Jeanne Grunert is a freelance writer, blogger and book author from south central Virginia. Her books include "Plan and Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden" and many others, available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. Learn more about Jeanne, her books and her garden at


Water for Wildlife
by Jeanne Grunert - posted 07/15/16

It's been hot where I live here in south central Virginia, and I'm guessing that it's pretty hot where you are, too. During the hot weather, our butterfly and bee friends need water, too.


Butterflies obtain moisture from nectar, the liquid found inside flowers that they sip for energy. But they also need water. If you've ever seen butterflies landing on a mud puddle or a patch of wet gravel, you've seen something that researchers call "puddling" behavior. They aren't sure why butterflies do it, but the assumption is that they're seeking both water and minerals found in the mud or sandy patches they love.


During the hot months, a bird bath, butterfly puddler, or some shallow dishes of water set out during the heat of the day are much appreciated by wildlife. I live in a rural area where there are creeks, streams and farm ponds, but I still put out small water elements in my garden to help the wildlife. If you live in the urban or suburban areas outside of Alexandria, Richmond, Charlottesville or Roanoake, I bet the local wildlife would really appreciate a sip or two!


Of course, you don't want to also set out the welcome mat for mosquitoes, so do make sure that the you refill the bird bath or water elements daily, or include one of those disks found at garden centers that are said to keep mosquitoes from ponds and birdbaths. Check the label; most are safe to use around bees, butterflies and wildlife.


It's hot outside. We all need water. Why not provide some for our wild friends, too? They do so much for us in the garden, pollinating plants and helping nature provide us with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Let's do our part to help them when their habitat doesn't provide enough water for their needs due to human construction and habitation.


Here ais an example a of water element in my garden:

A butterfly "puddler" I made from an old piece of rebar stuck in the ground, and an empty wine bottle put on top. I glued a cheap dollar store glass plate on top and added glass beads from the dollar store. Water poured on top makes a unique butterfly puddle for bees and butterflies:
































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