Making monarch butterfly food is not only easy, but is also a great gift to nature and the generations to come. The monarch is not on the endangered species yet, but the beautiful butterfly’s numbers are constantly dwindling. Some of the causes are climate changes, loss of habitat, pollution and predators. North and South America is the original home of the monarch butterfly. They first appeared in Hawaii during the 1840’s and were sighted throughout most of the globe in the 1800’s.
With little effort on the part of the home gardener, the preservation of the monarch butterfly is simply making sure that there a supply of food to sustain them. One way to help is plant milkweed. Milkweed is the only food that the larvae of monarchs will eat. The caterpillars depend on the plant as their sole source of nutrients.
Once the magnificent black and orange butterfly emerges, it will feed on many things. Besides nectar from flowers, they are fond of a variety juices left by rotted fruit and over ripe mushy bananas. Basically the butterflies are after the sugar.
Like hummingbirds feeders, there are also butterfly feeders. You can buy commercial nectar or make your own homemade butterfly nectar. The formula is one part sugar to four parts water, bring to a boil and cool.
A colorful plate feeder will make a nice addition to your yard. Place slices of soft or rotting fruit on the plate. Oranges, apples, grapefruit and peaches, along with rotten bananas are good choices. You can use wire to make a holder or even macramé one. String the plates in trees or simply place on the ground. Like any feeder, keep them clean and replace the food weekly. Also be on the lookout for ants.
Don’t forget that the monarchs also need water. You can cover the fruit with water. Another water source is put water out on the ground and make puddles for them to drink from.
Soon you will have a yard filled with beautiful monarch butterflies to delight and entertain you and your children for years to come.