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Breeding butterflies as alternative pollinators

 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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So it just hit me, and I haven't researched it much, but I do know that butterflies can pollinate flowers. So it hit me, how cool would it be if someone could breed butterflies as a garden pollinator. There are several reasons I think these could be good. First diversity. 2nd we could get a lot more people to go poison free by touting butterflies as a bonus than bees. 3 butterfly's could be kept in places bees can not be kept. Fourth, I think it would add a whole new level of magical feeling to a permaculture system.

So what I'm wondering is what you guys think of this. Do you think this could work? Do you know anyone who already does this?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I love the idea! We have many butterflies here but I'm planting a lot of native flowers which they prefer in order to have even more. We also have several kinds of native bees, wasps and other little pollinators who I suspect are better at pollinating than butterflies are, but I can't see any harm in planting habitat for all these guys. You never know who might show up!

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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We too have lots of butterflies, and like Tyler I plant and allow to grow lots of native flowers and domestic too. I love watching the buzz in my gardens on a sunny day from all kinds of pollenators. Did you mean actually controled breeding and not just providing habitat?
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Breed butterflies makes caterpillars and one angry gardener!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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I think they're cute. Most kinds don't eat my vegs.

My husband has been photographing butterflies lately: http://porchlizard.tumblr.com/
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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One of the many reasons to grow nettles here is that it's the sole food source of the endemic red admiral caterpillars, and they're becoming quite rare as marginal areas are 'tidied up'.
I see butterflies as a fun addition to the menagerie, but don't expect much from them pollination-wise
I try to attract bumblebees and the fly/wasp gang as my main pollinators; I usually only see a couple of honeybees a season.
 
Rich Pasto
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have you ever watched your flowerbeds and gardens? there are dozens and dozens of insects crawling and flying around that are also pollinators. Seems like many people believe only european honeybees pollinate. Where I live there are like 200 species of native bees. Plus butterflies, plus at least a dozen other species of insect that pollinate. Who needs a honeybee?
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Judith Browning wrote:We too have lots of butterflies, and like Tyler I plant and allow to grow lots of native flowers and domestic too. I love watching the buzz in my gardens on a sunny day from all kinds of pollenators. Did you mean actually controled breeding and not just providing habitat?


I was thinking of controlled breeding yes, as wild populations are outside my control to protect. As a kid I used to see butterfly's often, now even though I encourage them, they are a rare beauty. From what I've read butterflies are better for species diversity, but not as effective pollinators. Still if anyone knows of good links for this ideas would love them. Otherwise it's gonna be a ton of book work for me.
 
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