While bees and wasps require pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed themselves and their young, butterflies and moths have different food requirements. Adult insects are nectar feeders but their offspring are not, and need plant leaves and grasses for food. Female butterflies and moths locate and lay their eggs on the type of plant that the larva can use as food. Many species of caterpillars are particular about the type of plants they can eat, so if you want a true butterfly and moth garden you need to introduce plants that will feed larva as well as nectar-rich flowers for adults.
Pale Tussock Moth caterpillar
One of our Pollinator Project team, Andy Marquis, has compiled a really useful “Food Plant List for Gardens”, which can be downloaded here: Foodplant List for Gardens.
The species on the list have been chosen for their usefulness as food plants to specific insects. Some caterpillars may eat the leaves, while others eat the bark and even the roots, stems or heartwood. This list has been approved by the Guernsey Biological Record Centre as containing native plants and wildflowers which can be planted to help act as foodplants to a variety of local species.