Can Butterflies Eat Oranges?

Many people grow flowering plants in their gardens to attract butterflies that look so beautiful to see around. The sweet aroma of fruits, like watermelons, bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other juicy fruits, entices their odor receptors.

Can Butterflies Eat Oranges? Butterflies can eat oranges to obtain nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B1, sodium, calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamin A from the sweet pulp. They can also suck juice from citrus peels and prefer to feed on rotten fruits. Mandarin oranges, Valencia oranges, Navel oranges, blood oranges, and many others can attract them.

Oranges constitute a smaller portion of the butterfly’s diet because they prefer to feed on nutritious liquid food. They do not miss an opportunity to suck the juice from a slice of orange present openly in the garden or porch. Its citric odor repels many insects relying on chemical odors for movement and foraging, but juice provides nutrition to many creatures.

How do you feed oranges to butterflies?

Feeding oranges to butterflies seems challenging, but the color of the fruit and its strong odor can efficiently grab their attention. So, you do not have to make more effort to attract them.

Some people divide the fruit into segments after peeling and spread each segment on the plate.

It is better to cut slices in a circular pattern so that juice comes from the fruit and juicy sacs are easily accessible to butterflies.

Remove seeds to avoid accidental consumption, as they can cause discomfort and stress after getting stuck in their mouthparts.

In addition, avoid stacking slices because separate spreading allows easier identification by the butterflies. Also, a large number of insects can feed on different slices simultaneously.

I found a lot of cockroaches and other tiny ground insects on the plate a few hours later, so I changed the location. I hung slices on hooks to avoid the ground insects.

Furthermore, it is an effective strategy to keep the non-targeted creature at a distance and make oranges available to butterflies only.

They reach hanging slices while flying and inject their proboscis to suck the juice from the pulp. They do not eat pulp but drink the juicy material inside small sacs.

Why do butterflies eat oranges?

Oranges provide healthy nutrients to frugivorous insects or other animals. They are safe to eat and cause no toxicity in flying and ground insects.

One of the most common reasons butterflies get attracted to it is the sugary juice in the fruit. An increased amount of natural sugars is present in its fruit, protected inside a covering.

Almost 8.6g of sugar is present in 100g of orange, while a larger one contains a higher content of approximately 15g to 17g. It provides glucose, sucrose, and fructose in varying amounts.

In addition, butterflies need sugar to produce a large amount of energy required to engage in activities like mating, movement, egg-laying, etc.

Their natural diet contains a higher content of carbohydrates than proteins and fats, as they need energy to perform daily life activities.

They choose food by its odor, and the citrus scent of oranges is powerful enough to get detected by their receptors. They have taste receptors to detect the sweet taste of fruit juice and consume it.

Furthermore, it is a good source of hydration and provides essential minerals like calcium, sodium, potassium, etc. Some vitamins are also in its pulp, including vitamins A, B1, folate, and C.

Do butterflies like to eat orange peels?

Orange peels have a different taste than the internal pulpy fruit as they do not taste sweet. These peels taste bitter and are not attractive to many insects in nature.

Generally, people discard the rind or outer layer on oranges due to their bad taste, but you can save the covering and use it to attract butterflies.

Fresh peels can grab their attention as they suck juicy material from the outermost layer of covering, appearing orange in color.

However, they do not eat seeds, and white piths are present below the outer layer because they can only consume liquid food. Their proboscis can help extract the juice from the rind.

They do not chew peels due to the absence of teeth in their mouth, as they rely on capillary action to draw fluids out of the food and suck them into the mouth.

You can put fresh peels on a plate and place them in the garden for better insect exposure. Dry peels have low moisture content, so use fresh peels only to attract butterflies.

Are butterflies attracted to rotten oranges?

Fresh oranges are suitable for consumption, but overripe fruits are more attractive to insects as they prefer sugary foods. The ripening process leads to changes in quality and texture.

The fruit softens over some time and its sugar content increases. In the same way, its acidity level decreases, and sweet taste dominates the citric.

It occurs due to the action of ripening enzymes, amylase, and pectinase, which break down starch into sugars. This way, the sugar content increases in the fruit when it is ripening.

The rotten oranges are not edible for humans, but they can become a source of nutrition for insects. Butterflies find rotting fruits more attractive than fresh ones due to their soft texture.

Similarly, they can get more sugars from these fruits and metabolize them to produce energy. The fermentation process releases strong odors that can allure odor receptors of butterflies.

Do caterpillars eat oranges?

Caterpillars have different dietary needs and primarily rely on plant matter for their nutrition. They feed on the leaves of plants and approach orange leaves, too.

They can damage plants by consuming the leaves but cause little or no harm to the fruit.

Butterflies are commonly seen hovering around orange plants and feeding on rotting fruits, including Monarch butterflies and painted lady butterflies.

In addition, both of them eat ripened oranges without facing any digestive issues and discomfort after consumption, as their bodies are adapted to such foodstuff.

So, they do not consume fruit at the caterpillar stage but feed on the juicy sacs inside the rind after reaching adulthood.

What type of oranges do butterflies eat?

Different varieties of oranges exist in nature that have varying textures and flavors, depending on the external conditions. Navel oranges are sweeter than others, which can potentially attract insects.

Its varieties include Cara Cara navel, late navel, Dream navel, and California navel, which have a high content of natural sugars. The California navel is the oldest variety and sweeter.

In addition, Valencia oranges also grab the attention of butterflies due to their strong scent. This type includes Delta Valencia orange, coarse Valencia orange, Burris Valencia blood orange, etc.

Mandarin oranges have a relatively lower content of sugar in it, but they suck their juices too. They are rich in vitamin C, while smaller amounts of Vitamins A and B are present.

Other types include blood oranges, which have a higher sugar content than mandarins, and their inner pulp appears red in color. This bright color and sweet aroma capture the attention of butterflies.