacco, clovers, marigolds and clover.
Just as diverse are the host plants. Required for the butterfly’s life cycle, the host plant will not only provide the safe haven for the eggs to mature, but will also provide food for the emerging caterpillar. Many people are dismayed when they add the host plants to their gardens only to find that some insects are eating the stems bare. When they learn this is the actual function of the plant, they are surprised; especially when they discover that it is the very caterpillars that will become the butterfly they wish to attract that is causing all of the “damage”. Again, to determine the plants needed for providing a habitat for butterflies in a certain area, butterfly guides are invaluable.
Although the nectar plants and the host plants are extremely vital for attracting butterflies to the garden, there are also other features that they seek. Puddles of wet mud are loved by butterflies; used to obtain the moisture and the nutrients they need. Allowing small areas around the nectar plants to accumulate will be just what the butterflies require. Also, placing some overripe fruit on flat surfaces will attract the lovelies. Simply slice a very ripe orange in half and arrange the halves in warm areas. Soon, they will visited by colorful butterflies. A “butterfly brew” can be mixed, using very ripe bananas, brown sugar and beer, which is then painted onto tree branches or placed in tree hollows. All types of butterflies will love this treat, and soon will be swarming over the painted areas.
Attracting the beautiful, delicate butterflies can be easy once it is known what they are seeking in a habitat. The right food, moisture and host plants will soon turn a yard into one teeming with butterflies.