Butterflies! When I hear that word, I shudder in fear. I have a phobia of butterflies and moths. Whenever I see one, I get panicky. I don’t really know why. The main reason why I am writing this article is that I want to let go of my fears and move forward.
During my research, I found out that butterflies are insects with large scaly wings and they are very beautiful. They are harmless creatures and can live anywhere in the entire world except Antarctica. The first butterfly fossil was recorded over 450 million years ago. We can find butterflies in areas that are abundant in green areas; since I live in greenery very close to the sea, I have several butterflies visiting my home.
If butterflies went extinct?
Butterflies live on an all-liquid diet. They drink nectar out of from flowers and also consume tree sap. Have you noticed, we rarely see butterflies in cities? We don’t see them because there are very few trees, there is lots of pollution and we have very few gardens or parks.
This is why we should grow flowering plants in our balconies, gardens and open spaces. Without butterflies, none of us would able to survive. Butterflies are one of the main pollinators for most of the crops around the world. If butterflies went extinct, we wouldn’t have any food to survive. This is why we should save them before it is too late.
Why do we need to save butterflies?
Here are some of the things you can do to save butterflies and see them in the open spaces:
- Don’t use pesticides in your plants and start planting milkweed and nectar plants in your balconies or gardens.
- You could put a plate or bowl of fresh water in your balcony or garden so the butterflies can drink water.
- One of the main reasons why butterflies are rarely found in busy parts of the city is because of the rising noise levels.
- Even air pollution causes lots of damage to the butterflies.
- That’s why we should plant more trees and use our cars lesser.
What are butterfly gardens?
Have you considered butterfly gardening? it is such a brilliant concept I came to know of. Butterfly gardening is a practice to help butterflies, save their population, see them and study them. If you have a backyard, a garden or an open space, you can create a butterfly garden. Creating a butterfly garden requires tons of research and planning. It’s a perfect thing to do to save our butterfly population and also enjoy and observe them.
Here are some easy tips and steps for your very own butterfly garden:
- Make a list of different types of butterflies you would like to attract. The butterflies should be local to your area. Some common butterflies of India are the Blue Apollo and the Common Mormon.
- All of the plants that you are growing should be native to your area. Research on the plants you need.
- Check out with a local plant nursery or a gardener about getting these plants and flowers. You can add some butterfly accessories such as a butterfly house which keeps birds away and protects the butterflies from wind and weather.
- You have to provide food for the butterflies and water the plants daily. You can call people to see your butterfly garden or you make it a personal one.
Raghuvendra Rajadhyaksha is an amateur butterfly gardener. He lives in Khar, Mumbai and he has his own butterfly home garden. He rears caterpillars, moths and butterflies. You can check out his page on Facebook to see tons of plants and flowers that are home to different types of butterflies and moths. There is another butterfly garden in Thane called Ovlekar Wadi Butterfly Garden. It is a botanical farm and has many species of butterflies.
My newfound respect for butterflies
I was amazed to learn that these colourful insects are older than humans; they are more than 450 to 500 million years old. They do not have a mouth and can taste and smell with their feet and have transparent wings. I had no idea that butterflies crave salt; when I was discussing butterflies with my friend Daanya Purohit an avid wildlife blogger, she shared a very interesting fact with me. As Daanya knows a lot about butterflies; it is through her I came to know that male butterflies crave salt and they consume the salt through salt minerals. Amazing, isn’t it?
Writing this article has broadened my mind. I have learnt a lot about butterflies and their behaviour. While I am still scared of them but now I have a newfound respect for butterflies. Without these beautiful creatures, we wouldn’t able to survive. I think now is the time we should host butterfly workshops even if they’re online and raise awareness about butterfly conservations.
Contributor: Kavya Mehta
About our Writing Program Student
Kavya Mehta is a 13-year-old girl 7th grader from Mumbai who loves reading, writing stories and listening to music. She also loves learning new languages and knowing about the countries of the world. Kavya takes a keen interest in reading about mental health, she plays the violin and enjoys spending time with cats and dogs!