Combat

Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

Butterflies

Butterflies inspire wonder and fire our imaginations. Beyond their delicate beauty and ethereal colors, butterflies are simply amazing in ways few people understand. For example, did you know butterflies taste with their feet? When the insects land on plants, they drum the leaves with their tiny feet to release the tasty plant juices. Little spines on the legs, called chemoreceptors identify the plant sugars and tell the butterfly if the plant is edible. Butterflies eat the liquid nectar through their proboscis, which is a mouthpart shaped like a drinking straw.

Speaking of the proboscis, when a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, the first thing they do is assemble their mouthpart. It is in two pieces and the butterfly must work the parts into a single food delivery system or death will result. In addition to drinking nectar with the proboscis, the butterfly will also “puddle,” or sip water from mud puddles. The minerals and salts in the mud act as a supplement to the butterfly’s diet.

Nature’s “flying flowers” love warm temperatures. The cold-blooded critters need a body temperature of 85°F to fly. If the air temp is not that high, a butterfly will shiver or bask in the sun. Butterflies cannot fly at all when it is below 55°F, leaving them vulnerable to predators. However, butterflies have many tricks that allow them to survive. Some fold up their wings when they are grounded so they blend into the background. Others wave their blazingly colored wings like flags because many species of bright colored insects are poisonous and predators avoid them. Butterflies aren’t toxic but by mimicking foul-tasting bugs, the creatures ensure their survival.

Adult butterflies only live 2 to 4 weeks. Little blues might only live a few days, while butterflies which survive winter, like monarchs and mourning cloaks, live about 9 months. Like most creatures, a butterfly lives for food and sex.

Butterflies see plants, and each other, not as bright colors but as ultraviolet light. Whenever they flutter by butterflies of the opposite sex, the ultraviolent lights serves as a billboard that says “mate with me.” Considering that they taste with their feet and sip from mud puddles, butterflies are some of the most elegant and precious of nature’s creatures.