There are 110 species of butterflies in Toronto.
Butterfly caterpillars rely on the
specific leaf chemistry of the host plants
they have co-evolved with and often can only eat one kind of plant, called a larval host plant.
Lepidopterans comprise of butterflies and moths, struggle the most of all insects.
Juicy caterpillars are a great food source for birds.
Only 2% of caterpillars survive to become a butterfly.
Most butterflies have a short lifespan between only one week to 9 months. Native plants offer them the right food at the right time for their 4 different life stages (Egg, Larva, Chrysalis, Butterfly).
Some non-native plants are great nectar (sugars, amino acids) and pollen (protein) sources but very few are also larval host plants, and therefore support all life stages of pollinators.
These larval host plants are with very few exceptions only native plants. Plant as many native plants from flowers to trees as you can.
We tremendously underestimate the role trees play as larval host plants, as well as nectar and pollen providers. Oaks are topping the list in supporting 557 species of caterpillars, followed by Cherries with 456, and Willows with 455, in the region of eastern Canada and northeastern America. Additionally, to supporting 300 species as a larval host, Red and Sugar maple provide ample nectar very early in the season.
A lot of seeds and plants in garden centres have been treated with pesticides and kill all pollinators. Visit community seed and plant exchanges and sales instead.
Half of the pollinators are night active. Lights are irresistible to them. This causes them to flutter around the light source until they die of exhaustion. Keeping unnecessary lights off at night can help our wildlife.