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How To Make A Butterfly Jar Feeder

Making a butterfly feeder is a quick, fun activity that can add a splash of color to your garden and, more importantly, attracts and supports these essential pollinators. Plus, if you have kids, butterflies provide great educational opportunities. A do-it-yourself butterfly feeder is a simple project that helps to feed Wisconsin native butterflies.

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Butterfly Jar Feeder

Butterfly jar feeder

A butterfly water feeder is quick and easy to make and works by keeping a sponge wet with butterfly nectar (aka sugar water).

1. Puncture a hole in the jar's lid.

Using the hammer and nail, punch a small hole through the center of the jar’s lid. Use a medium-thick nail, as you'll need to thread a strip of sponge through the hole in the next step.

2. Insert the sponge.

Take a sponge and cut a half-inch-long strip. Thread this roughly halfway through the hole you made in the jar lid. Make sure it's a snug fit; otherwise, when you add the butterfly nectar, it'll run out past the sponge and make a sticky mess in the garden.

Tip: Add some water to the jar and replace the lid. Tip it upside down over the sink and give it a gentle shake. If it drips, the sponge is too small, and you'll need to cut a bigger piece and re-test.

3. Decorate your jar.

Butterfly jar feeder Decorating the feeder isn't just about making it look pretty; it's about attracting butterflies. Do this by using bright colors and, ideally, large, vibrant faux flowers to entice the butterflies to your feeder.

Tip: Adult butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, orange, pink and purple colored flowers.

4. Make butterfly nectar.

Butterfly nectar is just a simple sugar solution, and it's super-easy to make. Put a saucepan on the stovetop and add one part granulated sugar to four parts water. If you're concerned that this is too rich in sugar, then dilute it a little more — up to 9 parts water to one part sugar.

Turn on the stove and bring the pan to a boil. As soon as the sugar fully dissolves, remove the solution from the heat and set it aside to cool.

Tip: You can also make butterfly water using honey. Simply dissolve one part honey in four parts warm (not hot) water and use as you would the sugar solution.

5. Make the jar feeder hangar.

Tie a length of string around the neck of the jar, above the shoulder but below the threads. Cut 2 pieces of string, each around 2-feet long. Take one of these 2-foot lengths and tie it around the string around the jar neck. Tie the other end on the opposite side, making a loop. This makes the first half of the hanger.

Repeat this with the remaining piece, tying it at 90° from the other piece so that you've got 2 loops, each tied at a different quarter-point around the neck of the jar. Cut a small piece of string and tie the top of the two loops together, creating an easy, secure hanger.

6. Fill the butterfly jar feeder.

Once the butterfly food is cool, add it to your jar. Screw on the lid tightly and, standing over the sink, tip it upside down and let it hang from the hanger for a few seconds to make sure it's not leaking.

6. Hang the butterfly jar feeder.

Take the butterfly feeding station outside and find somewhere to hang it. Remember, though, that sugar water attracts other bugs as well as hummingbirds, so don't put them too close to your house. Ideally, you want it to stand out from the rest of your plants, so try placing it at least a foot above your tallest flowers.

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