Friday, February 25, 2011

More about Butterflies

  From the egg that is laid on a Host plant's leaf to the day a butterfly emerges, the insect goes through 4 stages and takes approximately 28 days.  The egg sits for 5-7 days, then the tiny caterpillar emerges and eats almost non-stop for 10 days.  It wraps itself in a chrysalis where it grows and morphs into a butterfly anywhere from 10-14 days later.  There are 150,000 kinds of butterflies and they and their caterpillars come in all sorts of colors and sizes.  Butterflies have a head, thorax, abdomen, six legs and 2 antennae.  Most have four wings.  The wings of a butterfly are covered with tiny scales, that seem to shimmer in the sunlight. When a butterfly is at rest their wings are closed.  The view of a butterfly from the front is usually much different than the view from the back.
     The Painted Lady Butterfly is found throughout North America.  The adults will eat from any nectar filled plant, but as caterpillars, they love lupines and sunflowers.  Add a mud puddle to your garden in order for the butterflies to get all the nutrients they need, nectar alone isn't sufficient.  Simply fill a saucer with a mix of one half composted manure and one half sand.  Then pour water over it and top it with an overripe banana.  It may sound gross to you but the butterflies will love it. 
     Don't forget to put a large warming rock near their water supply, so their cold blooded bodies will have a place in the sun to perch and warm up.
     The odds are that if you plant a butterfly garden, you'll attract hummingbirds too.  If you really want to draw in the birds, plant tube or trumpet shaped flowers like crocosmia, honeysuckle or hyssop.  These flowers are perfectly shaped for hummingbirds to sip from.

No comments:

Post a Comment