Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Creating a butterfly buffet with manure of all things!

Various species puddling

Feeding on fruit

In the past year I have talked about the importance of planting host plants for butterflies and which native flowers provide the best nectar.  Some species of butterflies, like the hackberry, red-spotted purple, Question mark, pearly eyes, etc. do not necessarily nectar but get their nutrients from alternative sources, not flowers.  Some species also puddle which is a means by which mostly male butterflies can be seen slurping something from the sandy roads or other locations.  These minerals are believed to be important for males to develop sperm.  So, how can you attract these species of butterflies to the garden.  Here are a few tips below:

Creating an artificial puddling area.  In a dish or other container mix coarse sand (not play sand), a tablespoon of epson salt and table salt, and a couple of tablespoons of composted manure.  Mix well to an even constituency (the major ingredient is the sand) and keep wet.  The key to attracting butterflies this way is to ensure the mixture is kept wet and is located in the full sun.  During times of extreme heat, you will need to add water daily and I would not use tap water because of the chlorine. flourine, etc.  Rainwater, spring or distilled water works best.

Another excellent method of attracting butterflies is to use rotting fruit, or even fresh fruit, that is allowed to ferment.  The best fruits to use are watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas,  peaches, and apples.  You can add some brown sugar and stale beer if you like to speed up the fermentation process, but it is not necessary.  This mixture needs to be placed more in the shade rather than sun although it is okay for the mixture to get a few hours of direct sunlight every day.  If you put this mixture in a blender, you can paint in on trees and other structures and see what interesting moths came in over the nighttime to feed.

Sit back and enjoy.  It might take a while for the butterflies to find these mixtures, but it does work.

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