Fruit for Butterflies

Habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use have decreased butterfly populations.
Unbeknownst to many butterflies do not live on nectar alone, some species prefer, even require, overripe fruit to feed on. Decaying fruits have carbohydrates and minerals, neccessary to most butterflies. Supply them with flowers, fruit, water and plants for their caterpillar stage, and you will hopefully have a large and happy, diverse population.


butterfly feeder

Putting a plate inside a larger plate or saucer that is filled with water will keep ants away from the fruit. Butterflies have a good sense of smell, they have scent receptors at the ends of their antennas, and taste receptors on the bottoms of their feet. ulocal.wgal.com



butterfly feeder

Watermelon turns rather rapidly, feeding overripe fruit to butterflies, seems like a perfect purpose for it. There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. About 725 species can be found in North America/north of Mexico, approximately 2000 species in Mexico, 3500 in Peru, 275 species in Canada and 440 in Europe. Photo by Toshio, flickr.com.


butterfly feeder

Fruit dehydrates and seals up, therefore slices need to be cut into the fruit daily, making more juice available. A blue Morpho drinking banana at lewisginter.org.



butterfly feeder


Make your own or purchase a butterfly feeder. $25. www.decor4u.com



butterfly feeder

Watermelon on a stick. Monarchs can live up to nine months. Monarch larvae only eat milkweed, see bottom of page. Photo by Maggie Rattay, flickr.com.



butterfly feeder

To attrack butterflies add neon pink, red and orange plastic scrubbers to your plate or bowl. Butterflies are restricted to an all-liquid diet due to their straw-like proboscis. Photo by Leskra: panoramio.com.


butterfly feeder

Painting flowers on a tray helps the butterflies locate the fruit. hollyopnshk.blogspot.com



butterfly feeder

Close-Up of a butterfly's proboscis (coiled straw) coated with pollen. Due to their long legs, nectar eating butterflies pick up only small amounts of pollen on their visits to flowers. Many moths are actually better polinators than butterflies. Photo by Melissa, flickr.com.


butterfly feeder

When not in use, butterflies keep their proboscis coiled up, then unfurl it to suck up nectar, pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung or other foods that are in a liquid state. asknature.org


butterfly feeder

When unwound their proboscis acts as a straw. A Purple Duke extends its proboscis deep into the fruit of the Singapore Rhododendron. butterflycircle.blogspot.com



butterfly feeder

Due to the butterflies’ fragility to ecological change, they are an excellent indicator of an ecosystem’s health. Malachite butterflies feeding at a butterfly farm in Germany, photo by Andreas Adelmann, flickr.com.


butterfly feeder

Two tailed pasha drinking from an orange. Photo by Forbe5, flickr.com.



butterfly feeder

Butterflies taste with their feet. A black swallowtail drinking watermelon juice. insidestorey.blogspot.com



butterfly feeder

Because butterflies are cold blooded, they cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees, so keep the fruit in the sun and out of strong winds. buenavistabutterflies.com



butterfly feeder

Fruit salad for butterflies. Photo by Charley Chrizzy, charleychrizzy.deviantart.com.


butterfly feeder

Making cuts across the fruit allows more juice to be available. visitgainesville.com


butterfly feeder

A butterfly enjoying a dragon fruit. oceansnsunsets.hubpages.com


butterfly feeder

Many species seem to love watermelon. Unlike bees; butterflies can see the color red. .faq.gardenweb.com


butterfly feeder

Make your own or purchase a butterfly feeder. $25. www.decor4u.com. There are also numerous butterfly feeders on Etsy.


butterfly feeder

A question mark butterfly eating kiwi in a saucer set on a post. insidestorey.blogspot.com


butterfly feeder

Water, minerals and taste. Photo by Santa Barbarian, flickr.


butterfly feeder

Butterflies love red, orange, purple and yellow. Butterflies have good color vision sensing more “wavelengths” than either humans or bees.



Butterflies are particularly fond of oranges, grapefruits, cantelope, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, apples, watermelon and bananas, especially mushy bananas that have been stored in the freezer and then thawed.

Some species love a "brew" of rotting fruit, molasses, beer, and brown sugar. Some like moist mushroom compost.

Hummingbirds and some species of butterfly like simple sugar syrup: mix 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, boil mixture just untill the sugar dissolves, then be sure to allow the sugar mixture to cool before feeding butterflies. Adding soy sauce gives a dose of minerals and salt. Do not feed butterflies this sugar mix or honey during very cold or very dry weather as the sugar could re-crystallize inside them before being digested. Fructose is the safest bet for those times as it does not crystallize. A recipe: butterflyboutique.net. Lots of recipes here: faq.gardenweb.com, although I question the long term affects of the food coloring in the Gatorade, that so many people have success with.

Increase your chances of the butterflies finding their offering by having flowers close by, or paint or tape colorful flowers (real or fake) to the plate or hanging apparatus. To hang, cut three holes in a saucer, string with wire or chain and hang.


Flowers with Nectar that Butterflies Enjoy (partial list):
Aster, borage, butterfly bush, calendula, cosmos, delphinium, lilac,  lupines, sweet alyssum, verbena, yarrow, zinnias. See the Pollinator Planting Guide: www.pollinator.org


Remember Monarch larvae only eat milkweed. Plant some milkweed in your garden, and don't pick off the caterpillars! 'Milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures and roadsides. Because 90% of all milkweed/monarch habitats occur within the agricultural landscape, farm practices have the potential to strongly influence monarch populations.'* Spraying Round-Up and herbicides on roadsides reduces monarch populations. *www.monarchwatch.org

Milkweed Seed
:
www.butterflyencounters.com   California.
Free seed! www.livemonarch.com  Florida.
How to: latimesblogs.latimes.com

Black swallowtail larvae eat the leaves of dill, parsley, carrot, and fennel.  Painted lady larvae eat thistle leaves.

Mud Puddles:
Male Butterflies need extra minerals and enjoy mud puddles. The extra sodium and amino acids are transferred to the female along with the spermatophore during mating. This nutrition enhances the survival rate of the eggs. The minerals also help in the production of pheromones which attract females. To make butterfly puddles, bury a container and then fill with sand or gravel. Fill with water, a sweet drink or stale beer.

At night and during wet weather, butterflies take shelter underneath leaves, among grass blades, or in a crevice of a rock.





 

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Bree
Posts: 11
Comment
Re: Fruit for the Butterflies
Reply #11 on : Sat June 28, 2014, 22:02:12
Just what I was looking for :) perfect.
Herbalist Rene
Posts: 11
Comment
Thank you!
Reply #10 on : Fri June 06, 2014, 15:38:49
Lovely me and the kids will love this..
Thank you
Lily.Kho
Posts: 11
Comment
Ths for sharing this links!
Reply #9 on : Thu May 01, 2014, 17:23:23
Thanks for sharing this link, I do interest to do the same way to prepare slice of fruits so I am wishing butterflies are coming to eat it. I do love to see butterflies and will take pics of them, n will take pics of them to and share of facebook and Flicker.
Have a good day n night,

Lily
Cheryl M.
Posts: 11
Comment
Attrack butterflies without bees
Reply #8 on : Mon April 28, 2014, 13:41:41
Hi, I would love to sit out my old fruit to attract butterflies but is there a way to do it without attracting more bees?

Thanks
Orphee Stoller
Posts: 11
Comment
Great website about butterflies
Reply #7 on : Sun April 27, 2014, 06:40:23
Bonjour, I'm a butterflies lover from Switzerland. I really love your website about all your help and discover different worldwide butterflies. Thanks so much/merci beaucoup.
Graziella Grech
Posts: 11
Comment
A great way to help out
Reply #6 on : Sun April 27, 2014, 01:48:09
What a beautiful idea!! We don't have that many butterflies where I live unfortunately, populations are on a steady decline, but every little bit helps right? Thank you for sharing.
Dairah
Posts: 11
Comment
Food
Reply #5 on : Thu August 15, 2013, 11:01:17
My family and I got some butterflies this summer and when they hatched, we decided to get some fruit. Oranges was the first thing we looked for (in our house) and we couldn't find any. Since I looked up this site, I found out we can feed them apples, kiwis, and bananas! Thanks! :)
Lauren
Posts: 11
Comment
So helpful
Reply #4 on : Tue August 13, 2013, 16:06:31
This is the best butterfly site I've ever found!! Just today I found a tawny emperor that (it looks perfectly fine,no missing dust,or crumpled wings) can't fly,and I put it in a clear container with a flower,papertowel,dirt and grass. And,reading your site, cantaloupe! It had some,but didn't take a good liking to it. All it does is sit at the top of the paper towel,probably wishing it was free...also, he is a sticky lil devil! I can never get him to get onto the flower...he must like my hands! :)
Lee
Posts: 11
Comment
Attracting butterflies
Reply #3 on : Sun July 14, 2013, 23:55:45
Hello. Thank you for this wonderful site!!! I have put out a feeder and fruit as you recommended and, so far, no butterflies. Please advise me how long it takes, on average, to attract the little guys. Thanks again
fatimah
Posts: 11
Comment
Re: Fruit for the Butterflies
Reply #2 on : Sat March 09, 2013, 09:36:34
AMAZING!
Buffy
Posts: 11
Comment
Butterflies
Reply #1 on : Fri March 01, 2013, 22:01:29
Great article and I will be feeding butterflies this Spring! They are so pretty and I have a new camera to take pics of them and other wildlife, I hope. Your pictures are wonderful!!! I am wondering if frozen watermelon would give the same nutrition to them. I have some in my freezer that I use for slushies, but will be happy to share with the butterflies :)
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