Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 285

Encouraging Butterflies

 

Hello Everyone

 

 

Do you like butterflies?

 

Most children do.

 

They like drawing them as well because they are so pretty and can be all the colours of the rainbow.

 

Butterflies and moths belong to the same insect family; their wings are covered in tiny scales.  Butterflies fly in the daylight and often have brightly coloured wings. 

 

Moths mostly fly in the evening but can also have spectacular patterns on their wings too.

 

The largest tropical butterflies have wings of 30cm across and the tiniest of butterflies are less than 1cm. 

 

As you already know, butterflies come from caterpillars and caterpillars hatch out of eggs that the parent butterflies lay.

 

When a caterpillar is ready to turn into a butterfly it wraps itself inside a dead-looking chrysalis and goes through a metamorphosis (change) in order to become a butterfly.  Moths come from caterpillars as well.

 

When a butterfly emerges it takes 30-120 minutes to fully dry and stretch its wings ready for flight.  These wings are not just used for flying.  The wings are also used to help warm up or cool down the butterfly as necessary.  This is called thermoregulation.

 

Each wing has a little heart in it which pumps round the invertebrate’s version of blood.  This is called haemolymph.  The heart beats a few times a minute.

 

The wings can be turned towards the Sun to collect warmth.

 

Butterflies have thinner bodies than moths and are not hairy.  Their antennae have knobs on the end.

 

Caterpillars have a habit of chomping through a lot of leaves.  They always seem to be hungry!

 

Gardeners don’t like to see caterpillars in their gardens, but actually it is only the cabbage white butterfly that eats vegetables and you can keep them off your vegetable patch by using a fine mesh.

 

The first butterflies emerge in spring and are a lovely sight to see.  The chrysalis splits and out crawls an adult butterfly.  lts wings dry and it flies away.

 

There are other butterflies that appear in mid-summer and even more that appear at the end of the summer.  Some butterflies in the world migrate over very long distances.  ln 2017, a swarm of millions of painted lady butterflies 70 miles wide was spotted on a Denver, Colorado weather radar.

 

We have over 50 species in Britain.  They live in woods and fields and gardens.

 

Some are more colourful than others but they all have pretty markings on them – and they are a pretty shape as well.

 

ln recent years, we have seen numbers of three quarters of the butterfly species drop dramatically and some species have even become extinct altogether. 

 

This is very sad. 😥 

 

And one third of the species we have is still in danger of extinction.

 

The trouble is that some species only lay their eggs on one type of plant and if that plant disappears from an area so do the butterflies.

 

They will lay their eggs on that type of plant because their caterpillars like eating it.

 

Seven species of butterflies, including red admirals and peacocks, lay their eggs on nettles, and because nettles are quite plentiful, you will see these species around quite often.  Other butterflies are a lot fussier.

 

Some like laying their eggs in trees.  The purple hairstreak lays its eggs on oak trees.  Brown and black hairstreaks like blackthorn.

 

This is why creating wildlife corridors is so important.  lf a butterfly loses the plants it likes to lay eggs on in one place, it can move to another place, eating food along the way as it moves down these corridors.

 

Butterflies respond very quickly to change.   Their numbers go up and down according to the weather and the availability of food.

 

So now, l expect you are wondering what you can do to help butterflies.

 

You probably don’t want to grow huge clumps of stinging nettles in your garden. 

 

But there are lots of pretty flowers that they love to eat from.

 

They love to eat nectar from small flowers that grow in clusters or spikes.

 

Butterflies taste their food with their feet and have a long mouth tube that they uncoil in order to suck nectar from a flower.

 

The favourite one is any type of buddleia and the second favourite is verbena bonariensis.  Both are very easy for children to grow.

 

Another plant they like is called the chaste tree.  lt has very pretty pointed, purple flowers.

 

They also like: lavender, marjoram, Michaelmas daisies, marigolds, mint, thyme, ivy, honeysuckle, forget-me-nots, dandelions, wallflowers, primroses, pansies, hydrangeas, sweet Williams, daisies, nasturtiums, cornflowers, clover, bluebells, buttercups, pinks, violets, buttercups and many more besides.

 

A lot of these flowers can be grown easily from seed that you can buy in packets.

 

Foxgloves, thistles and bird’s foot trefoil are just three of the flowers important to caterpillars.  Bird’s foot trefoil is a little yellow flower that is found in amongst grass.

 

lf you have a very small garden, you can grow flowers in pots.

 

Not all butterflies feed from pretty flowers though. 

 

The Purple Emperor feeds from fox scat (poo) or other animal droppings, aphids (greenflies) or fermenting sap from trees like oaks.

 

This sap is like an alcoholic drink that sometimes makes them drunk and they start fighting!

 

So some butterflies will be found in woodland rather than open grassland or flower gardens.

 

But growing flowers to help butterflies is a lovely hobby to have.

 

Then when you see butterflies dancing in a summer sky, you might think that they are there because of something you did.

 

 

Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

 

Love and kisses

 

 

Salty Sam

heart

www.christina-sinclair.com

 

 

 

Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke

 

Bill:  A man walks into a doctor’s surgery and says, “l think l am turning into a butterfly!”

 

Bob:  And the doctor says?

 

Bill:  He says, “Stop flitting about so that l can examine you!”

 

 

Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com

 

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Picture Gallery

 

Goliath birdwing butterfly

 

The purple hairstreak butterfly

(butterfly-conservation.org)

 

Bird’s foot trefoil

 

 

 

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 desk    THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESKdesk

 coffee

 

Sometimes Emily’s mother calls her a butterfly because she flits from one thing to another.  She told her she needs to get herself organized.

The first thing she needs to do is finish the holiday homework Miss Pringle set her to do before she forgets.

 

 

So Emily bought herself a planner with her pocket money and she absolutely loves it.

She has decorated it with lots of little pictures and stickers and then she made some clips to keep in it as book markers.

She can makes notes about all the things she has to do and all the things she wants to buy.

 

 

Emily firmly believes that when she goes back to school in the autumn she will be a changed person!

 

NEWSDESK MINIMAKE

PLANNER MARKERS

 

Cut two butterfly shapes out of felt.

Embroider a pattern onto the top of one.

Sew the two shapes together in the centre and incorporate a paper clip at the back as you do so.

You could use other small shapes if you prefer.

 

 

 

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Quick Quiz

 

You don’t have to have a garden in which to grow plants.  You can grow plants in containers even if you just have a little courtyard or a balcony.

Can you answer the following questions about container gardening?

 

  1. Why should you never put pot plants outside on your window sill?
  2. Why is it better to use plastic pots and troughs on a balcony than terracotta pots?
  3. Why should you use water-retaining gel in your containers?
  4. Why should you not use compost from your compost heap in containers?
  5. Why should you not use builder’s sand in plant containers to improve drainage?

 

 

 

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lt’s the Weekend!

 

 

HOW TO MAKE A FRlENDLY CATERPlLLAR

This caterpillar is made using garter stitch. 

Carry the light green yarn up the side of the dark green stripes as you knit – don’t cut your yarn each time you finish a light green stripe

Cut the dark green yarn each time you finish a dark green stripe leaving at least one length of 20cm/8 inches because you will need these lengths to pull in the body later (tie the two ends of yarn together if you like in order to keep them secure)

 

The whole toy is knitted in one piece.

 

CATERPILLAR (KNIT ONE)

 

TAIL

 

Using 4mm knitting needles and light green yarn cast on 4 stitches

Knit 1 row

Increase at the beginning of every row until you have 14 stitches on your needle

Knit 4 rows in garter stitch

 

BODY

 

Change to dark green dk yarn

Knit 4 rows in garter stitch

Change to light green dk yarn

Knit 12 rows in garter stitch

 

Change to dark green dk yarn

Knit 4 rows in garter stitch

Change to light green dk yarn

Knit 12 rows in garter stitch

 

Change to dark green dk yarn

Knit 4 rows in garter stitch

Change to light green dk yarn

Knit 12 rows in garter stitch

 

NECK

 

Change to dark green dk yarn

Knit 4 rows in garter stitch

 

HEAD

 

Change to light green dk yarn

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Increase at each end of the next row

Knit 1 row of garter stitch

 

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Increase at each end of the next row

Knit 1 row of garter stitch (18sts)

 

Knit 12 rows of garter stitch

 

Don’t cast off

Cut off your yarn leaving a length long enough to sew up the bottom seam of the entire body

 

TO MAKE UP

  1. Pull in the face and secure the yarn then use it to sew along the bottom of the body with right sides together using over-sew stitching until you get to the stripe at the top of the tail
  2. Leave your longer lengths of green yarn on the outside of the body and the shorter ones on the inside as you go
  3. Turn the caterpillar the right way out and stuff
  4. Sew up the tail from the outside using over-sew stitching
  5. Bind around the dark green stripes twice with the yarn that you left for the purpose and secure and neaten the ends
  6. Embroider on a face – the eyes are French knots made with the yarn wrapped three times around your yarn needle
  7. Not all caterpillars have ‘horns’ but cartoon ones seem to, so if you want them on your caterpillar, crochet 7 chains into a length of dark green yarn and leave enough yarn each end to put a French knot at the top and sew them into the head with the yarn left at the bottom of your chain
  8. Neaten all your ends

 

You could make some butterfly wings out of felt if you like and tie them onto his back!

 

 

Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

 

 

Quick Quiz Answers

 

  1. Why should you never put pot plants outside on your window sill? – Because they might fall onto somebody’s head.  lf you want to put window boxes on window sills, they must be secured properly.
  2. Why is it better to use plastic pots and troughs on a balcony than terracotta pots? – Because balconies are windy places and the roots of plants dry out more slowly when they are in plastic pots.  Plastic is less porous than terracotta.
  3. Why should you use water-retaining gel in your containers? – They help to retain moisture.  Plants kept in pots usually need to be watered more than plants that are in the ground.
  4. Why should you not use compost from your compost heap in containers? – Compost made in a garden compost heap has lots of bacterial life that is good for the garden but can multiply to toxic levels when confined to a pot.
  5. Why should you not use builder’s sand in plant containers to improve drainage? – Builder’s sand is good for sand pits but not for plants.  lt has a fine grade and clumps together which does not help drainage.  Also it contains salts and minerals that are not good for plants.

 

 

 

For an Embroidery Stitches Chart

Check out Blog Post 3

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