Appropriate time to release butterflies

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  • #13149

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi everyone. My butterflies are starting to emerge wonderfully and I have only had 1 mishap so far. When is it an appropriate time to release them. They have been in raised in a glass house and this is their second day of being a butterfly. As much as I would like to keep them around for ages, I don’t want to cage them in and hinder their instincts in the big wild world.

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  • #17952

    Swansong
    Participant

    Vicky thats a neat story. Obviously you are a very tender hearted person toward the butterflies and the ones who are less than perfect. Thats really nice. Why shouldn’t they at least experience the most they can get out of life, like a bit of sun on their backs and the taste of food. I even had one a couple of years ago, that could only just fly, and not far, so I would take it outside for a little fly and then when it had had enough then it was back inside for food. I felt really happy about that, that at least it did the most of what it was capable of. Im really grateful too to learn about the probiscus being split and yet was still able to feed.

    Concerning your Mandy, well, I learnt the HARD way. I thought I’d put a female I had earlier on with munted wings, out to enjoy the sun and so forth. The next minute there was 2 boys scrapping over her and she got carried off. I very nearly had her free of them then they all slipped out of my fingers. I was very upset at that. As such I will NOT just put the non flyers out anywhere now, and that goes for boys and girls. Its not beyond the other males to attack a weaker male. Nope, I’m a hopeless defender of the weak…. from now on its behind my net so they can get some peace in the sun.

    Swansong

    #17951

    ladeda
    Participant

    Great story Vicky. They live longer than I thought…or is it all the TLC you’ve given them?

    I’ve Googled Budleia and hope to get some for next summer. Any shrubs or flowers that are easy to grow is right up my alley!

    #17950

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Vicky, that’s a lovely story – thanks so much for that posting.

    Thanks also for the name of the garden centre that sells buddleia. I can see I’m going to have to go out of my region to buy one.

    After all my chasing around trying to buy a legal one, I find it rather ironic that the cuttings given to me out of a private garden are the davidii variety ๐Ÿ™‚

    #17947

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hey Swansong and Ladeda and Clair

    You all have great attitudes – butterflies have a heart so I think it’s nice that you’re showing some heart by caring for your less-than-fortunate ones.

    Charlie! Boy, that butterfly sure got me into some things ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I have a great friendship and am a Trustee – all thanks to a butterfly. He emerged semi crumpled, couldn’t fly. We gave him some new wings, but the donor butterfly had been hit by a car and his wings weren’t good. Even so, Charlie could fly afterwards although he never got high enough to go over the fence (or maybe he didn’t want to!). He would have honey and water or watermelon for breakfast and then I’d literally throw him out the door and he’d fly off to a shrub or flower. He was always much better at taking off than landing. I actually can’t remember how long he lived, but Murphy (really crumpled) did 14 weeks and Carlos (there was a Gabrielle once, they were my Desperate Housewives butterflies) managed 21 weeks. I’m with Swansong on this – if they continue to feed, let them! Murphy and Charlie both loved flowers as well as fruit juice ad honey, but Carlos only ever wanted honey and water. By the way, if you’re feeding butterflies by hand, and dunking their feet into liquid, remember to wash their feet afterwards – if you can’t fly, healthy feet and legs are really important.

    Now I have Mandy with funny curved wings (she’s the one who has been bonked 6 times) and Mary Jane who was a poisoned caterpillar (more to report on this at some stage) with a proboscis that is split from top to bottom. She is 4 weeks old now, so obviously she can take in food and is proof that a bit of TLC can work wonders.

    And for those of you who are interested in buddleia – I’m amazed at the difference in attitude towards it depending on where you are in the country. It was sold at nearly every garden centre in Christchurch this summer. There are buddleia in CCC parks, there is buddleia at the botanical gardens, there is even buddleia at a “native” New Zealand wildlife reserve. I spoke to Environment Canterbury about it and they are relaxed about it as long as its not davidii. The head of E-Can even has it in his own garden! Terra Viva Garden Centre (members of the MBNZT) have Nanho Blue for sale which looks lovely. I might find a gap for that in my garden next spring! You might consider approaching them (providing you’re allowed it in your particular region)?

    Vicky

    #17944

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Vicky if you are watching, I’d really loOOOOOoove to hear about Charlie if thats OK??? : )

    Swansong

    #17943

    Swansong
    Participant

    OH LADEDA WHAT A NEEEEAAAAT STORY !!!!!

    “Then one night we came home to find a kingfisher inside, shaken, hiding on the curtains.”

    Im greeeeeeen with envy, but how neat is that for you !!!!! WOW!!! If that happened to me I wouldn’t be able to sleep for excitement for a week!!!

    “Kingfisher clamped her beak around my finger (Owwww) and I pulled my hand out with her attached! “

    Haahaa now why am I not surprised???? : DDDDDDDDDDD heehee I take it you dont have a finger missing then??? : D

    Really I haven’t always been that fond of birds, like I am now, and well, ‘fishers, they are so darned cute they are my favourites. I dunno why they tickle my fancy but they just do….perhaps its that hard case short tail and big beak. I looooove their green colour. They are soooOOOOoo amazing when they fly and the sun catches the green. I also love their call and NEVER get sick of hearing it. I’m constantly moaning bacause I dont hear them enough : (.

    Hey Ladeda you didn’t happen to get a pik of her did you? I’d love to see it if you did.

    Swansong

    #17942

    Gilly
    Participant

    Swansong & Clair – ask Vicky to tell you about Charlie…. she had Charlie a LONG time – in fact it was through Charlie, the monarch who could not fly, that Vicky and I became friends ๐Ÿ™‚

    #17941

    ladeda
    Participant

    It’s going to be a sunny still day today so I will leave the door open on the greenhouse so the butterflies can fly away if they want to…

    Swansong, I also love kingfishers! We had one that was nesting and would shreek and divebomb the cat everytime the cat went outside. The cat would crouch and cringe. Then one night we came home to find a kingfisher inside, shaken, hiding on the curtains. The cat must’ve caught her but the kingfisher got the better of her. I put her (kingfisher) in the cat cage for the night to recover and in the morning, reached my hand in. Kingfisher clamped her beak around my finger (Owwww) and I pulled my hand out with her attached! She flew away into the trees, healthy and happy.

    #17937

    Swansong
    Participant

    Buddies wings were and are VERY munted, as in very crinkled, and NO hope whatsoever of flying. Admittedly he will never “get a life” as you would love him to have, but he gets to experience the sun on his back, on my couch where he sometimes flaps about to use up his energy. He crawls around and sometimes hides down in this dark corner and stays there for ages. If seen him head for this corner time and time again even from across the carpet. When it was warm, Id put him in my netted off area to get the sun and fresh air. I’d give him flowers to sit on. SoooOOOOooo, I just CANNOT bear to put him down. Sometimes I walk around with him on my shoulder, or as I’m in fornt of the pooter. I think as long as something isn’t suffering, (sometimes thats a debatable question though) I think it deserves a fair go. I’m getting soft on it, and I tell you I’m getting “worse”. Im in a right royal pickle actually, because if he shows signs of suffering I will WANT to put him down but I CANT : ( !!!! I kinda think that when something is stressed where it wont/cant eat, then something HAS to be done. While Buddie eats thats OK by me.

    Anyway clair its nice to know that someone thinks like I do, …..

    “I just can’t immediately put them out in the cold and wet, particularly when they are not flying “

    My sentiments exactly, and I agree totally about giving them the best start possible. Suffice it to say, if some human intervention can save the day and make prospects better then why not!!! I’m not against us “making contact” with our lovely creatures around us, and neither am I against us actually enjoying them for what they are OR touching them, or looking at them at close range and so forth. Our animals and birds and things around us are a wonderful thing to experience and enjoy in this day and age.

    I’m sure youre doing the best you can and that is enough : ) even if sometimes theres failures and mistakes.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #17936

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks Swansong, it’s good to know the things that bother me would bother you too. I’ll watch the size of the abdomen – haven’t really looked hard at that as yet.

    I’m really interested to hear about Buddie. Just how munted were his wings? I didn’t know a butterfly could survive without wings. I’d certainly give them a life if i was sure they were not suffering.

    Angie, I totally agree that wild creatures belong in the wild. But after I have ensured they are warm and safe inside to hatch, I just can’t immediately put them out in the cold and wet, particularly when they are not flying – heaps of predators about – that includes my own naughty cats! If only butterflies took heed of the bells as the birds do ๐Ÿ™‚

    #17922

    It is best to let them go as soon as you can so their natrual instincts kick in, they will find the nectar they need when they need it. They will also drink water, from rain or dew.

    If its raining, cold or windy just put them in a bush, they will be fine and fly when conditions settle. They can sit for days not moving if weather is bad and they dont need to feed. It may seem harsh, but they are wild creatures!

    Angie

    #17918

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi clair, I see you got the drop on me with your post : ). As Ive discussed in my previous post, … I said…

    “I do wonder though, this point….After a butterfly hatches he/she surely must need to “stock up” to a degree before they go into that semi hibernation mode (?????? just guessing here)” …

    In the meantime, and until we know some answers to these questions for sure, I would be starting to get a little concerned about leaving them any longer than 3 days, and I’d be certainly encouraging them to eat.

    Swansong

    #17917

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi again, well I have had 6 or 7 hatch today and I’ve got Tripod #2 hatched yesterday. He’s beautiful and his wings are perfect. I noticed unlike my 1st Tripod, he has a sort of a “light patch” where his other leg should be. Dont know what thats all about but I will get my little magnifying glass and have a closer look…. I hope its not weeping. He was definitely quite weak after he 1st hatched but has slowly gained strength as he has had honey and water. He can fly now : ). I have my other one (Buddie) who has totally munted wings, and I think ive had him about 2 months now. He’s still as lively as ever. I CANT BEAR to put him in the freezer, (I tried and failed!!! ) and I CANT BEAR to stand on him…. : ( but he’s quite happy and I see that he gets his tucker. I wont be putting my current butterflies out in this unpredictable SWer, and it doesn’t look that good tomorrow. I think the butterflies are best kept inside in these condtitions and as such, my nets are now across. Lovely and warm inside today but awful outside.

    Hey Clair, good on you for rolling up to the guy with the buddleia. Mmmmm they wouldn’t touch it eh? maybe they just weren’t hungry at that point???

    “they seem to like to just hang – and I don’t touch them for 24 hours after they hatch.”

    …yes they will typically do this and some don’t even eat for 2 days. Especially when things are cooler. I do wonder though, this point…. After a butterfly hatches he/she surely must need to “stock up” to a degree before they go into that semi hibernation mode (?????? just guessing here) Sort of like an animal that has to put on a certain amount of weight if they are to survive hibernation. I’d like to know actually how long the butterflies can go without food… as I still dont know these answers, but I just think you are doing the right thing and at least youre giving things a go. But I say, dont worry about the butterflies not eating the from the buddleia, as youre probably right, by getting flowers that wern’t quite ready, thus, having no nectar. Anywayz IMO honey (the natural honey) is the most natural thing outside of nectar from flowers, and Ive been giving it to my butterflies for yonks. Just remember while they aren’t so active they wont need as much tucker. As to their overall condition, really the proof is in the pudding…. just look at their abdomen, and that will tell all. After you particularly take notice when a new butterfly hatches mostly they will be really lovely and round….you’ll get to know what is the average size. A happy “older than 2 days old” butterfly is a frisky butterfly in a warm environment. If its warm where they are, but still wobbly after a couple of days, then by all means you are doing the right thing by gently uncurling the probiscus and encouraging them to eat. Dont forget they taste through their feet too. Just another tip that Ive worked out…. they can actually be encouraged to eat SOMETIMES!!!! if youre a little patient, like sometimes with my “buddy” he’s all revvy but his abdomen is a bit thin, so I say come on boy, tucker time! and after I just keep putting him on and off my finger and onto the food, he eventually obliges. Generally if theyre full though youve got buckleys. As Norm says you can lead a horse to water…

    Hi zoe, wow, good work on your research. Yes that would be a good thing wouldn’t it if they did keep on producing nectar!

    On the place next door there is an old buddleia tree thats had the chop chop leaving quite a sizable stump. Not sure if it will sprout again, but it had its own unique scent and the leaves were a dark green and quite leathery with a tiny bubbled surface (thats about the best way to describe it) and I think quite whitish underneath. I think the flowers were a light mauve colour and flowered through the winter. It was about 3 metres high. WOuld any body be able to tell me what that one was?.

    Swansong

    #17916

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks Zoe and Norm. I’ll definately add sugar, or maybe try honey, to the water – can’t hurt and if it helps that would be great.

    Yes Norm, I now think it was the inclement weather that made them just hang because the 3 that hatched this morning when the sun was out were a lot more active, and off they have flown this afternoon :))

    How long would you let inactive butterflies go before trying to get them to drink? I was a little worried when the butterflies had not fed for 3 days after hatching and I was looking at another 2 – 3 days of rain and high winds. Perhaps I was fretting needlessly?

    #17909

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Regarding the cut buddleia flowers, I have had my butterflies feeding on cut buddleia flowers (in water) for 3 days after cutting. The length of time they spend with their proboscis in each floret would indicate to me they are geeting nectar. However butterflies in general will often just hang during inclement weather, and not bother at all about feeding, even when it is presented to them. Remember the old saying – ‘You
    can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’. If nectar is available they will partake in their own time.
    As a footnote, the buddleia flowers should go into water as quickly as possible after picking, or they will wilt.
    Norm.

    #17908

    zoe9
    Participant

    “I was wondering the same as Swansong – how long does nectar last in cut flowers “

    Hi Clair. I was wondering the same thing and was hoping someone might know the answer and post a reply.

    Anyhow I’ve done a bit of research and it looks like they will continue to produce nectar, but more slowly than before they were cut.

    I also found a site which said if you put high concentrations of sugar in the water it can actually cause excessive nectar production! Not sure if that’s correct or not, but if it’s true it’s good news for us and our hungry butterflies.

    If anyone knows for sure please can you tell us!

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    #17895

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi All, some great info here for me. Being a newbie to Monarchs, and a gardener of only a few years, I’d never heard of buddleia until I read this website. When I searched for it at the garden centres here and in the Wairarapa, no-one has it because of the variety which has been declared noxious, and no printouts I produced from various websites to say other varieties are fine impressed anyone at all. I was told that the growers are not growing buddleia of any kind – so tough!!

    Anyway, out driving, I noticed a buddliea davidii in someone’s garden. Wanting “natural” food for my house-bound butterflies, I bowled up and asked the man if I could take a few blooms for my butterflies – much to my surprise he treated me as if I was perfectly sane and gave me some cuttings too.

    BUT my butterflies woldn’t touch it – damn – so out to buy potted hebes and a potted impatiens – waste of time! And my own flowering plants and weeds are pretty much over.

    By this time, I had 4 butterflies that were 48 hours old and the weather was not likely to clear for another couple of days so I was a tad worried. I did get them to feed on honey water, but only if I uncurled their proboscis. They needed to stay in for five days, and during this time they never touched the flowers. However, they have all gone now. 3 went on the first day with sun, and one, who I feared was a non-flyer, finally went on the 8th day – big smile.

    I’ve had more hatching each day, and they are all ignoring the flowers. If I put them on the flowers they won’t stay – they seem to like to just hang – and I don’t touch them for 24 hours after they hatch.

    I was wondering the same as Swansong – how long does nectar last in cut flowers – was that my problem with the buddleia? And I picked some flowers that were not quite out yet, figuring they would last longer – maybe that was the wrong thing to do because the nectar wasn’t there yet??? Why aren’t my butterflies “normal”? Is it the weather? Do they hate me? You can see my paranoia is growing!

    Still, it’s certainly all worth it – they are such beautiful creatures. And last night my first boy hatched – after 12 girls – and yes I was beginning to get a paranoid about that too!

    #17894

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hiya Swansong

    I don’t like frosts and we always get a couple of good ones down here (usually in July). But it can be beneficial to your garden. I buy frost hardy plants, of which my buddleia is one. On the subject of buddleia, some regional councils can be anti it so it always pays to check. It is illegal to sell the davidii variety, but garden centres aren’t supposed to sell plants on DoC’s no-no list, so if you find buddleia for sale then assume it is an approved one. According to my favourite garden centre, a frost can cause seeds to open so you will get things to self seed. They told me to put seeds in the freezer for a while if they weren’t germinating.

    Blue Salvia is really easy to look after – and if you buy potted colour then all the hard work has already been done. It doesn’t seem to mind the frost and comes away really well in the spring. I had butterflies on it yesterday. My wallflowers (one is Erysimum Apricot Twist, one is Patchwork, can’t remember the name of the purple one) are supposed to flower all year round. So far so good, but I’ll be interested to see if they’re still going in July! I like low-maintenance gardening and I love things that self seed (free plants, yippee). I have a wildflower jungle mixed up with shrubs and trees to make sure I get plenty of wildlife.

    I get a kick out of putting my non flyers (known round here as The Wobblies) in the garden and seeing them clamber around to feed. I’ve got some cute pics of them ๐Ÿ™‚

    Butterflies see all colours, including UV light, but they really like things in the red spectrum (so that includes orange), and blues. They prefer my blue buddleia to my pink one. I have white flowering things that they go to though. They are something like 7000 times more sensitive to sugars than we are. I’ve got sweetpeas that they go to, but I don’t know how much nectar they get off them. Still, it’s good to have tall things in a garden so they feel safe. Possibly the worst thing about things like buddleia is that its a really good place for the mantis to lie in wait. I go round several times a day and look for green invaders. Especially before I put The Wobblies there. The other danger to my non flying girls is the boys. I have one girl here (9 weeks old) that has been bonked 6 times. Luckily each time I managed to grab her and her lover before he flew her off to a tree.

    Ohhhhhh .. I’m sure Gill has some Kingfisher stories. She is my font of knowledge when it comes to birds. She has me cooking spaghetti to add to my wetted bread for them each day. And she makes me green with envy if we’re ever talking and she suddenly disappears because she hears kiwis in her garden!

    Vicky

    #17893

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Vicky, thankyou for sharing all your info.

    “You mention “Southern Regions” … where do you live? I’m in Christchurch and all the flowers mentioned above flourish here (as well a millions of others that I don’t have room to mention).”

    Southern regions is anything south of say Hamilton : ) to me that is… or anything that doesn’t get a frost as apposed to does get a frost. I make this differentiation because frosts are such an important factor not only in how you deal with swan plants, but also how you treat other plants…. as annuals biennials or perennials. Im in the Manawatu, (which experienced its 2nd wee frost yesterday a.m.) and live rurally where there is only one close neighbour, who hardly has a flower on the place. I have what I can cope with, but I’m willing to look at other things that aren’t going to end up time consuming where they eat into my time. Ive got too much garden as it is now and I’m looking at how I can cut it back a bit.

    Hey thats a good idea about feeding your stayers on the 2 different things. I’d like to know how long flowers keep up the pollen in their flowers, and how much this affected when they are cut.

    “Colour does have a lot to do with attracting butterflies. “
    What in your experience do you think is the preferred colour of monarchs? So far Ive seen them go for reds and similar. Runnerbeans, I called them geraniums above but now I’m not sure, andywayz that has a red flower too, and of course the tiger lillies which are a bright orange with dark brown flecks, and yellow dandelions. Oh I forgot to mention echinaechia (if thats how u spell it)…I have a few of those and I remember the monarchs getting into them BIG TIME,… purplish pink. Cant recall them going for anything blue. I have a red salvia but I cant remember them especially going for that. I also have a line of gazanias (I think) yellow daisy like flowers…I’ve seen them on those feeding.

    If you are watching Gill, trust me you and anyone esle who’s looking, wont want to know me if I start on Kingfishers!!!!!!!!! I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOoooove ‘fishers, and my hubby thinks Im quite lahlah (OH well). However if u cant beat em join em. He’s gone lala on them too! : ))))))). I clicked on a bird link from your page and saw A LINE OF 5 BABIES!!! I couldn’t believe it. They are not rare down here but we dont see anywhere enough of them and I’m ALWAYS bewailing and moaning about the fact! I always look for them on power lines and I can spot them if theyre there for sure. When we do see them I get soOOO excited that I have to concentrate extra hard or I’ll go off the road. (heehee if I’m driving that is). I would looove to pat a Kingfisher!!! We have a couple of resident BBs as well as thrush. Our mumma BB is a tart to the 1st order. Sorry but I must be honest. SHE wears the pants and is quite mean to the guy, and selfish?? she’s as selfish as, as far a tucker goes. We feed them our gravy bits and pieces, and SHE now “tolerates” us, but I wouldn’t hold my breath when laying time comes along, she has attacked us in times past and hit us with her wings : . We are NOT allowed into our own garden IF U PLEASE…so I just say …alright LOVE you dont the pay the rent, so tough bikkie …. but its watch your back.

    Swansong

    #17892

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hi Swansong

    Buddleia is certainly the most popular flower in my garden. Second would have to perennial wallflowers, then coreopsis (wildflower, really easy to grow from seed) and also blue salvia. I think the best variety is Victoria Blue. You can buy it from places like Bunnings as potted colour. Only $1 per plant, and its a biennial so you get two years out of it. They also spend a lot of time on my plain old marigolds, zinnias and dianthus (again, you can get these from places like Bunnings). Colour does have a lot to do with attracting butterflies.

    I also feed mine honey and water when they’re house-bound and they love it. About the only thing they’d rather have is buddleia or wallflowers, I think. My non flyers have honey and water every morning, and buddleia in the afternoon (mine flowers from November til April so I get a lot of value out of it). When I have them in the house because of the weather, I will feed them honey and water on the 2nd day and then every day until I release them. And I’m encouraged to still see them on flowers in the afternoon, so it doesn’t seem to affect their recognition of their food source. I did have one non flyer that refused to nectar on flowers, but then he lived for 21 weeks so I don’t think it did him any harm!

    You mention “Southern Regions” … where do you live? I’m in Christchurch and all the flowers mentioned above flourish here (as well a millions of others that I don’t have room to mention).

    Ask Gill all about her birds! There’s Squeak and Hoppy the blackbirds, Spunky the Thrush, Iti the Pheasant, dear little Tomas the Quail (RIP Tomas) and many others she rescues – she has some great stories and pictures to share.

    Vicky

    #17890

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Gill
    “If I have a buddleia in flower, this never fails to get a monarch feeding, “

    Yes I’m DEFINITELY going to have to get myself organized with some buddleia, when I can get the time to go and suss it out.

    I just clicked on your name Gill and I got sent to what looks to be some very interesting articles/photos on your BLACKBIRDS!!! CAnt wait to go and have a read… right now though I better go and put T on for hubby.

    Cheers Swansong

    #17889

    Swansong
    Participant

    Well as far as aspartame goes (really REALLLLLLLLLY BAD BAD stuff) which is in a whole lot of things, I pass BIG TIME. Suffice it to say refined foods are nothing short of a racket. Aspartame is in, for example, fizz. So I dont buy fizz drinks anymore (not that I had them a lot) since I found aout about it, not to mention the colouring etc etc. I also pass on white sugar and have RAW which while not perfect, is waaay better than white. Ive got some stevia and boy is that sweet. Ive often wondered about replacing sugar altogether with it. I also pass on that white stuff they call honey but looks like its been processed about umpteen times. I think the honey I get is pretty natural as its as dark brown as.

    Yes I can see dandelions in my lawn, but it would be time consuming for me to go and collect them all the time, and like I say, I dont know when the nectar would finish. Ideally what I would like to do, for the butterflies that tend for themsleves, is just watch and keep a beady eye on what they do like…for example I found they REALLY loved my tiger lillies (dont be fooled that I’m a green fingers coz I mention the lillies but rather they were passed onto me from a family member who was a much keener gardener than me) They were constantly into them, but I didn’t have a lot. I noticed they are very much the same colour as monarchs whether that has anything to do with it though is dbatable. This next coming season, I will have more I’m sure. IF I have a digital Cam by then I hope to get a photo for you as you requested earlier on when I mentioned them. I also noticed they tend to like my red geranium. Didnt think they would take to those but there you go.

    Did I read somewhere that someone mentioned they like lavender???? I’ve never seen them go for mine. Also my rosemary is flowering, do they go for those …. anyone? I sorta just took it they would avoid those because of the camphor like properties.

    “using a sprinkler in a garden (NOT at this time of the year, of course) waters down the nectar in flowers -“

    That would stand to reason so I think its a good point. Anywayz when I water, I NEVER use a sprinkler. I hose at the base and try to deep water to promote deeper and thus a more hardy root system, that will stand up to a bit of dry weather.

    “Would love to have a hedge of nectar producing flowers,”

    I wonder if jazmine would be a goer? Ive got that too, though not flowering at the mo. Cant recall seeing them feed from it either…what I have seen is RUNNER BEANS..yeah they reallly go for those I found. COurse theyre all finished now too.

    Swansong

    #17888

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Good points Swansong. When I say flowers, I’m thinking in terms of the weeds that raise their heads in my garden and lawn, or behind people’s houses. Or flowers in houses. IMHO there would be more nectar in those than (as an example) the potted chrysanthemum which I bought at a supermarket one day – thinking great, nectar for my butterflies, and a lovely addition to my garden later… it had frilly variegated petals. But the butterflies wouldn’t look at it – so I went to a neighbour’s too-long lawn (mine had just been cut) and brought in some weeds and hey presto, they fed.

    It’s only my opinion about ‘what Nature’s intended’ – I don’t buy V and those drinks or artificial sweeteners for people – but then I guess sugar isn’t exactly ‘natural’ is it.

    Would love to have a hedge of nectar producing flowers, wouldn’t that be great! It would be excellent also to experiment to find out how much nectar there is in different flowers.

    On another note, I read somewhere that using a sprinkler in a garden (NOT at this time of the year, of course) waters down the nectar in flowers – it would be interesting to see if this is fact or fallacy too.

    Jacqui

    #17882

    Gilly
    Participant

    If I have a buddleia in flower, this never fails to get a monarch feeding, I find. However, I don’t one in flower now and have some monarchs in my butterfly house awaiting the sun to come out and the wind to go down…. I feed them honey & water mix whilst I await some better weather… growl! (at the weather) ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    #17881

    Swansong
    Participant

    “rather than this idea of honey/water or sugar/water mix,”

    Well I must admit the idea of flowers is better IF you have them, AND among other things you have some knowledge about certain things, which I dont. Moreover, I’m sure your supply will be much more abundant up north than the southern regions. Therefore I’d like to point out, if I may, that for some of us who aren’t green fingers, and dont know a lot about flowers…there are some questions, like how long do they supply nectar for, after theyve been cut? At least with honey/sugar and water you can see and control the supply and be sure they are getting food. That is why I’m doing it, also because I have very few flowers at the moment. It also raises for me another question…. on flowers I dont know whether they are NOT eating because the nectar has run out, or whether they are just plain not hungry. Of course, as I say, these are somewhat moot points in the height of the season, (so long as you haven’t got a drought or something) when theres ample supply of everything and your lovely butterflies sail of into the great yonder.

    “I’ve never seen a butterfly with a weight problem. “
    Well I would balk at calling it a weight problem, but Ive definitely seen some fAAAt abdomens on some of my butterflies as opposed to others.

    Cheers
    Swansong

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