We all know bees act as great pollinators in the garden, but what many don’t realise is that butterflies are also quietly working away pollinating flowers and edibles. And unlike bees, butterflies see the colour red, as well as other wavelengths better than their buzzy friends.
Butterflies are also known as an indicator species. An indicator species is sensitive to changes in the climate, the presence of harmful chemicals, pollution in the air and water, and other environmental issues. Unfortunately, the butterfly populations are in decline due to humans reducing the numbers of pollinators with pesticides and by destroying habitats and their nectar sources.
So how can you help?
These Butterfly Houses & Feeders provide a suitable environment for butterflies to feed in over the summer (with the nectar bowl) and shelter over winter.
Mix four parts hot water to one-part granulated sugar. Wait for the mixture to cool down, then fill the nectar bowl. You will notice butterflies, hoverflies and beneficial bees and wasps using this feeder nectar bowl, which is just what we want for the health of the garden and an increased population of beneficial insects.
Plant butterfly friendly plants:
There are two types of plants: nectar sources for adult butterflies to sustain themselves on and host plants for the female butterflies to lay their eggs on. For best results, plant in blocks of colour, and plant in blocks of three or more of each nectar source. There are 20 difference species of butterflies in New Zealand, and each one requires a different host plant to lay their eggs on.
Butterfly-friendly plants include:
For more plant ideas and a list of host plants visit www.monarch.org.nz