Butterfly food

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    Topic
  • #14623

    Gordon
    Participant

    Hi

    Can anyone tell me if it is possible to substitute orange juice or apple juice for honey when making a sugar water mix to feed butterflies? Or do you feel it may be too acidic?

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #61616

    Terry
    Participant

    Yes! I notice that most shop brought Honey in the UK is a blend of honey from China. Obviously there is UK only honey but they are normally very expensive. Thinking about what these scientists have suggested I do conclude they are not thinking straight, as the point I made is valid, and stopping/suggesting butterfly enthusiast from using honey is another pointless exercise to stop a disease which is already widespread! I have found most scientists, not all, sometimes make knee jerk statements without thinking things through! If there are any bee keepers out there reading this maybe they could elaborate on this disease to keep us better informed as to how it is spread and the various methods of transmission?

    #61614

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Yes, Terry, that’s a good point and I have no idea – these experts know far more about bees and bee diseases than I do.

    The way I see it, if someone has honey in the house and the honey has the disease, then putting it in nectar and feeding it to butterflies (and whatever else drinks that nectar) could spread the disease.

    As (according to scientists again) sugar and honey have the same nutrients, then isn’t it easier to just use a sugar solution? If it’s diluted according to the recipe then there are absolutely no risks associated with a sugar solution.

    Personally, I’ll stick with flowers. 🙂

    #61612

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui!

    Can I ask you how this scientist thinks using honey will spread this disease when it is already in the wild and bees and butterflies share many nectar sources? If a bee infected with this disease feeds at a flower a butterfly or other insect has fed on than surely they could both pick up the disease and spread it! In the UK I have watched Butterflies and bees jostling for position on flowers and coming into close contact, so either could move the disease around!

    #61608

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Update from an AFB scientist: do not use honey, use sugar instead. The nutrients are very similar, but you run the risk of spreading AFB (American foulbrood, fatal for honey bees) by using honey.

    #26922

    Anna
    Participant

    suecom…I find mine love the nectar I make up.
    Its a tsp honey dissolved in 1/4 cup of cooled boiled water, with a couple of drops of soya sauce.
    I put a small amount of this in a milk bottle top that has a piece of pot scrub, or cut up facecloth in the bottom so they don’t get their feet too wet. I carefully pick the butterfly up when it has its wings closed, and place it in the dish. If its hungry, the minute the front feet touch the nectar, the tongue unfurls, and it starts feeding.
    After introducing the butterfly to the nectar this way, I find they make their own way to the food when they want.

    (If you would rather not touch its wings, you can dip your finger into the nectar, and put it in front of its face. The tongue comes out, and it steps on your finger, then you can transfer it to the dish that way)

    #26921

    suecom
    Participant

    With a newly hatched butterfly on my shoulder, inside on a wet day I wonder: will putting it outside in the rain destroy/damage its wings? Also does anyone have a good recipe/ratio for food for it? Thanks

    #26245

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    This from Mexico:

    Gatorade is good, Nectar for Hummingbird too, you can do a juice with fruits and a cheap beer too.

    Well, we don’t have hummingbirds, but lots of the American farms use Gatorade. I don’t know if you can get it here?

    My butterflies are happy with a wide range of flowers. So long as I can sustain that, I hope they may be here all year.

    Jacqui

    #26243

    Terry
    Participant

    I must admit I have never had a problem using ordinary processed white sugar in my nectar mixes over the years.

    #26241

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Commercial butterfly farms overseas breed tropical and sub tropical varieties of butterfly and what suits those species does not necessarily apply to ours.
    There are many recipes for artificial nectar and all are touted to be ‘the best’.
    While there may be a need for artificial nectar in facilities that breed large numbers of butterflies, I believe that for the average NZ butterfly enthusiast genuine flowers, potted or otherwise, are the best.

    #26239

    Anna
    Participant

    When I did a search about feeding butterflies, I saw that they like cut apples, oranges, even over ripe banana etc at a commercial butterfly farm, so it probably would be alright.

    #26225

    Gordon
    Participant

    In answer to your question Darren, we are running an insect conservation habitat and are considering our options for commercial sponsorship. If we are able to produce a suitable recipe, we will approach a juice company.
    Thank you for your help.
    Gordon.

    #26210

    Darren
    Participant

    Fruits are high in the fructose type of sugar, which is better than sucrose or cane sugar for butterflies. So I guess you probably can, but why would you want to? Honey is mostly fructose and glucose and works well.

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