Like a jirga garden, a butterfly garden is a great way to attract and supply these beautiful insects. There is more to it than just planting some colorful flowers. Here’s how we can help save the butterflies and get better yards when we’re in it.
Why do we need butterflies?
Many people know how important pollinators are to our food supply and ecosystem. Yet butterflies do not always get their attention. Butterfly expert Mike Mele explains why butterflies are so important.
Butterflies are at the bottom of the food chain for some small animals, like many birds and mice. When the butterfly population is depleted, everything else is affected. About 66% of the species on the food chain can be detected in butterflies.
These insects, however, are more than just bird food. Psychologists at the University of Kentucky have also pointed out that butterflies have played an important role in controlling natural pests. Butterflies eat aphids that damage plants.
Stronger, better plants
Like bees, the butterfly is an important pollen, but in a different way. Although bees spread love locally, butterflies have picked up pollen from afar. Butterflies can cover large areas of plants evenly in one place.
They are also an important part of helping plants genetically diversify. These delicate insects feed on pollen in different groups of plants over a wide area – sometimes miles apart. Plants then become more resistant to disease and stronger. Planting peers is another way to help plants.
One reason for this is that butterflies are one of the most watched animals in the world. Ever heard the phrase “canary in a coal mine”? Butterflies are the cornerstone of our ecosystem. When there is a shortage of butterflies in an area, scientists know there is something wrong.
Birds even plan around their breeding season when caterpillars will be available to eat. Not enough caterpillars, not enough bird food. It affects our entire ecosystem and food chain.
A dangerous trend
According to the Smithsonian Institution, there are approximately 17,500 different species of butterflies. The United States is home to about 750 species. While this may sound like a lot, most of our butterfly friends are dying every year.
Various butterfly species have declined in the UK by 35-67% over a nine-year period. Conversely, some butterfly species began returning in 2019, according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.
King of Mexico wins more than butterflies. Scientists estimate that there were at least 4.5 million butterfly kings in California in the 1980s alone. In the last count, the population has shrunk to 29,000. That’s 5% of what used to happen.
The Center for Biodiversity reports a shortage of butterflies in Mexico. From 2019 to 2020, Mexico lost 53% of its remaining butterfly population. The Ziers Society for Protection highlights the damage done in the United States. California lost 86% of its butterfly population between 2017 and 2018.
At this rate, scientists say, this species will become extinct within 20 years.
What is killing butterflies?
There are several reasons why our important pollinators are disappearing. According to EPA pesticide use reports:
- More than half of all pesticides in the United States are sprayed on yards and orchards.
- The United States accounts for 23% of the world’s pesticide use.
- Pesticides are used in 83 million American homes. It does not include other pesticides used.
All these pesticides are causing a great deal of trouble for the butterfly population.
Neonicotinoid pesticides can be particularly harmful. The researchers found that as the use of nanocotinoid rose, so did the deaths of butterflies. The Guardian reports:
If we are going to be careful about using chemicals in rural areas, we need to test them better before we go out. It is crazy that we are using potentially dangerous chemicals from wildlife and no one has studied it.
A boring landscape
Along with the use of pesticides, plant diversity also decreases. When people spray unwanted “weeds” like beneficial dandelion, it has a domino effect. Malcolm King is an important food source for butterflies, but pesticides have reduced the number of plants.
A green lawn devoid of plants and diverse plant life. Roadside and fields sprayed and cut. Bare ground and fields full of pesticide-resistant corn or soybeans all return to the important food jirgas we need and ultimately damage the ecosystem on which we depend.
5G and EMF effects on butterflies?
5G has gained a lot of business lately, and not all for positive reasons. A 2010 study in the journal Nature Explore its possible effects on insects and animals. How? Butterflies contain photoreceptor proteins called cryptocurrencies. These allow butterflies to see the rays of UV light invisible to humans. Proteins also help butterflies (and other animals) understand the Earth’s geomagnetic field. There is growing evidence that EMF waves can cause birds and insects to lose their sense of direction.
Changes in food supply
Not only are EMF waves disturbing butterflies’ sense of direction, but they can also damage their food source. According to a Newsweek report, scientists have also found that 90% of plant life tested cell phones were sensitive to frequency. How EMF waves negatively affect plant growth, function and metabolism.
How to make a butterfly garden
Instead of being overwhelmed and depressed by this information, we can take action! A butterfly garden is a great way to create a haven for our pollinator friends. Unlike bees, butterflies are a bit picky about their preferences.
Become the # 1 group
Butterflies prefer large blocks of the same type of colorful flowers. Instead of planting ten different flowers in the same small area, choose one type of large patch. This does not mean that your butterfly garden can have only one or two species, but instead group them together like flowers.
# 2 Apply a rainbow
Like bees, like butterflies, all kinds of colors. Red, orange, yellow, pink and purple flowers are his favorites. Butterflies also prefer flowers that have short flower tubes and wide landing surfaces such as daisies and black-eyed Susans. Flowers with large clusters, such as phlox, are also a favorite.
# 3 Take it to greater heights
Butterflies want to choose different heights. Tall flowers and shrubs provide a protective shade for them. Trees and shrubs are important for butterflies to eat and bloom. These plants provide these caterpillars during adolescence.
# 4 Spread love
Like us, butterflies need to be eaten not only in summer, but throughout the season. We can help them eat all season by planting different types of flowers with different blooming times. Some butterflies hibernate in winter, while others migrate to warmer climates and eat there.
# 5 Stop dropping addresses
Although many people want a baseless lawn in the fall, the leaves provide shelter for insects and birds in the winter. Annual and perennial plants may include butterfly pupae and larvae, according to Purdue University’s forests and natural resources. In many areas, falling butterfly leaves and plants are under more pressure.
There are other benefits to falling leaves, according to scientists at the University of Michigan. Mixed leaves add nutrients to the soil by adding fertilizer. In spring the grass is significantly thicker, greener and healthier. We are disturbing an important part of the ecosystem by shaking the leaves and pulling the plants in the fall.
Late spring is a safer time to clean the yard and garden.
# 6 Don’t forget about the kids!
Butterflies lay eggs that become caterpillars, and later on more butterflies. A nice butterfly garden will also have food and shelter for the reproductive cycle. You can do good to both you and the caterpillar by making room for them away from your vegetables.
What to plant in a butterfly garden
Ready to get started? Here is a master list of butterfly friendly species:
The best veggies for butterflies
- Fennel Seed
- Garlic chives
The best tree for a butterfly garden
- Gumbo tall tree
- Papaya tree (and the fruits are edible and delicious!)
- Tulip poplar tree
- Wild black cherry tree
- The chokeberry tree
- Northern thorny ash
Butterfly friendly shrubs and oxen
- Butterfly bush (Badlia spp.)
- Badlia Dwivedi ‘Miss Molly’
- Salt bush
- Mexican Flame Vine (the only grape vine that attracts kings)
- Button bush
The best plants and flowers for butterflies
- Mint Spare parts, peppermint, etc.
- Blue Mast Spirea
- Malcolm (important for King Caterers)
- Jo-pie – mourning clothes
- Corn flower
- Purple Confucius (Echinacea)
- Globe Emirate
- Mexican sunflower
- Susan of dark eyes
- Bottle brush
- Coral bean
- Coral Honeysuckle
- Fireworks plant
- Fire spike
- Lion’s ear
- Passion flower
- Blue Portwood
- Bee balm (also called wild bergamot)
- Blue is wrong
- Duranta erecta (sapphire shower or golden dew)
- Ekim Fastosom (Pride of Madeira)
- Types of Blessing Star (King’s Favorite) – Rough, Button, Meadow and North are some of the other types.
- Purpletop vervain
- Egyptian stark cluster
- Purple giant hyssop (not Anis hyssop)
- Golden Road
More butterfly garden needs
Still looking to add? Try:
Some butterfly species eat rotten fruit. Cut the fruit into pieces and place in a shallow dish for the butterflies. They should be planted with flowering plants of their choice.
Butterflies also enjoy taking dips. When they are cleansed with deep water, like Bird Weeks, a shallow dish of water is their thing. You can fill a saucer with wet sand and water from their favorite flowers. If your area is infested with mosquitoes, be sure to throw away and change the water.
What will happen to the butterfly house?
A butterfly house may look like a friendly gesture, but it is not necessary. These are more for decoration and butterflies do not use them. This is likely to turn into a spider’s web. Try building a beehive instead.
Let’s save the butterflies
Although the statistics are surprisingly poor, we can all play our part in saving the butterflies. Planting a butterfly garden, releasing pesticides and encouraging different plant life can have an effect. The more of us bounces, the better!
Do you have a butterfly garden? What’s in it?
- Purdue University Forest and Natural Resources (May 2004, 2004) Attracting butterflies to your yard. https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR-248-W.pdf
- UK Butterfly Surveillance Scheme (UKBMS). (2019) Summary of the Changes Table for 2019 UK. https://www.ukbms.org/official_statics
- Cornell University Cooperative Extension Fruit and Montgomery County (April 11, 2013). Consumer Gardening: Plan a Butterfly Garden. https://ccefm.com/readarticle.asp?ID=1577&progID=8
- Dowie, D (May 19, 2018) Radiation for cell phones, Wi-Fi is bothering birds and flies. 5G can make it worse. Newsweek https://www.newsweek.com/migratory-birds-bee-navigation-5g-technology-electromagnetic-radedia-934830
- USEPA (2017) Pesticide Industry Sales and Use 2008-2012 Market Estimates. https://www.epa.gov/sites/product/files/2017-01/documents/pesticides-industry-sales-usage-2016_0.pdf
- Schultz, C, Brown, L, Pelton, E, and Kroen, E (2017). The observation of urban science demonstrates the dramatic decline of king butterflies in western North America. Biological protection. https: //www.s knowledge direct.com/s knowledge / article / abs / pii / S0006320717304809
- Curry, T. (March 20, 2020). The population of the Eastern King Butterfly sinks below the threshold of extinction. Center for Biodiversity. https://phys.org/news/2020-03-eastern-monarch-butterfly-population-plunges.html
- Jewert’s Society for Invertebrate Conservation. (November 29, 2018) Preliminary Thanksgiving Count shows a very small royal population in California. https://xerces.org/blog/early-thanksgiving-counts-show-critically-low-monarch-population-in-california
- UK College of Agriculture Food and Environment. Office Studies at the University of Kentucky. https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef103)
- Hartley Botanic (March 2, 2016) Why Butterflies Are Important https://hartley-botanic.co.uk/magazine/why-butterflies-are-important/
- Gejar, Robert J. Etc. (2010) Animal Cryptococcus Mediated Magnetorption by Unconventional Photochemical Mechanisms. Nature, 463 (7282), 804. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature08719
- Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (2004). Attracting butterflies to your yard. https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/FNR/FNR-248-W.pdf
- Johnson, T (ND) My Backdoor: Do Butterflies Work? Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division. https://georgiawildLive.com/out-my-backdoor-do-butterfly-boxes-work