Butterflies are such interesting insects that many people absolutely adore. You might love seeing them in your yard because of how pretty they are.
Many people do their best to attract butterflies to their properties by adding certain plants. If you want them to thrive in your area, you need to ensure that they have everything that they need.
What do butterflies need to survive, though? Are there certain things that you should be doing or adding to your yard when you care about them?
Read on to learn more about their needs. This should give you the chance to make changes that will ensure that you’ll be seeing these beauties in your yard for a long time to come.
Caterpillars will turn into butterflies if they can survive long enough. Well, some caterpillars turn into butterflies.
There are also some that turn into moths. You’ll want to learn to identify the caterpillars that will turn into butterflies.
Once you know what types you’re looking at, it’ll be easier to help them out. You can do your best to keep them safe when you see them in your yard.
Don’t go around killing caterpillars if you want to see butterflies in the yard. They’ll never get the chance to become butterflies if they don’t survive long enough.
Caterpillars will need food to eat so that they can grow and eventually form cocoons. They like to eat a plant called milkweed that is poisonous.
The poisonous plant actually protects them from potential predators. They wind up being poisonous to eat because of the milkweed, and it helps them to make it to the butterfly stage.
If you want to, you could plant some milkweed somewhere to help the local caterpillars. It might help you to see more butterflies when the time is right.
1 – Food
Of course, butterflies are going to need access to food to be able to survive. They’ll eat by sucking nectar from nearby flowers.
There are specific types of flowers that really appeal to these insects. If you want to keep them fed and happy, you should consider planting certain things in your yard.
One plant that you’ll want to get right away is known as a butterfly bush. These bushes are named as such because of how good they are at attracting butterflies.
There are plenty of other options to consider as well. You could plant goldenrod, sunflowers, mint, salvia, or even verbena in your yard to give the butterflies food.
Butterflies really love all of the flowers mentioned above, but they can eat most types of flowers. This means that so long as your garden has flowers, there will be food for the butterflies.
2 – Water
It makes sense that butterflies would also need water to be able to thrive. They have to drink water to go on living just like most other creatures on this planet.
When butterflies drink water they receive important minerals that help them to keep going. They don’t usually seek out deep water sources, though.
Butterflies are known to enjoy shallow pools of water. They really enjoy puddles, and sometimes you might even see them splashing around and playing in puddles of water.
They do this when they drink water, but they also use water to help cool themselves down. When the environment is really hot during the warm parts of the year, they might need to utilize puddles to stay cool.
Some people might choose to place birdbaths in the yard in the hopes that it will also help the butterflies. You can do this if you want, but they should be able to survive by utilizing natural water sources.
3 – Air
You don’t really need to do anything to ensure that the butterflies can keep breathing in the air. It’s just simply true that they need oxygen to survive.
Interestingly, butterflies don’t breathe through their mouths. They take oxygen in through the spiracles that are positioned on their bodies.
Each butterfly is going to have nine sets of spiracles. These are always located on the body of the butterfly and not the wings.
You can try to ensure that your yard has good airflow if you’re concerned about the butterflies. It shouldn’t be necessary to go out of your way to make any changes to your property.
4 – The Right Temperature
Butterflies are going to need to be in an environment that is warm enough for them. If things are too cold, they simply won’t be able to survive.
You might not know this yet, but butterflies are cold-blooded. This means that they cannot regulate their body temperatures as you can.
The temperature must be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit for a butterfly to survive. If it’s any cooler than that, they’ll wind up dying off.
Even 55 degrees Fahrenheit is going to be a bit cooler than the butterflies will want it to be. If a butterfly was to get wet during this time, it would be too cold for it to be able to fly.
This means that the butterfly would inevitably die. As you can tell, the temperature plays a role in how well they’ll be able to do in an environment.
Butterflies also don’t do well when the weather gets too hot. When temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, they might wind up dying.
Humidity plays a role in whether the butterflies will be able to keep going at higher temperatures. They definitely prefer milder weather.
5 – Sunshine
Sunshine is actually an important thing to butterflies. They’re going to need the sun’s rays to be able to keep on going.
Essentially, butterflies use the warmth of the sun’s rays to warm them up properly. This makes it so that they’ll be able to fly.
Butterflies need to absorb warmth from the sun to be able to get around. This is why you’ll sometimes see them laying flat on a surface with their wings open.
The technical name for what they’re doing is dorsal basking. They’re able to effectively absorb the sun’s rays and it gives them the ability to fly around.
Sunlight is also important for butterflies because it gives them a sense of direction. They use the sun to help them get around and figure out their environment.
When things start to get cooler, butterflies can attempt to stay warm by shaking. This is only going to be so useful, though, and it won’t work well enough to warm them when the temperatures dip too low.
Shaking is effective enough when the temperatures are still normal and the sun is overcast. It’s interesting to see what these insects will do to keep on going.
Some Butterflies Migrate
Did you know that some butterflies migrate to different areas? There are butterflies such as monarchs that migrate to seek out beneficial areas where they can survive.
Monarch butterflies migrate to the northern portions of the United States and Southern portions of Canada during the summer months. They then migrate to the southern United States and northern portions of Mexico during the winter.
Butterflies will instinctively seek out favorable climate situations. They know when it’s time to move on and seek a better environment.
Some Butterflies Hibernate
There are also butterflies that hibernate during the winter. They seek out locations where they will be protected and hibernate.
You might find certain species hibernating underneath tree bark in the winter. They’re capable of hibernating during any of their life stages, too.
Butterflies Are Short-Lived
Sadly, butterflies do not live very long lives. Most types will only live for about one month.
This means that you’ll just have to enjoy them while they’re around. Even though they don’t live long lives, they wind up doing quite a bit during their lifetimes.
If you do your best to set up an ideal environment for them, you’ll see them thriving in your yard. They’ll be happy to eat the nectar from your flowers, and you’ll be able to admire their overall beauty.
Don’t be sad that the butterflies won’t survive for too long. They reproduce and ensure that there will always be more of them coming after them.
After learning about butterflies and what they need to survive, you’re going to have a much better idea of what they require. These interesting insects mostly just need the basics to survive, but the temperature in the area plays a role in whether they’ll be able to keep on living, too.
As you might expect, butterflies need food to live. They like to suck the nectar out of flowers.
You can plant things such as butterfly bushes and goldenrod to give them plenty of food. Try to plant flowers that butterflies are known to love.
They also need water, but they mostly get that from shallow pools of water. You don’t necessarily need to do anything to ensure that they have water, but some people place bird baths on their properties.
Ensuring that your yard has good airflow will be positive for these insects. It’s also true that they need plenty of sunshine to warm their bodies since they’re cold-blooded.
Many of the factors that determine whether butterflies can survive are things that you can’t change. You can’t control the weather, and that means that you’ll just need to enjoy seeing the butterflies when they’re around.
Remember to look out for the caterpillars that can turn into butterflies next year. Keep more of them alive so that they can turn into butterflies that you can enjoy.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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