How to make a hanging butterfly feeder plate

larry_geneJanuary 1, 2013

Hanging butterfly feeder plates: THEY REALLY REALLY WORK.

Posted by mcronin

Making the hanging feeder plates

I drilled three holes in the edges of plastic plates (or metal tops to containers), strung wire through each hole, connected the three wires at the top of the plate, and used wire to hang them at least 10 feet below small branches of trees. The long wire is to keep squirrels and other animals off the feeders. Hang them far enough from trees, etc. so animals like squirrels can't jump to them. Mine hang about 10 feet off the ground and I use a stepladder to reach them with butterfly food. Hang them in an area that you can SAFELY reach with a stepladder and where they will get enough sun to encourage butterflies to visit.

Butterfly food recipe I use a pail with a tight lid to hold the butterfly food. I cut up a dozen over-ripe bananas into chunks, add two cans of cheap beer, one or two bottles of molasses, and a pound of brown sugar. I mix it up in the pail and let it ferment for about a week; then fill the plates. You can use other fruits such as mangos, watermelon, etc. Experiment with what you can get ( sometimes for free if your grocery store is discarding spoiled fruit) and what works best for the butterflies that you want to attract.

Tips on using the feeder plates

I cover my plates with regular fiberglass screen and secure the screening on each plate with 3-5 big paper clamps. The goal is to prevent unwanted insects from getting UNDER the screening . The butterflies can feed through the screen, but unwanted other insects usually can't ( they will collect on TOP of the screens, but the butterflies generally ignore them ). I try to remember to put plastic plates face down on top of the screens on the plates if rain is expected. I do this to prevent the butterfly feeding mixture from being too diluted from heavy rains.

Hopeful results Butterflies flock to these plates including anglewings, red admirals. red-spotted purples, painted ladies, and mourning cloaks. This system provides us daily visits by our "winged jewels" on sunny days in spring, summer, and fall. It is well worth the limited effort to attract these types of butterflies which seldom, if ever, visit our flowers for nectar.

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