Jeanner, the rotted fruit really works!

bob_71(z7 MD)September 17, 2010

Until I saw your mass display of butterflies, I had never tried enticing the butterflies with fruit. I used one of the large wire suet feeders and filled it about one-third full. The older it got, the more other insects were drawn to it. Fairly soon, the Red-Spotted Purple showed up followed fairly quickly by the Red Admiral and a couple of days later, the Question Mark showed up. All three of these have become regular guests and the Common Buckeye now stops by infrequently. The greatest number of butterflies feeding on the feeder at one time has been five. I attribute the fruit with giving the butterflies cause to remain on the bait even when I get up close and utilize the flash. I would like to share a top view and an underside view of each of the three new butterflies (new for me).

Bob

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

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runmede(7a Virginia)

If you really want to entice them, try Dole Mix Cherry fruit cups, in a large saucer--elevated. They are really drawn to this. But, this also draws in the bees, wasps, flies, and hornets.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 6:51PM
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weed30

I am so jealous! I tried this by putting out some watermelon and a cut up peach. My results:

Flies
Ants
Two unidentified black bugs
One moth

After the second day, all of the peach pieces were gone, and tonight when I got home from work, the watermelon pieces had been mostly dragged out of the dish and something ate all the pink parts and left the rind.

I guess I'm happy there were no yellow jackets.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:00PM
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siam_cannas(13)

Beautiful pics :)
Siam.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:18PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Unless you protect your fruit, Weed30, you will have to tolerate thievery! LOL! That's why a few of us use the suet feeders for birds and hang them.

Congrats, Bob, and beautiful pics of your visitors!

Susan

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 9:02PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

The suet cage is a great idea! I think the fermenting fruit makes them a little tipsy and not so camera shy.

I wonder what the lady bug is doing in there though!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 10:25PM
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gldno1

jeanner, I agree about the tipsy.

Mine seemed to prefer bananas and peaches. I never thought about the suet cage. My tree stump was pretty tall and nothing else bothered the fruit. I did have lots of wasps and flies.

They are great shots, much closer than I was able to get.
Thanks for posting the detailed pics for us.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:35AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Glenda, my suet cage does double duty. When the butterflies leave, I clean and disinfect the cage and use it for the winter birds.

I have little problem with the wasps on my fruit. Maybe because there is too much other food in the garden, like caterpillars! Yuck!

I sometimes get a Nessus Sphinx that loves the fruit feeder, too, and they are so much fun to watch.

Susan

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 7:36AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Bob, Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! They bring me a lot of joy. Do you mind sharing which camera you are shooting with? I have always felt that the wonderful shots are partly due to the type of camera, but mostly due to good instincts and innate abilities. Like you, I have not had good luck with fruit until this season. It's because of the people on this forum and their tips that I am finally having a butterfly fruit bonanza at my house. I think that my biggest problem in the past was that I didn't realize that the fruit needs to be kept moist. In the heat of this summer, it takes a little effort to accomplish that! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 8:46AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

If you're using a LARGE suet cage, the Dole-type fruit cups will actually squeeze inside and help to keep them upright. In the photos above, the first Question Mark photo shows such a cup in the background. The butterflies consumed half a cup in about a day and a half! Mine was an applesauce mix. Photographs will be a bit more difficult with a cup inside, because that is where the butterflies will be...inside. This means that you will need to catch them as they arrive or when they depart.

Bandjzmom, I use a Canon 40D SLR camera and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens almost exclusively. I think the fact that I use a tripod almost 100% of the time contributes much to the sharpness of some of my photos. When shooting pictures of creatures that are as small as butterflies and that are often very skittish, it is inevitable that many (read-most) are shot at greater distances than desired. This is where the camera equipment, editing software and expertise become extremely important. Incidentally, using the tripod while chasing butterflies creates the need for flexibility of usage...sometimes it becomes a monopod and others a bipod but, for me, it provides that extra stability that helps to reduce the inherent "camera shake".

Thanks for all your kind remarks.

Bob

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 9:46AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Thanks Bob re the camera type info. I am absolutely and postively ASTONISHED by the capture of the colors on the wings of the Red Admiral in that cup.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:32PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

Beautiful pictures Bob! I love the iridescence!

I have been reading studies on nectar. Some plants produce nicotine,caffeine, and opiates in their nectar. These compounds are toxins but Scientists are also looking at if pollinators become addicted to those chemicals like we do! So, I wouldn't be suprised if the butterflies are a little (maybe a lot!) drunk on rotted fruit, LOL.

Cheers,
Elisabeth

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:07PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

It does seem like they are drunk Elisabeth. I notice that mine will perch on the house and the gutters around the area of the fruit after feeding. It's almost like they are sleeping it off! I had a Hackberry Emperor land right next to me on a butterfly bush yesterday, and I was actually able to touch the butterfly. It didn't even move. I assume that it had just been feeding on the fruit out back.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 7:13AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

This Red-spotted Purple had just moved away from the "fruit bowl" and made it as far as this board. If you look closely, it is resting it's belly flat on the board with it's legs just laying out beside. The legs are giving no support. It made no attempt to move away when it was touched nor did it open it's wings during the time I watched.

Bob

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 10:04AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

My 'fruit bowl" has continued to attract other butterflies. The following are the add-ons to the above list. The Mourning Cloak is the only one I have ever knowingly seen so even the "grungy" and badly worn specimen was appreciated. It seems that all those that have fed on the rotting fruit also demonstrate perching characteristics different from the other butterflies...they frequently perch on the ground and about ten feet up on the trunk of a mature oak. Thanks for looking.

Bob

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Red Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 10:21AM
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tracey_nj6(6)

OMG, I'm floored; your pics are amazing!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 1:50PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Astonishing photographs Bob! Gosh, it makes me happy to look at them. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 4:42PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

Sometimes, I add a little dark rum or dark beer. A fruit offering is like butterflies visiting a bar. The more the fruit is fermented the better they like it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 9:27AM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

great pictures!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 12:51AM
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atd_oc

Wow, I am new to this forum and happy to have discovered it.
The pictures are fabulous.

I have just been thrilled and delighted that an accidental milk weed has delivered many Monarch's into my back yard.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 1:02AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

For some time, now, I have had the pleasure of enjoying the company of a large (1") beautiful yellow hornet dining on my fruit feeder. I have him during 24 hours of the day (may be several different ones but I have never had more than one at a time). This is the European Hornet (Vespa crabro), I believe. This one is a sot also...often when I scare him, he tries to fly away and falls to the ground unable even to fly!

Bob

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:21AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Great shots Bob!

I keep forgetting to contain my fruit in the evenings and the friendly neighborhood possum has been raiding it.

I have yet to have a red-banded hairstreak :(

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:53PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Terrific shots of the hornet Bob! I just had one of them visiting my fruit. I don't recall having seen one ever before. I was struck by the SIZE of it. It was HUGE in comparison to the wasps on the fruit. I was also impressed by the colors and patterns.So many insects are so beautiful if you only take a minute to really look.~~Angie

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 6:45AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

That's a gorgeous hornet, Bob! I have all kinds of wasps and bees on the Asters right now. Things I never see until Autumn arrives.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 2:09PM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

He looks drunk! I love how his abdomen is resting on the cup. Like he's leaning on the bar!

Great as usual,
Elisabeth

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 2:12PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Reminder about a great way to attract butterflies.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 1:30AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

I miss Bob and his lovely photos--this thread shows some of the beauties he shared with us.

Sandy

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 9:43AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

Sandy, I appreciate your kind words!

At my age, navigating the internet doesn't come easy. Seems like every time I get to a point where I can handle a site moderately well, the site "commanders" decide that it needs "updating". This site included! So I, basically just eavesdrop without participating.

I am doing about as well as most people of my age...80 now.

I still have an adequate butterfly/insect garden that is primarily a result of self-seeding from earlier plants...lots of Brazilian Verbena, Bronze Fennel, Joe Pye Weed, Common Milkweed, Mint, Boneset. Still have eight varieties of Buddleia. Take lots of pictures and just received ten yards of hardwood mulch to spread. Still shoot lots of photos...mostly pictures of/and about nature.

Thanks for your concern!

Bob

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 5:36PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Great photo! Good to see you back.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 6:20PM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

I appreciate your comments, butterflymomok.

Bob

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 6:53PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I must have missed this thread the first time around, but have greatly enjoyed it. It is fascinating to see how much the insects love the rotting fruit. I remember seeing a show on Animal Planet or somewhere, about how insects and even some mammals (monkeys I think it was) will raid alcoholic drinks hanging around an outdoor bar. Apparently they enjoy the intoxicating effects as much as many humans do.

Your photos are beautiful Bob, and glad to hear you still have a butterfly garden to enjoy. :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:26AM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

Hi Bob!
Glad to see your post. I have been wondering when I would get to see one of your photos. Nice shot of a fiery skipper.
Cheers,
Elisabeth

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 7:16PM
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