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What to Put in a Butterfly House

Butterfly houses aren't only an attractive addition to your garden, they can also be a teaching tool for children who are learning about a butterfly's life cycle. With a butterfly house, you can help a larvae in its journey to metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly, right before your eyes. You can purchase butterfly houses at your local home and garden centre, or you can order them online complete with the larvae inside. Remember to add a few things to your butterfly house to make it more comfortable for your winged friends.

Tree Branches

If you ordered your butterfly house online or purchased it from a home and garden store, it probably came with a small pole to place across the top for the cocoon to hang from. If you made your own butterfly house, you'll need to create a space for the cocoon to hang. Either way, it's a good idea to place a small, sturdy tree branch in the house. The branch will be a much more natural place for your butterfly to make it's cocoon. Find one about the width of your index finger, with lots of small twigs branching out from it.

Eating and Drinking Station

Your butterflies will need a place to eat and drink for the time they're in residence. Keep in mind that a butterfly house is only a short-term situation. Once the butterflies have matured, you should set them free in your garden so they can live their lives and find mates. Read the instructions that came with your butterfly house to learn how long you should keep your particular kind of butterfly in captivity.

For now, place a small bowl on the bottom of the house, with a new, clean plastic pot scrubber in the dish. The scrubber should be roughly the same height as the bowl. This gives the butterfly something to perch on while it drinks food from the bowl.

Sugar Water

Butterflies drink nectar. Since you won't have any flowers in your butterfly house, make nectar using a sugar and water mixture to sustain your butterflies until you release them. Use one part sugar to four parts water. Boil the water and mix in the sugar while it boils. This melts all the sugar and rids the water of any harmful germs, leaving only nectar water. Allow it to cool, and then pour it into your dish with the pot scrubber in it. Change the water frequently to avoid mould or bacteria growth. Your butterflies will be safe and well fed until maturity.

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About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.