During the summer months, nothing is more exciting than seeing butterflies around your yard and garden. While simply growing flowers will naturally attract these beautiful creatures, your yard can become a butterfly heaven by making a few simple foods that butterflies enjoy. Only a couple minutes of work now and then will yield you may of these colorful insects. Making butterfly food can also be a fun activity for the whole family. Small children will love helping make and set out these easy dishes.
The easiest way to make butterfly food is to use older mushy fruit that is beginning to rot. Sweet fruits, such as peaches, bananas, or strawberries work best for this, as the scent of the sugar is what attracts the butterflies. Anything goes—even molasses, which is sticky and sweet, is easy to use to attract butterflies. To make very simple butterfly food, mash up a few fermenting fruits, add a couple teaspoons of sugar and a quarter cup of water, and set out in a shallow dish somewhere near flowers. This may not be the prettiest way of placing your butterfly food, so get creative! Decorate your dish with paint or construction paper, or place long colored Popsicle sticks across the rim of the dish to give your butterflies a place to rest.
A homemade butterfly feeder with butterfly nectar is also an easy and fun project. For a hanging feeder, decorate an empty plastic water bottle with paint, construction paper, or anything else you can find. Poke or drill a hole in the middle of the bottle cap, and place a sponge or some cotton balls inside of the cap.
Make homemade butterfly nectar by boiling 1 part sugar to 3 parts water (1 cup of sugar, 3 cups water is easiest), until the nectar starts to thicken. When it cools, pour the nectar into your bottle, screw the cap on, and hang upside-down from a tree in your yard. The cotton balls or sponge should allow the butterflies access to the nectar without it spilling.
Set out your butterfly food and enjoy your new visitors!