red-spotted purple BF - what over ripe fruit works best?

mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)April 11, 2013

Is there a concensus for best fruits to use at a feeding station to attract Red Spotted Purple BF's.

And should the fruit be squishy before putting it out? I have my netted onion bag and a wrought iron in ground hanger ready, just need to prepare a fine dining experience for those little jewels who like to feed off of spoiled fruit!

The only time I've actually seen a Red Spotted Purple was when I put a piece of melon on the deck railing, thinking the birds might like a taste. Instead, this lovely BF hung around, feeding on it. Miss Sherry ID'ed it and told me what kind of butterfly I was seeing!

Congrats on seeing your first Red Spotted Purple this season, Sherry.

Mary

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks, Mary!

I'll let others give advice as to what's the best over ripe fruit for RSPs - I usually just get flies! I remember putting out a watermelon once, and they visited that a few times, but that's the only fruit they visited here. Susan makes a recipe using old fruit and ?molasses? I think - the recipe might be on the FAQ.

RSPs like to nectar on the ground, for the most part, sometimes you can't see what interests them. They like coming on my front porch, so I assume it must be something we've tracked in that they like. They like, uh, animal wastes - gross!

They occasionally visit flowers, in particular, butterfly bush -

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:00AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I only use fruit.......straight up. I use bananas about 95 percent of the time. The grocers I frequent bag up their overripe bananas and sell them for a nominal per pound price, like 20 cents, and I'll get about 5+ lbs at a time, stuff the suet feeders full and butterflies come as well as the Nessus sphinx moths, darling little diurnal fliers. If you have Virginia creeper, it is their larval host plant.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:03PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I only use fruit.......straight up. I use bananas about 95 percent of the time. The grocers I frequent bag up their overripe bananas and sell them for a nominal per pound price, like 20 cents, and I'll get about 5+ lbs at a time, stuff the suet feeders full and butterflies come as well as the Nessus sphinx moths, darling little diurnal fliers. If you have Virginia creeper, it is their larval host plant.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Tony G(5a)

Sherry, we get one or two of these in the garden each year and they favor one butterfly bush above all else...the ellen's blue! I've also seen mourning cloaks on it.

Ellen's blue is interesting because it seems to attract different butterflies...the monarchs don't touch it!

I have read RSP's favor manure to flowers. Mary, keep us posted on your progress! Good luck, Tony

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:03PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I love my Ellen's Blue, too, Tony! I've planted a new butterfly bush this year, Orange Septre, and it's growing rapidly. I can't wait to see the flowers and see how popular, or unpopular, it is with butterflies!

The two butterflies that have been chasing each other are still at it, and they stopped long enough today for me to get a look at them - they're red-spotted purples. I watched as one of them nectared for a LONG time on the flowers of the wild black cherry trees in my yard. I got some pictures, but the RSP was so high up in the tree I had to zoom in, and that made the pictures blurry. So wild black cherry is not only the principle host plant for red-spotted purples, they favor the nectar in the flowers, also. I've seen other butterflies using these blooms, too. Around here, wild black cherry/Prunus serotina is the best all-round wildlife plant there is, so I think anybody who has room needs at least one of these trees!

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:05PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

My thanks to all for taking the time to post.

Susan, I didn't know the Nessus sphinx moths used Virginia Creeper as a larval host plant. I'm not absolutely certain, but I think the next door neighbor has that vine on their back fence. I need to try and ID it this year. I see the Nessus sphinx moths here during the summer and assumed they had a larval host somewhere nearby (didn't realize it might be right next door!). The neighbor to the back of me has an American Beautyberry planted next to the fence between our properties and I read that it is a favorite nectar source for this moth so maybe I'm better covered for this little guy than I knew. Her beautyberry grows through the fence and arches over part of my back bed; so lovely in the fall when the berries and leaves turn. These little moths spend a lot of time feeding on the Butterfly bush blooms and Verbena bonariensis here. Maybe with the fruit feeder, my garden will be inundated with the little guys. :-)

Tony and Sherry, I do have butterfly bush 'white profusion' and the smaller 'Nano Blue'. My garden is so small, that's all I can fit in of these larger bushes ... but do they ever attract the butterflies when in bloom, so would not want to be without them.

Bananas are easy to find so will go with them as the main fruit for my net feeder.

Mary

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Leafhead

So THAT"S what variety of Sphinx moth I'd see in SoFla laying on VC at dusk...and the resulting cats!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:19PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Leafhead, Nessus Sphinx are not the only moth that uses VC as a, larval host. I mentioned them because they are more likely observed feeding on fruit during the daytime. Other sphinx that use VC as a host include Virginia Creeper Sphinx, Darapsa Myron; Eumorpha achemon, E. pandorus. It also is host to the lovely little moth, the Eight Spotted Forester. These moths are known to use other related Vitaceae species such as grape.

I love the Sphingids.

Susan

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Leafhead

Cool, Good to know. I love the Sphingids, too...
Up here, we have the lovely Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thisbe) who lays on Honeysuckle and nectars on just about anything, esp. Agastache and Buddhlia.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Leafhead

Cool, Good to know. I love the Sphingids, too...
Up here, we have the lovely Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thisbe) who lays on Honeysuckle and nectars on just about anything, esp. Agastache and Buddhlia.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 12:50PM
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