Thursday, December 16, 2010

Butterflies and Bees

It is a beautiful day!! The sun is warm and there is just a light breeze. Sleeveless shirts and shorts weather.

Yesterday it was 25* before sunrise. I decided to take the Monarchs that had emerged the last few days (17) to Lucas Nursery and release them in their “Butterfly Encounter”. It is really a nice place. Lots of plants for nectar and heat.

They had all been feeding on the plants I had in my “little” butterfly house… a solution of honey and water.


I was surprised to see each start eating as soon as I set them on the paper towel. The honey/water is in the blue lid and the paper towel gives them something to sit on and not get soaked. As soon as they finished they started hanging from the side.


I was concerned about releasing them at home since we’d had 2 freezes and I wasn’t sure how many blossoms would be left in the area. But there were many species of plants that hadn’t been bothered by the cold. Many aren’t the first choice of the butterflies but they would feed on them if nothing else was available. On the ride home I took note of all the flowers left for them.

Today a Viceroy came in. I believe it is the one in my last post. It’s wings were missing pieces the same as the other one.002cs

It is so good to see it made it through the 2 really cold nights. I know….for most of you 25* wouldn’t even mean another log on the fire…but here it’s darn right cold!

It was willing to pose even though it’s not perfect.


A bit later another Viceroy came in and it’s wings were in perfect shape. Naturally that one wouldn’t sit long enough for a picture.

This little Yellow Sulphur stopped for something to eat.008cs

After I saw the Viceroys and a couple of Monarchs flying around, I released the 5 that had emerged yesterday afternoon. I have 2 chrysalis left. Then that will be it for awhile.

I am still feeding the wild bees. I had a couple quarts of sugar water already prepared. I decided not to feed on or in the hive so made this suspended basket to put the jar in. They have already finished this one….021

There are so many bees trying to get the last of the syrup that they’ve tipped it over. I lifted this one out and put another in it’s place.026cs

I removed the lid and sat the empty jar on it’s side for them to clean out. Good to the last drop! They don’t leave anything….inside or out. There are a few small yellow jackets in the crowd.024cs

I use folded pieces of paper towel on the birdbath for the bees to get water from. It is easier for them and I never find any drowned bees in the bath.028cs

I really enjoy watching these little guys….can’t wait to get a hive started….sure hope they remember there is an empty one here for them.


  1. A beautiful sight to see. Night time temp around here now drops close to 0F, so we have to blog far to the south for our 'critter fix'. (Grin).

  2. You really are doing some great stuff for them Carol. It must be so rewarding to watch all your efforts come to fruition.

  3. Beautiful photos but here it is snowing again!! Diane

  4. You're so smart to let the water or nectar soak into the paper towels for the butterflies and bees to feed from! I hope they will all prosper and you don't get too many more freezes down there!

  5. Really lovely to read about your activities with bees and butterflies while we in the north are in the cold dark icy snowy time of the year.

  6. It is so nice to still see the flowers, butterflies and bees about. Even with your chilly nights. I love seeing so many together.

    Been gray, raining and in the low 40s here all day.

  7. Butterflies are always beautiful! I used to have a white butterfly when I was young. She is the prettiest.

  8. Thanks for sharing, great photos!!! The nectar soaked on the paper towels for the butterflies is a great idea!!
    Stephanie Dolen

  9. I always enjoy seeing the wildlife you are nurturing. I like the idea of your Monarch's going to the Butterfly Encounter at the Nursery. Thanks for sharing your wild visitors.


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