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Butterfly Bait: How-To Formula

Butterfly Bait: How-To Formula

We love butterflies! They have lifted human hearts for millennia with their fragile, colorful beauty. There are specific flowers that butterflies love, but what if you donít have the space or time to grow butterfly-attracting plants? We can make Butterfly Bait! Because not all butterflies are only attracted to flower-nectar, this magic stuff will attract butterflies to your yard, even if all you have is a balcony.

Just wait until you find out the ingredients of Butterfly Bait! Theyíre not as pretty as the butterflies, thatís for sure–but this magic goop will have White Admirals, Mourning Cloaks, Viceroys and many others flocking to your place. Hereís the formula:

Many butterflies prefer rotting fruit, tree sap, dung, carrion, urine, and other non-nectar sources of nutrients. You can allow fruit from your fruit trees to decay on the ground, leave your petís droppings where they lie, or place a bit of raw meat or fish in a discreet part of your garden.

And here is the formula for Butterfly Bait:

1 pound sugar
1 or 2 cans stale beer
3 mashed overripe banana
1 cup of molasses or syrup
1 cup of fruit juice
1 shot of rum

Mix all ingredients well and paint on trees, fence posts, rocks, or stumps–or simply soak a sponge in the mixture and hang from a tree-limb.

Adapted from The Butterfly Garden, by Matthew Tekulsky (Harvard Common Press, 1985)

For more information about butterflies, including some fascinating facts, and a listing of plants that will attract them, see Care2ís How to Attract Butterflies.

Read more: Nature, Lawns & Gardens, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, ,

Adapted from The Butterfly Garden, by Matthew Tekulsky (Harvard Common Press, 1985). Copyright (c) 1985 by Matthew Tekulsky. Reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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1:41PM PST on Jan 10, 2013

I have all sorts of rotting vegetation in my yard since I have a compost and I have fruitflies, slugs, and spiders, but no butterflies. Maybe some booze will convince them. XD

12:21PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012


3:17PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

Thanks for the entertaining article.

8:01AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012


1:38AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Great article. Thanks.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Butterflies are fascinating and often very colourful. While the bait will attract some species no doubt it will also attract some of the local squirrels, raccoons attracted to the fermenting brew. This is an interesting way of doing this and there are also a lot of flowers one can plant that specific butterflies are attracted to as well.

These are insects always worth watching along with dragonflies who are also colourful and delightful.

2:04PM PDT on Jul 21, 2012


8:22PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Mixture sounded strange to me. I understand the sweet stuff, but beer and rum? interesting to know. May try it...thanks

9:46PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

thanx, I am always looking for way to attract Butterflies

6:32AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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