An Overripe Banana Is The Key To Attracting Monarch Butterflies To Your Yard

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Monarch butterflies are gorgeous orange and black insects that make a yearly migration across North America. Though the species is no longer classified as endangered but is still considered vulnerable to extinction, you can help monarch butterflies thrive by providing fuel for their arduous journey. As butterflies can only consume their food through their thin, lengthy tongue (known as a proboscis), they mostly eat liquids. This is why overripe fruit is so appealing to them, and bananas are a big hit. By placing the cut or mashed fruit outside, you can attract gorgeous monarchs and provide them with sustenance for their long migration.

Though overripe bananas could attract monarch butterflies if they are passing by, the fruit might also attract some unwanted visitors. Other bugs, such as roaches, wasps, or ants, may steal some of the butterflies' food. In worse scenarios, you may end up feeding squirrels or raccoons, which could become a nuisance. One solution to this problem is to monitor your overripe bananas throughout the day to see if animals are interested or bring the food inside at night when the butterflies are sleeping.

Attracting monarch butterflies with overripe bananas

If you want to create a stunning butterfly garden, brown bananas are a great way to help bring these beautiful monarchs to your yard. Once you have a banana that has been sitting on the counter for a bit too long, there are a few ways to offer it to your butterfly friends. An easy method is to peel and cut the banana in slices or down the center and set it in a small, shallow dish. Alternatively, you could smash the overripe banana with a fork. This can then be placed in your garden in a bright, sunny spot or near flowers. Since monarchs and other species often drink nectar from flowers, this is a great spot to place your fruit and catch the butterflies' attention.

With this feeding method, the fruit could dry out rather quickly, and butterflies prefer very wet or rotting fruit, which is why they flock to overripe bananas. To keep the fruit squishy and help it retain moisture, pour a small amount of leftover wine or beer into the dish. This also may cause the fruit to ferment further, making it even more attractive to monarchs. Additionally, add a little Emergen-C powder or a sports drink like Gatorade, which will add more minerals and nutrition to your feeder. For those concerned about the artificial dyes or chemicals in Gatorade, clear Pedialyte is a great option.

Make a hanging banana feeder to attract monarchs

Another way to serve overripe bananas to monarch butterflies is to hang them. This can help dissuade pests like roaches or ants from eating your fruit, but it will still be easily accessible for the butterflies. This could be done by hanging up your dish or making hooks to hold the pieces of fruit. If you want to keep your fruit in a dish, try putting it up with a flower pot holder cradling the bottom of the container, like this $9 macrame pot hanger from Amazon. The pot can be hung from a shepherd's hook stand in your backyard or patio, or you can even tie it to a tree.

If you're not keen on messing with a hanging dish, you can hang the fruit itself. Start by bending a copper wire into a hook shape, leaving extra room on the other end. You might also consider repurposing old wire hangers for their hooks. Cut your banana in half each way, giving you four pieces that still have the peel on the back. Insert the hook into one piece of banana, going through the peel to ensure it doesn't fall off. The other end of the wire can be wound around a small tree branch or another fixture in your yard. No matter how you choose to attract monarch butterflies to your garden, you may have to replace the fruit daily.