Monday, October 3, 2011

Top 10 Things to Do For Butterflies for Winter

From Tom's Top 10 in Birds and Blooms Magazine.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Male Zabulon Skipper Butterfly
• Prepare your butterfly hibernation box for winter hibernators. Get rid of any bees, clean out the inside, hang it in a protected spot and put out fermenting fruit.

• Many butterflies, especially those with continuous broods, are common in warmer regions that remain frost-free all year.

• Watch for the fall migration of monarchs across the U.S. They will travel in a southern or southwestern direction, riding the air currents.

• In the East and Midwest, look for these fall swallowtails: pipevine, black, spicebush and tiger.

• Fermenting apples and pears on the ground will attract common buckeyes, California sisters, viceroys and red-spotted purples well into October.

• Fall is a good time for planting small trees such as flowering dogwood and redbud, hosts for the spring azure and Henry's elfin. Also, plant shrubs in fall to offer shade and perching spots for spring butterflies.

• Watch for a few skippers that are common in fall. Most of these will be southern skippers with expanding ranges northward. They include the fiery, whirlabout, ocola and sachem skippers. Resident skippers that hang around until October include the silver-spotted skipper and common checkered skipper.

• Cabbage whites, clouded sulphurs and orange sulphurs may be around until frost, sometimes well into November.

• In central states, the variegated fritillary and pearl crescent is present until late October.

• Make sure you have plenty of asters and mums in your gardens for fall butterflies, especially monarchs as they migrate.

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