Thanks for sack of rotting fruit!

molanic(Zone 5 IL)April 18, 2012

I never would have thought to try this until I saw people on here posting about it. There have been a lot of red admirals around lately and so I thought I would try it for the first time since they supposedly like it. I grabbed some mushy apple and pear cores out of my compost bucket, threw them in a mesh bag, and hung it up. Within ten minutes there was a red admiral on it, and not long after this guy showed up. I had to get some photos to see if it was a comma or question mark. It was a question mark, the first of the year and not super common for me. It stayed there for a good half hour. I thought it might be stuck, but it wasn't. It was just really enjoying itself. So much so that I was able put my camera within two inches of it to get some photos.

So thank you all for the great idea. For anyone that hasn't tried rotting fruit yet... give it a try.

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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Oh how wonderful!! YEP, that rotten fruit is da bomb!! You get to see so many butterflies that you otherwise would not have. Terrific! Congrats.~~Angie

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Tony G(5a)

Our set-ups look nearly identical! I hung the red netting on a shepherds hook. I just used rotten bananas and doused them in gatorade. I also attracted some sort of punctuation mark...but I thought it was a comma after looking at my audubon book. Curiously, there are lots of red admirals around but they have been passing it by.

They were nectaring from a flowering bush of the neighbors though and I've heard they have been nectaring like crazy on blossoming trees. from everything I've witnessed the admirals love nectar flowers! Tony

Here is a link that might be useful: Comma or ? sucking up rotten bananas

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:45PM
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jibd(6)

Just curious, do you dispose of the entire bag or just the contents when it gets too rotted?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:50PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Yes, the rotting fruit, dung, tree sap feeding butterflies are quickly drawn to these kinds of set ups! A great one, Molanic!

I have gotten RAs, QMs, Hackberry and Tawny Emperors, Mourning Cloaks, and even Nessus Sphinx moths! Red Spotted Purples are also attracted, but I don't get them in the city.

Susan

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:13AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Wow! That's great! All I've ever gotten from rotting fruit is flies, but I'll have to try it again!

Sherry

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:20AM
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Tony G(5a)

jibd, I throw away the entire bag. That netting usually comes with oranges, cuties, and probably other fruits/veggies. I guess if you don't buy those items regularly rinsing off the bag would work fine. Tony

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:21PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Do you get squirrels? I wanted to hang it but don't want any more squirrels in my yard.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 9:46AM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

That question mark ended up spending most of the day at the fruit and was completely oblivious to my presence. I kind of felt bad, like maybe I should try to get it into a 12 step program! I'm going to try putting out some more concoctions in different locations now. The neighbors already think we're weird anyways. So what's a few more bags of stinky rotting stuff hanging around :)

I haven't noticed the squirrels showing any interest yet. I think they prefer fresh stuff, rather than stuff that is already fermenting. They take peaches from the neighbors tree, and I regularly find half eaten ones that still look pretty fresh in our yard.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Tony G(5a)

squirrels didn't bother my set up either. we are supposed to have a warm last week of April so I am going to try putting out some more on Sunday.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 4:17PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I use suet feeders and stuff rotting fruit in them and hang them. I do coat the wire hangar with Vaseline so that ants don't get in the fruit mess.

I wanted to point out that if you hang them close to your hummer feeders, the fruit attracts tiny insects such as fruit flies, etc., for the hummers protein diet as well. So your fruit feeder is actually serving a dual purpose - feeding butterflies and hummingbirds!

Susan

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:39AM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

Great idea about the fruit flies. I was planning on moving the fruit to a new location anyways and now I know the perfect spot. I had just hung it were it was convenient at the time. Then I realized it was right next to a birdhouse that will be in use soon. The birds probably would have loved the room service... a bunch of drunken butterflies right outside their box!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:48AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Does it need to be in the sun? At what point is it too disgusting for the bf's and needs to be thrown away? Does it matter what kind of fruit it is?

Deanna

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:41AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Deanna, it does not need to be in the sun. Mine is hanging from a sort of attached pergola next to my honeysuckle "tree". Hummers love this type of cover that they can retreat to in order to stand sentinel to their feeders, lol! It is also about approx. 8' from my False Nettle patch (larval host plant for Red Admirals, which use the feeder, too).

I use suet feeders for birds, those wire cage-like contraptions that hold blocks of suet??? I stuff fruit in it. Actually "disgusting fruit", in the process of rotting, decomposition literally. is what you want to feed them. They are much less drawn to the fruit you and I would eat. Eventually, the fruit just kind of dries out, or dehydrates, and I replace it. Very easy to do.

While IMHO bananas work best, I have used other fruit, too. Apples, oranges, pears, cherries, grapes, canteloupe, you name it. If I don't think it is quite "rotten" enough, I'll put it in a sealed plastic bag in the sun for a day. The ethylene gases go to work further decomposing the fruit. I have also heard you can put it in the freezer for a day, bring it out to thaw the next day and it will have done the same thing.

Hope this helps!

Susan

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:13AM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I didn't think to ask how high from the ground to hang it?

Deanna

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:12AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Mine hangs about 6 or 7' above the ground.

Susan

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:22PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

Just an update...the mourning cloaks like it too. I never had them before, now there have been a couple out there regularly. I think I'm going to keep putting it out all summer now. I just set aside some clear containers to put the fruit scraps in so I can monitor how "juicy" it is getting. When it is good and juicy I put it out for them. When it dries out I just chuck it in the compost bin. How much easier can it get!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 6:54PM
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Tony G(5a)

nice! I haven't had much luck since my first comma. Susanlynne, I bought a suet feeder like you suggested....LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Looks much better than the netting and it's easy to clean.

I am going to put it up every once in awhile when i have rotten fruit. Right now the garden art is hanging instead :) Tony

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:49PM
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