Banana Bait for Butterflies [download word.doc]
"The Famous overseas Bait" for The Purple Emperor, The Camberwell Beauty and other dayflying species.



10 very ripe bananas are chopped in a bucket.
Add ½ dl water, syrup and yeast.

Any yeast will do, but yeast for brewing portwine is best.

When yeast activity is strongest you add syrup to halt yeast development.

Amount syrup is 50 % syrup to 50% banana mass.

You might add alcohol or amyleacetat to the mixture to improve its smell. I have tried everything but the simple raw mixture is fine. The combination of fruit and alcohol is what works best. If fermentation has progressed to far, it smells too much of vine and won´t work so well.

The Bait mixture is awfully sticky and you definately will get it on you somewhere, so bring some water and a cloth.

Smear it headhigh on rows of sunexposed treetrunks. Use a brush with a long handle. Or regret.

I use about 2 kg a day when i am serious into luring butterflies, so maybe it is smart to get a whole box of semirotten bananas, which is somtimes possible to get for free during heatwaves in July.

Shopkeepers react funny if you ask if they have rotten bananas.

It is wise to prepare the Bait 14 days before you want to use it.


Ca. 10 very ripe bananas  

Find 10 ripe, yellow and eventually rotten bananas from a shop. Avoid green bananas. They won´t work.

During heatwaves in July, they are cheap or free.

Small curved bananas beginning to become black and soft are best. The more smell the better..

On the picture are bananas from the local supermarket, forced ripe in a day in a plasticbag in the sun.

Chop the bananas with a knife

Chop them as small as you bother.But dont throw them in a blender, you will need the small pieces to keep the bait thick and moist in the sun.


Add yeast
Yeast can be pulverized directly into the bananas, but its smart to solve the yeast in lukewarm water. Ideally you have a portwine in culture or have saved a portion of your latest banana bait.
Yeast at work, fermentation  

When yeast has been added you leave the misture to work for a couple of days, or as in this case one day at 25 degrees.

Keep an eye on it. Larger portions have explosive tendencies and can produce large amounts of foam that is not easily washed down from furniture and walls.

Could be wise to leave it outside.

DO NOT FASTEN THE LID. CO2 must be able to escape.


STOP fermentation  

In the middle of the proces, when yeast is very active and you can smell the alcohol, you stop it by adding sugar. You can use syrup, dark cuban is best, or honey or melasse for cattle. I use pound to pound, like with marmelade. 1 kg sugar agent to 1 kg bananas.


How to use it  

Smear it on treetrunks or stench it on leaves in the sun in the windside of the locality.

In dry and warm weather especially Nymphalidae, Apatura and hairstreaks are attracted. It is normal that the first butterflies arrive after a few minutes. If they are scared away they will often return. If you smear on a weekly basis you will create a local population of butterflies that stay in the area for feeding.

The Purple Emperor on the photo above returned to the bait 3- 4 times after having been scared away with the 60 mm macro lens.

If the fermentation has been completely stopped, and you should see to that! the bait can be stored for many years. In the summer of 2006 I used the remains of a bait made in 1992. It worked fine. It is wise to keep the lid completely closed, else new and exciting ecosystems will evolve in the jar.
WARNING: The bait is extremely sticky and could destroy fine mechanics in for example cameras. A broken container in the car will provide you with a nice smell of bananas for many years. Bring extra plastic bag and water while using.