Butterflies are the iconic insects of summer and this guide will teach you how to attract winged beauties to your garden
Found in the UK as late as October, butterflies need reliable food sources. They feed using an instrument called the proboscis. This is basically a drinking straw attached to the insect’s face, and it is used to suck up sweet nectar from flowering plants.
If you don’t have a flower-filled garden you can still attract butterflies with this easy-to-make feeder. All you’ll need is:
- A paper flower. Either draw your own or download a blue, pink or red flower to cut out.
- A plastic bottle top
- A pot of soil
- A drinking straw
- Some cotton wool
- Sticky tape
All the instructions are in the video below, explained by the wonderful Zara, editor of World of Animals magazine. We want to keep butterflies and insects well-fed and healthy, because each animal has a specific role in the ecosystem. Butterflies are an important food source for birds and help keep weeds under control. Caterpillars spend most of their time munching through plant matter of almost any kind, so pesky plants that would otherwise dominate a landscape are kept at bay.
Butterflies also pollinate plants. They travel longer distances than bees so they can spread pollen further and help disperse plants over wide areas. Some species are specific, and have mutualistic relationships with plants. The yucca moth pollinates yuccas to help them produce seeds. The moth then feeds on a small number of seeds, leaving hundreds remaining to grow into new plants.
Watch the video below to learn how to feed butterflies where you live, or visit the Wildlife Trusts website for more information.
Image from flickr.com/photos/tambako