Lessons & Reflections from the National Butterfly Center
Today's lesson is simple: How to Make Banana Brew
What you will need:
8-10 Ripe Bananas (over ripe is good, too!)
1 Lb Brown Sugar
1 Bottle Dark Imported Beer (Our butterflies Like Guinness and Negra Modelo, but feel free to experiment.)
Blend the bananas until liquified; it's ok to leave little clumps. Mix in the brown sugar, and carefully add the beer. Stir well. Pour into jars or jugs, but do NOT seal containers closed. Jars and jugs must have holes in the lids or around the top to allow gasses to escape, or the brew will explode as it ferments. Fermentation will occur rapidly, as bacteria in the unpasteurized beer will actively consume the sugars and produce gas as a byproduct of this process. Note: Pasteurized domestic beers lack the healthy bacteria necessary to aid fermentation.
Your brew may be kept cold in the refrigerator for slower fermentation; however, if you plan to use it all quickly, i.e. over a couple of days, you may consider leaving it unrefrigerated.
Pour a narrow bit of brew on a tree limb or fence post. Be careful not to use so much that butterflies become stuck in it!
The rotting, sweet brew will have a funky odor that is most attractive to tropical butterflies--BUT THIS CONCOCTION IS NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
After the brew disappears or becomes dehydrated on your limb or post, scrape the surface clean to remove any dry fruit "leather" or film, and re-apply.
This is a great way to observe butterflies feeding, especially outside a window or in your yard.
Occasionally, we experiment with different fruit or beer combinations, but have found this particular recipe to be the most effective. Feel free to try your own recipe, and share the results with us!