Living With Butterfly Hosts

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral Butterfly

Butterflies can live in urban areas, if the area is suitably planted. Gardeners will plant both hosts of the caterpillar and nectar producing flowers to encourage butterflies. However, some caterpillar hosts may not be desirable in small butterfly gardens. This includes Urtica dioica aka “stinging nettles” a plant that originated in Europe and has become widespread in North America. Urtica dioica is the preferred host of the Red Admiral and several other butterfly species. The stinging nettles can produce a rash and an allergic reaction in sensitive people. They are not recommended for this reason. Nettles are common in open fields and can do well in disturbed abandoned areas. Nettles growing in these “out-of-the-way” urban sites can serve as sites for caterpillars and enhance the urban butterfly population.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Butterfly Hosts

  1. Pingback: Living With Butterfly Hosts | Entomo Planet

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