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Create a butterfly café

Attract beautiful butterflies to your garden or balcony with this colourful fruit and nectar feeder. They're pollinators, like bees, so they're vital for increasing biodiversity by providing food and flowers for other animals.

Butterflies have a liquid diet so they'll love the sugary liquid and juicy fruit, especially sticky, overripe banana, orange, melon, raspberry, pineapple and peach. They taste it by landing on it, using taste receptors in their feet. And they drink it up through their proboscis, a long mouthpart that's like a straw.

Your feeder might also attract wasps and hoverflies, but don't worry – they're good for the garden too!

You will need:

  • Natural string or a ball of wool

  • The ring part of a keyring

  • A plate that's fine to stay outside – like a plastic or melamine picnic plate

  • Fruit

  • Sugar

  • A coloured cloth

  • Cut six lengths of string, each about 2.5m long.

  • Hold the six threads together and fold them in half (you'll have 12 threads).

  • Push the looped end through the keyring.

  • Push the other ends through the loop. Pull tight, so your threads are attached to the keyring.

  • Separate into six strands, each made up of two threads. Knot each strand 30cm from the ring.

  • Under the knots, separate the strands into two threads again. Move the outside threads so they come together in the middle. Then bring one thread from each strand close to its neighbour to make pairs.

  • Tie knots in the new pairs – 20cm down from the last knot.

  • Measure the diameter of your plate. Measure this same amount down from your second knots, then tie all 12 threads together in one big knot.

  • Tie up your hanger in a sunny and sheltered spot.

  • Slide your plate into the hanger, with the big, single knot underneath it. Space the threads evenly around it, so it won't fall out.

  • Put some cut up pieces of fruit on the plate.

  • Next mix up a sugar solution, one part sugar to 10 parts water. Wait until the sugar has all dissolved. Then soak the cloth in the sugar solution, squeeze it out and place it on the plate.

Looking after your feeder

Remember to change or wash the plate every few days – you can change the 'sugar' cloth and put out new fruit at the same time.

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If you build a bird box in your garden or outdoor space, don’t forget to tell us! Share a photo, tag us on social media, and use the hashtag #WildlifeFriends

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Find out more about protecting wildlife in your garden

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