By Jannie Vaught
Let’s dive a little deeper on this subject. Habitat, his can be a wooded country site or an urban car park. This is determined by the food plant of the caterpillar and the nectar source of the butterfly. Some butterflies are happy with several food sources habitat and breeding areas while some are fussier and require very specific places and plants. A good website to look at is butterflt-conservation.org. Butterflies and Moths can disappear rapidly if their habitat and plants are not there. There are many sites such as Grasslands and Wetlands, Woodland and Scrub. Urban and Post-industrial. Farmland and Hedgerows, Coastal. Mountain and Moorlands.
Each providing the Butterfly and Moth all the habitat they need to continue their reproduction and feeding. What can we do to assist the Butterfly and moths in our area? Learn what your habitat is first, for me its Urban and Grassland, with a few of the others alongside. Grow the specific plant they need. And provide cover and water for them to live abundantly. Like in a previous article I wrote about Leave the leaves. This is habitat for many pollinators that have a larval stage in the winter. They need a leaf blanket. And let’s not be marginal and just get them to survive, they need abundance to thrive. How Butterflies work. Starts with an egg usually attached under a leaf or twig. They hatch and become larval form, the caterpillar. Their job is to consume as much food as possible then transform into a Pupa or Chrysalis and emerge a Butterfly or Moth. Some remain dormant in larval stage during the winter cold and wake very hungry when the season warms.
We covered feeding and plants last week, again learn which is in your area and provide the flowering plants they need. Water and “Puddling”. Butterflies and Moths need a little water for hydration, salts, and minerals that they don’t get in the nectar. This is where Puddling comes in. They will drink off bare soil areas that are wet, stir it up fly off then return as more minerals have come to the surface after they “stirred it.” Some will puddle on rotting fruit or even pierce fruit skin and feed. They have even puddled on scraps that go to the chickens.
You can set up a Puddling station to call in more butterflies by selecting a safe and shady location, preferably where you can watch from afar. A saucer or shallow bird feeder. Landing sites with rocks and other items they can perch on to feed and drink and not be overcome with the water. Place the saucer up and secure, fill with clean sand, place the stones and landing places and fill with water but not cover the stones. now wait. Keep it damp and the puddling station is ready for occupation. I think a few things we can do for them and provide habitat, safety and breeding areas is a small price to pay for their beauty, pollination and simply the joy of assisting these Flying Jewels an abundant life.
Consider a butterfly garden and puddling station for next spring and let’s give our butterflies and moths a restored habitat and abundant place to feed and reproduce, our gardens and our hearts will appreciate it.
Growing green with Jannie