Today we have a guest blog from Localtraders.com, who wanted to share with us some helpful advice to help butterflies thrive again in a world that is continuously becoming an urban jungle:
The plight of our nation’s wildlife has been well documented recently, the wet weather of this Spring-Summer period has lead to familiar faces like Sir David Attenborough calling out for gardeners everywhere to take a stand and protect British wildlife.
It’s not just the birds and the bees that are in decline from the evident climate change. The UK’s butterfly population is having a hard time too. Of the 59 species currently inhabiting our gardens and green spaces, three quarters of those are in decline, whilst one third are heading for extinction because of the wettest and dullest season on record. The extreme weather has affected the breeding cycle of these beautiful creatures, and of the few larvae that have been laid, few caterpillars thrive.
It’s not just the harsh weather that is leading to the butterfly’s decline, as our countryside becomes more of an urban jungle and habitat disappears so too does our wildlife. The Butterfly Conservation is urging homeowners to help so whether you are working with a single plant pot or an acre of land, here are a few simple steps to help you create a heavenly habitat fit for a butterfly…
Butterfly Friendly Planting
Nectar plants such as Buddleia (also known as the butterfly bush), Lavender and Perennial Wallflower, produce the summer nectar butterflies need. Keep your nectar plants well watered as this encourages them to make more nectar for hungry butterflies and their larvae. Introduce a series of host plants too, these vary depending on the species you are looking to attract, but generally they provide the perfect platform for butterflies to breed, lay eggs and nurture larvae.
Cater to your butterflies’ sweet tooth; many species of butterfly enjoy feeding on over-ripened fruits. Hang fruit from your trees or place around your garden to provide your butterflies with a tasty treat.
Butterflies Love Sunbathing!
Butterflies rely on sunlight to get the energy they need to fly, feed and breed. Make sure your nectar and host plants are positioned in an area of your garden that gets full sunlight. You should also provide coverage in the form of trees and shrubs to safeguard butterflies from predators and the wind.
You can also provide features in your garden for butterflies to bask on. Positioning a flat stone in a part of your garden that is flooded in sunlight offers a great spot for butterflies to warm their wings! Butterflies enjoy socialising and tend to congregate in shallow puddles. As well as drinking water from the puddle, they also take in amino acids and salts to maintain a healthy form. Create your own watering hole by digging a shallow hole in your garden, lining with sand or gravel and filling with water.
Pest Control – the Natural Way
Many people forget that butterflies are insects, visually they are a far cry from their fellow creepy crawlies but in terms of pest control butterflies are affected by the same insecticides. Therefore, it is important not to use insecticides in your garden. Encouraging birds and other insects like spiders and ladybirds is particularly useful and controls your garden’s pests naturally.
This article was written by LocalTraders, the online specialists in home and garden improvements. Using a simple enquiry system we connect customers with a network of quality, local tradespeople across the UK. For more advice and tips, visit www.localtraders.com.
For more advice about helping butterflies, have a read of this blog from the Butterfly Jungles Transitions Garden that was at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year.