What is a butterfly puddle?

Gardens & Landscapes October 16, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

When butterflies get hot, they head for shade, close their wings, and orient themselves parallel to the sun's rays, or they seek cool areas like a moist sand "puddle". As a gardener, you can develop shady areas with a salt/sand puddle. The males of some species will congregate at shallow puddles or damp mud, sipping water to obtain minerals such as salt, which is thought to be important for successful reproduction. You can create a simple "mineral spa" in your backyard by installing a water dripper over an area of bare sand, soil, or gravel in the shade. Adding stale beer, salt, manure, or rotting fruit to this area will make it even more attractive to butterflies.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.