Friday

Attracting Butterflies To Your Yard Without a Garden!

I love butterflies. They are undoubtedly the most beautiful insects; graceful, colorful and unique. But beyond their beauty they are are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Did you know the pollinate as they fly from flower to flower? They do! Some of our favorite hikes and outdoor adventures have been when we have discovered butterflies. Kids love them and I can't think of many better ways to get the kids excited about getting outdoors this summer.

Betcha didn't know...

  1. Butterflies cannot fly when their body temperature is below 85 degrees F. This means they need to feed in the sun. 
  2. Butterflies colors are more than just beautiful. They help them attract mates, absorb heat and provide some protection when flying among flowers. 
  3. Puddling is when butterflies congregate around a puddle or patch of damp earth to gather essential minerals. 
  4. The life spans of butterflies vary greatly between species. Some live only a couple days while others can live up to 11 months.
  5. Antenna are used to "smell".
  6. Butterflies migrate to avoid the cold weather.
I realize not everyone has a "green thumb" or the desire to garden; but that doesn't mean you can't attract butterflies to your yard. Here are a few ways to attract butterflies without having to garden.

Butterfly Feeder

This feeder is very easy to make and there are plenty of ways to dress it up. I painted the bottom of the tin to a color that attracts butterflies. You can also add silk flowers to the rim of the tin or along the string. The disadvantage of this feeder is that it is light. If there is a lot of wind take it down.

Materials: 


  • Tin pie plate
  • Nail
  • Over ripe fruit
  • Small bright colored sponge
  • Sugar water (1 part sugar dissolved in 9 parts boiling water)
  • String
  • Scissors

Instructions: 

  1. Punch four holes equidistant apart in the lip of the pie tin. 
  2. Cut string into four equal lengths. These should be at least 18 inches long. 
  3. Tie one string to each hole in the pie plate. 
  4. Hang feeder in a bright area. Preferable close to a window or door. 
  5. Place sponge and over ripe fruit in the bottom of the plate. 
  6. Fill sponge with sugar water.

Butterfly House

Did you know butterflies don't like the wind? It lowers their body temperature and makes it hard for them to fly. Providing a shelter for them is an excellent way to encourage them to stay in your yard. Plus it gives them a little protection from predators as well. We made this house at Home Depot during one of their Free kids workshops. It was a lot of fun, but if you can't find a workshop near you, you can buy one online. There are tons of options but this one Toysmith is fun because the kids can paint it. After you hang it place a few stick and leaves in the house to make it more appealing to the butterflies.

Puddling

As I mentioned earlier, butterflies obtain essential minerals from water. Having a place for them to find water will also keep them in your yard. It could be as simple as a bird bath or just a place where you dampen the earth regularly. 

Raise & Release

You can actually buy kits online that will give you everything you need to raise the caterpillars to butterflies. I kind feel like this cheating because you aren't really attracting butterflies as much as you are bringing them to your yard. But once you have brought them, now you will have a few more ways to keep them around. Plus I just think this is a great way to get kids excited about nature. 

Your turn, how do you attract butterflies to your yard?

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