Butterly in my house today in CONNECTICUT

sue_ct(z6 CT)February 3, 2011

I have a little yellow butterfly, I assume some variation of Sulpher, on my kitchen window inside today. There is almost 4 feet of snow outside my window! I assume it came in on a log for my fire or more likely, an herb plant I have near the widow, either Basil, Thyme or Rosemary. Is this little thing doomed? It keeps fluttering against the window, but I shooed it onto the Thyme plant where it now seems to be resting. What do they eat? I am so sad for it! Can I buy a potted plant it will like?


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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Forgot I had purchased a Dill plant that must be where it came from. I know Dill is a host plant for some butterflies.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 2:47PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Looks like a classic cabbage white to me. It is in the same family as sulfur butterflies.

None of the plants you mention are a host for this butterfly.

The butterfly would not "eat" anything but might sip some nectar from a flower.

It is curious event for this time of year!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 11:46PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Hmmm, I didn't realize how washed out the bright light from the window made the colors. It was clearly yellow, not white, but maybe a cabbage white is yellow, too, I would have to look it up... Thanks for the suggestion for the ID. I have one more photo that shows a little hint of its color but not the true all over light yellow color.

I put some sugar water in a lid and some water in a lid on the window sill but has not gone near them. I know they don't eat plants, but not sure where I could get flowers containing enough natural "Nectar" to keep it alive. I have no idea how much one flower gives them or how much they need per day, etc. Its a long time until spring here.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:25AM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Yup, looks like the light yellow I see in some photos of cabbage whites. Haven't bought any cabbage lately. Wonder where it came from? That is OK, it may be plain, but it cheered up my winter day a bit. :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:39AM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

My first thought was cabbage white too, which as I recall uses some herb-type (for lack of a better group name) plants as hosts: pepper weed, nasturtiums, cabbage, sorry I'm drawing a blank on names. Maybe you had something like that mixed in somewhere around the herbs you mentioned?

As for him nectaring, just in my experience, they often don't nectar when they are focused on escape. Meaning I usually have to prod them, put them on the flower, gatorade, sugar water, etc. Sometimes even use a pin to unfurl the proboscis to get 'em going. Either way an interesting visitor with the snow. Too bad you can't beam him down here where it is warm.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:43AM
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Cabbage butterflies are white above, and have varying degrees of yellow below. Your butterfly looks like a male (only one forewing black spot).

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 11:37PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Cabbage Whites are pretty crazy. Out in weather way to cold for other butterflies. Seen late in the winter and really early in the spring. They are considered a pest because they attack crops in the cabbage family.

If you want to feed the butterfly, you'd have to cage it and then offer some fruit or apple juice (even juicy, juicy) or gatorade.

I've posted the website for Raising Butterflies video. (Part 3: (0:17:51) Adult butterfly food sources, (0:18:28) Artificial nectar)--This has video of how to feed. Just push the video forward two times. You can add a couple drops of soy sauce for amino acids to 1/3 cup of gatorade or sugar water.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raising Butterflies Video

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:20PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thanks for the info. So I have babying a pest? This little guy is a little crazy. Twice I picked him out of the cap full of sugar water, the last time floating belly up, wings down. I think he might be suicidal. Then what I feared did happen and his wings got glued together from the sugar water drying on them. I got them apart by wetting them slightly with saline and a needle and syringe and then after several seconds gently prying them apart. He took some sugar water when I dribbled a little down the window where he sits. I don't know if he drank any more. Besides the window he likes to walking along my finger and hand, but as a second choice (3rd really) he chills out sitting on one of the herb plants. He doesn't fly. He can flutter his wings again now, though. I could just let him outside like he wants and let nature take its coarse. I can't see him lasting too long inside like this. I expect to come home each day and find him dead. I am working all weekend. I don't think a cage is a very nice thing to do considering how long it is until spring. Good thing I don't grow cabbage. Don't really want to encourage pests, either. But I generally believe in live and let live. There must be a happy medium though that doesn't involve rescuing a doomed butterfly several times a day and hand feeding it sugar water.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:43PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

The video I posted showed taking a cotton makeup pad and putting that into a large cap. Soak that with sugar water or gatorade. Then the butterfly won't get its wings wet. You could actually leave the large cap with the makeup pad soaked with the sugary water near the herb plant.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:48PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

The video you posted was after the incidents I described. Thank you. Before I watched it I had actuall switched to a 1/8 tsp measuring spoon. Even with that it dries up and turns thick and sticky pretty quickly. Anyway, temps have increased into the upper 30s, near 40 yesterday and today so I opened the window about an inch in case he wanted to get out but he didn't move. I left it open a little for a while and no interest. So I guess it is up to him now. I will keep a supply of sugar water I replace a couple of times a day and he is welcome to chill out on the sill or the herb plants, the rest is up to mother nature and him.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 4:39PM
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Cabbage whites do not fly around here until the temperature is near 60. If put outside in 30s or 40s, it would just stay in one spot until death. Better to have a life of luxury.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 10:44PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thanks, I would never have known that. I am surprised he never flew in the house. He never did more than flutter up a few inches or hop or walk. Since his wings were glued together they are a little frayed along the back edge now and I am not certain he could fly any more. He rarely flutters his wings, unless I prod him for some reason, mostly sits there, still but occasionally hops or walks a little. He is a little misfit, born at the wrong time. But he has shelter as long as his little life lasts.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 11:28PM
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hanging out next to the window, he's probably cooled from chill convection flowing down the glass, so he doesn't have the energy to fly much. it'll probably help him live longer though if he doesn't dehydrate. many butterflies get nutrients from pollen in nectar. it's available from health food stores and just takes a minuscule amount mixed in their sugar water, like a BB's worth dissolved in a cup of water w/ 3 or 4 teaspoons of sugar.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:04AM
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