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Old 12-01-2009, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default bananas for butterflies

There are many butterflies that prefer rotting fruit to nectar. We've found the easiest way to attract them is to hang an over-ripe banana in a tree or anywhere you can see it from your window.

Our method:

Cut a ripe banana in half. Eat the lower half. Set aside the half with the stem attached for a couple of days until it starts to turn dark.

Take a straight pin or needle and poke several holes through the skin of the banana, say about an inch apart. This is not strictly necessary, but will make it easier and faster for more butterflies to access the goo inside.

Also take the pin and loosen up the pulp at the cut whre it has started to dry out.

Hang the banana from a tree branch. If you hang it at about eye level, you will be able to take photos easily. The feeding butterflies will ignore you if you approach slowly.

If you have a problem with other critters snatching the banana, you can enclose it in a suet cage and hang that.

You can see photos of a Red-spotted purple and Hackberry Emperor butterflies dining on bananas in my album.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:53 AM   #2
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I have seen rotting fruit put out at butterfly houses. You are dead on!!! They love rotting fruit. I had a plate out on our patio and was amazed it really worked. It attracted butterflies I've never noticed before. I've never hung a banana from a tree but... there's no shortage of overripe bananas around my house. Thanks for the tip!!!
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Old 12-02-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
I have seen rotting fruit put out at butterfly houses. You are dead on!!! They love rotting fruit. I had a plate out on our patio and was amazed it really worked. . .
There are all kinds of variations you can try, including recipes that can be smeared on the side of a tree (a more natural look for photos), or on a board, but I haven't used them.

When I put watermelon rind out on a plate it drew a lot of ants right away - I didn't leave it long enough to get butterflies because it was so unappetizing. I have no problem with the ants - it was seeing them on a plate that got me!

Ants come to the banana also, but are less noticeable. Sometimes other insects show up. I'll try to look through my pictures.

Those of us in the north will have to wait 'til spring, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the info for those with butterflies all year round. Would love to see what you attract.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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A frequent visitor.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:53 AM   #5
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Here's a couple of the butterflies that I've been able to attract with rotting fruit.

Red Admiral
Appalachian Brown

It's a small (6 - 8 inches) tray used for potted plants. The fruit is usually bannanas and crushed grapes. Watermellon has worked well too. I usually add some fruit juice to keep everything moist.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:19 PM   #6
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That sounds like a great idea. Will have to try that, like you, in the Spring.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:24 PM   #7
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You have some beauties visiting you.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #8
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Bananas can also attract fruit bats in the right climate. There is a hotel in Costa Rica called Cinco Hormigas Rojas that puts out fruit that attracts fruit bats at night. It was really cool watching them.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:16 PM   #9
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That's not something the hotel chain's brochure will tell you. But it is very cool.
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:37 AM   #10
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If you check carefully on the website, she has some pictures of the bats and butterflies feeding on fruit. I think she only has one hotel, and it caters to people who like wildlife and art, so no conflict there.
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