Feeders for Butterflies, Moths, Bees:
Although native plants are better to offer natural food sources to pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, when the native plants are no longer blooming, in winter for example, sugar water can be used. However, sugar water should only be used as a temporary fix.
Sugar water feeders can often get mouldy, and so cleaning frequently is necessary.
There are different types of feeders for bees, butterflies, and moths.
Bees: these should be filled with a sugar-water ratio that represents natural nectar. They should also be cleaned and refilled regularly to prevent mould. Again, only feed bees sugar water if there are no successful flowers and it’s a temporary fix.
- Bottle feeders. Usually a plastic bottle with a feeding port for bees to access the solution. Sometimes they have fake flowers to entice bees.
- Tray feeders. These are shallow containers with objects (eg corks) floating in the solution to allow bees to perch.
- Entrance feeders. These are designed to be placed close to the entry of a beehive so bees can access the feeder for syrup and return safely to the hive.
- Inverted jars. These are cost-effective, made by turning a small container upside down and creating small holes in the lid so that when it is turned the right way again, the solution drips out slowly.
Butterflies and moths:
- Nectar feeders. These are usually shallow dishes with a cotton pad soaked in a sugar-water mixture.
- Fruit feeders. Some butterflies, such as Monarchs, and moths prefer overripe fruits including bananas, oranges, or watermelons. The fermenting fruits release scents that they love! These can be placed in a shallow dish or tray.
- Puddling stations: these are shallow dishes filled with moist soil or sand, and small amounts of compost can be added. Butterflies specifically can extract minerals from the soil and sand.