National Pollinator Week Salute to Butterflies

There are about 250 species of butterflies in Colorado, but I see more Two-Tailed Swallowtails than any other kind.

As part of National Pollinator Week, I’d like to take time today to salute butterflies.

This has been a good year for spotting butterflies in my yard, especially the beautiful Two-Tailed Swallowtails.

The ones that I’ve seen sailing through my backyard are particularly fond of landing on the roses and gathering pollen as they carefully tiptoe around each flower on their long, thin legs.

I’m not sure most people realize that butterflies aren’t only lovely to watch as they glide through the air, but they’re pollinators, too. They’re an important part of the ecosystem and when we don’t see many in the landscape it’s a signal that something may be wrong in the environment.

To make your yard more attractive to butterflies, create a landscape with food plants for both caterpillars and adult butterflies. Provide shelter from wind, like trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses and even fences.

If you’d like to plant a butterfly garden, plan it for an open and sunny area and plant a landscape of fragrant flowers that bloom throughout the summer and have tubular shaped flowers or those with wide flat rims they can use for landing.

Butterflies are able to see the full spectrum of colors and some species have favorite colors. The majority of butterflies favor purple, white, yellow, pink and blue, although they will visit orange and red flowers.

Protect butterflies by avoiding the use of insecticides or other chemicals in the garden.

I’ll be keeping my eyes out later the season to see if I can spot another Monarch as these butterflies migrate south for the winter.


 

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