Swallowtail Butterfly Drinking Sugary Nectar from a Monarda Flower

Eastern black swallowtail butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The sugar-loaded nectar that our Spicebush Swallowtail is drinking-in from this monarda flowerhead is as sweet as? Who knows? If you know please share.

The magnificent jewelry on exhibition here is not being viewed at Tiffany, Cartier’s, Sotheby’s or Christies but can be experienced at your local, county, state or national park/wildlife refuge in May, June, July & August in 2012.

All butterflies differ from one another, so not all Spicebush Swallowtails sport such fine color. But stick around such a wildflower bed, and whisssst, in will fly a bedazzler!

Gardeners! Monarda has been hybridized producing dozens of varieties. They are easy perennials. Provide good sun and well-drained soil and if they take to a spot, they may bless it for years and years and years. The yield = butterflies of many species, honeybees and hummingbirds.

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Raccoon Creek State Park’s Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on Milkweed Flowers

Spangle Fritillary butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Isn’t she beautiful? She is busily taking nectar from these milkweed flowers. My experience has been that milkweed and teasel flowers are their most prized food providers.

Great spangled fritillary females are larger than males. They spend less time flying than the males do. Males fly for long, long periods of time, looking, looking for a mate.

The sugars and other foods in the nectar must provide the energy for 20 to 30 minutes of flying. Very impressive.

Those of you lucky enough to have large lots can easily attract lots of butterflies if  you support a small stand of milkweed and teasel.

Those of you who don’t have large lots, make some time and go on a butterfly spotting hike in your local city, county, state or national refuge/park. You’ll see fantastic stuff guaranteed. April, May and June are the best = no nasty biters are about.