Butterfly House in Alaskan Cedar

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I had never heard of Butterfly Houses prior to my wife mentioning them a few years ago.  And since then, I've made several of them based on pictures I'd seen on the internet.  The theory is that butterflies wanting a safe place to lay their eggs will make use of these boxes sometime in the Fall.  Inside of them you put a small tree branch (I've heard that Birch works well), and for this, you put a door on these boxes.  Personally, I think they're more useful (and desired) as decorative ornaments, so I tend to gussy them up, as I did with this one.  I'll separately post other similar ones I've made.   

The one shone in these pics I made for my sister-in-law.  It was made in Alaskan Yellow Cedar, which I burned/charred using a Sho Sugi-Ban technique, after which, I tinted the wood in a two-tone fashion that you see in the pics, and then finished it using Spar Urethane to give it added UV/rain protection.  The door is hinged with brass rods, and a latch that keeps it from blowing open on wide days.  Lastly, I added a hand-hammered brass roof ridge.  

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10 Comments

Never heard of this before but it looks nice.
Also never heard of it, but it looks great!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

looks great alan. let us know if any residents move in, im curious how well it attracts them.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

I'm not putting bets on this becoming the next Butterfly Motel, Pottz!  IMHO, these will probably always be garden ornaments with a nice cover story that rationalizes their worth.  But, if we get any takers, you'll be the first to know!

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Those are nice looking boxes.

However everything I have found about them is contrary to your info about laying eggs. Butterflies usually lay their eggs on their preferred host plant. For Monarchs this is Milkweed. 

The presumption of these boxes is that they will hibernate or seek shelter at night in them. This also does not appear to be true. Researchers on the East Coast found that the boxes were almost universally used by paper wasps and paper wasps are predators of butterflies and their caterpillars/cocoons. I support this on the west coast where I have put them up and only found wasps (mostly Yellow Jackets) nesting or hibernating in them over winter. It might be a good way to trap and kill next years queens before they start their new nest in the spring. I sometimes also find them in my swallow nest boxes in the winter and use a propane torch to kill them while they are semi dormant.
Well I see my questions on the other thread are answered here. A small branch, and a swing door, and vent holes.

Les, that is interesting. Gonna have to check that out a bit more. Just having structures I am a host to all manner of wasp, and especially those Fing Carpenter Bees who totally destroy structure in the presence of many trees. usually I am not in favor of killing critters just trying to get along, but I kill every Carpenter Bee I can. Destructive little bastiages. Wanna bore holes, do it in a tree, stay offa my buildings **@#^# Bees

I went off on a search, and immediately found this. I think I'm gonna just cut to it, and put in round holes, and just let the small birds have a starting spot. A home of their own as it were.

Looks like it wasn't a random example either.
George and Les, thanks for your insights.  It confirms my suspicions that butterflies don't really use these.   However, I still think they're decent lawn/garden ornaments, and working off of Les' idea, It might be good idea to put fly paper inside of them for the wasps that nest in them! 

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Great design and terrific wood.   Never heard of that before but it’s really beautiful.  
I did read where butterflies don’t live in houses, but perch on horizontal surfaces.  Do do you have any visitors….