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Red Admiral Butterfly

Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
Thu, May 3, 12 at 18:31

never seen so many of these butterflys in past years any know if they are a threat to the apples like OFM ?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Red Admiral Butterfly

I don't think Red Admirals are a threat to fruit trees of any kind, unless they partake of any ripe fruit that falls from the tree and begins to ferment on the ground.

Red Admirals lay their eggs on nettles and the resulting caterpillars use the nettles as their main (possibly exclusive?) food source. The adult butterflies are principally nectar sippers. I have quite a few who are enjoying my blooming globe alliums right now.

I am not sure why there are so many Red Admirals this year, but hopefully it is good news. Just enjoy the pretty butterflies! :-)

RE: Red Admiral Butterfly

The red admiral caterpillars are partial to nettles and hops.

Any sap coming out of pruning or other tree wounds will attract the butterfly.

The sudden increase in a population of butterflies is called an "irruption" and occurs every few years to decades (unlike the Monarch butterfly annual migration). Southern Ontario, next to you, is enjoying the same outbreak. It is typical for genus Vanessa butterflies to go through these cycles (certain admirals, painted lady, etc.).
Science has not pinned down the reason.

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