This Unusual DIY Mixture May Actually Bring Butterflies To Your Yard

Besides being drawn to bright and fragrant blooms, butterflies are also attracted to certain trees and ripe or rotten fruit. Even dung and animal carcasses are butterfly magnets, and a mud puddle is a likely landing spot as they search for nectar and other nourishment. According to Turning The Clock Back, sweet nectar attracts the insects because it fulfills three fundamental needs — an energy source, a liquid, and essential minerals.

Per Easy To Grow Bulbs, there's an unexpected DIY mixture that satisfies these requirements and more, and it can bring butterflies to your yard by the bushel. It's a beer-based solution consisting of a can of stale brew sweetened with a cup of brown sugar, an extremely ripe banana, and a cup of molasses. Dark rum or soy sauce can provide an additional kick. Plan to serve it somewhere the butterflies will be undisturbed. This butterfly beer can be drizzled in the midst of their favorite bushes, spread over pots containing the flowers that attract them, or poured in a pie tin or saucer.

Ned Hardy asserts that a butterfly that partakes of this recipe might even get drunk. Aside from enjoyment, the beer-infused drink or any concoction using fermented ingredients will attract butterflies because they stimulate the production of spermatophores — a key, protein-rich component of butterfly mating and reproduction.

A butterfly and beer partnership

Not only can butterflies be attracted to your garden by offering them a taste of beer, the insects have actually played an indirect role in brewing the suds. As reported in the University of Florida News, 10 local brews have been created in support of butterfly conservation. One brewer even developed and sells a beer containing wild yeast gathered from captured frosted elfin butterflies. The yeast helped to create a stout with "a fruity, hoppy flavor and a cloudy appearance."

Per CBC Radio Canada, a Canadian brewing company in Guelph, Ontario, followed suit. It sells a limited edition beer activated with yeast harvested from the endangered mottled duskywing butterfly. The brewery was already supplying a butterfly conservatory with leftover beer, and a plan was hatched to use yeast isolated from the duskywings and their host plants — the only two plants they will lay their eggs on — to create a beer. The First Magnitude Brewing Company in Gainesville, Florida also salvaged yeast from butterfly wings and used it to produce its own craft beer. The Restore The Reign of the Monarch program was then established to direct the beer proceeds in support of the growth of milkweed, a monarch staple and one of the best plants for your pollinator garden.

Other homemade butterfly lures

Birds + Wild suggests a 3-ingredient solution that is sure to attract butterflies. Take 10 cups of water and add a cup of sugar. White cane or fructose will come closest to replicating natural nectar. Mix in a tablespoon of regular soy sauce, or simply add a ½ teaspoon of salt. Butterflies will seek out this mixture for its sweetness and to replace salt that is lost in mating. A splash of clear Pedialyte can be added to provide needed minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. The solution can be squirted directly into flowers using an eye dropper. Butterflies will also come to a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water.

Just as beer draws butterflies, fruit that is overripe to the point of fermentation is an effective lure. Rural Sprout recommends a variety of DIY feeders. One simple method is to spear ripe or almost rotten fruit segments on tree branches or hooks fashioned from copper wire. A fruit plate suspended or set on a pedestal will work too. Take care not to leave it out at night to avoid unwanted animal incursions.

A sponge saturated with sugar syrup is yet another way to bring butterflies to your yard. Soak the sponge in a cup of water with a ¼ cup granulated sugar, and suspend it where it can be easily seen. Commercial butterfly feeders are also available in pet or hardware stores. For best viewing, set them up in a sunny spot near a window or patio.