Butterfly Bumble: If Butterflies Were On a Dating App

April 27, 2018

By: Barb Holtz

If you're familiar with the dating scene these days, you'll know words like Bumble, Hinge and OK! Cupid. Far from what I remember, finding that forever someone involves, you guessed it, social media and a phone screen. Swipe this way or that if someone tickles your fancy.

What if butterflies could scan the internet for yards with promised plants rather than simply flitting about? Butterflies and other insects not only require a mate, but a nursery, a specific nursery. In the case of butterflies, caterpillars often have specific food requirements. Monarch and Milkweed, Pearl Crescent and Asters, Great Spangled Fritillary and violets - a snapshot of what some would look for in a landscape's profile picture and bio.

The Monarch/Milkweed relationship tops the list of symbiotic relationships familiar to most. Without the milky sap to ingest, Monarch caterpillars cannot thrive. If Milkweed becomes extinct, so do Monarchs. Specialists like the Monarch are troubled as habitat declines along with an abundance of Milkweed. Monarchs only "date" one kind of plant. Other butterflies play the field, finding companionship in a more general pool. Red-spotted Purple Butterflies deposit eggs on a variety of tree species such as Wild Black Cherry, Poplars and Oaks.

While child rearing possibilities top the list when scouting a relationship with a habitat or yard so are drink options. A variety of blooms offering desired nectar would increase the chance of a date. Butterflies lean toward the familiar restaurant rather than branching out their dining experience. Native flowers offer familiar and nutritious nectar unlike non-native alternatives.

Put your yard on the butterfly and bee map with a variety of native forbs as well as woody plants. Just imagine, your landscape, the "in" place for an insect party!

Monarch on Common Milkweed
Tiger Swallowtail nectaring on Purple Coneflower