How to Attract Butterflies To Your Hand


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Butterflies are stunningly beautiful creatures that we never get tired of seeing. There is certainly nothing quite like having a butterfly come to land on you directly, either! If you’re learning how to attract butterflies to your hand, you likely have a few questions.

Provided you smell nice, are gentle, and move slowly, you can easily encourage a butterfly to sit on your hand – and in this guide, we’ll take a look at how you can do just that.

Whether you are planning on visiting a butterfly house, taking some photos, or would like to get to know the creatures in your own wild yard, here are a few tricks for getting the butterflies to come to you. 

How can I attract butterflies to come to my hand?

The first thing to understand is that you will need to be ‘appealing’ to your local butterflies. So, just as you would hold out a treat for a dog, you should also make yourself seem inviting for a butterfly. 

You can start by wearing brightly colored clothes – yes, really! Ideally, you will want to look and smell as much like a flower as possible.

Your smell will also play a big role in attracting a butterfly. So, if you have any sweet perfumes, creams, or oils, then consider wearing them to encourage butterflies towards you. 

Then, you will need to provide a treat to make it worth the butterfly’s while. Some people find that putting a bit of sugar water on your hands is enough for a butterfly to come and stay on you for a while. 

In fact, you may also find that rubbing your hands in a popular butterfly flower will encourage them to visit you. A word of warning – you must be careful not to handle flowers that are likely to cause irritation or allergy.

Butterflies love hydrangeas, for example – but studies conducted in France suggest that they can cause skin allergies, even if rare.

Finally, with the idea of looking and smelling like a flower, you should also move like a flower, too! A butterfly is less likely to land on you if you are constantly moving about, or if you make erratic movements. Instead, sit still and wait for them to find you. 

Is there an easier way to attract butterflies to my hand?

If you would like to make friends with a butterfly a little faster, then there is an easier way of doing things. 

First, you will need to locate a butterfly on a flower. Approach it slowly so as not to scare it. Since butterfly predators mostly come from above and behind, approach the butterfly from in front of it and slowly lift your hand from underneath towards its feet. 

Then, let your hand sit next to the butterfly for a while before putting it underneath the butterfly’s feet. If you want to carry it away, then you might want to cover your hand with the other, softly, ensuring that you leave big enough gaps for it to be able to breathe. 

The most important thing to remember is that you must respect when the butterfly wants to fly away – just let it. They are very fragile creatures, so do not force them onto your hand – and avoid touching their wings, too! 

Butterflies will never attack you, but you need to be careful that you’re not hurting them in return. Interestingly, butterflies can show aggression – but you won’t be on the receiving end of it.

How can you attract more butterflies into your garden? 

Aside from being beautiful, butterflies are also fantastic pollinators. Therefore, why wouldn’t you want more of them in your garden? Learning how to attract butterflies is a fine art, but a rewarding one.

Given that butterflies are attracted to nectar, the more flowers you grow, and the more diverse they are, the better. Not only will your garden look even more beautiful, but the butterflies will also love to head back time and again. 

Do also give them something to drink. Butterflies can drink water in its basic liquid form, but they are particularly attracted to water mixed with other minerals. For example, you could place some sand in a shallow dish, then fill it with water. The butterflies will suck the water from the sand, benefiting from the extra nutrients. Strange, but true!

On top of everything else, ensure to avoid using any chemicals in your garden. By using chemical-based pesticides, you could easily ruin a butterfly’s habitat, as well as other habitats for important animals and insects. Butterflies simply won’t come back if you’re spraying their blooms with chemicals – and can you blame them?

It may be worth thinking about rewilding a lawn if you really want to go chemical-free, too.

Remember that butterflies are peaceful creatures – never mishandle them or scare them. It’s fine to gently encourage a critter or two to your hand – but don’t overdo it!

Do you have any tips for welcoming butterflies to your wild yard? We’d love to hear them, so please do leave us a comment below.

About The Author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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