Can Butterflies Eat Strawberries?

Sweet-smelling foods capture the attention of insects that use odor receptors to select their food. The butterflies also get instinctually attracted to sweet foods, as this scent allures their odor receptors. Floral nectar and fruit juices, like watermelon, strawberry, oranges, grapes, and pineapple, grab their attention.

Can Butterflies Eat Strawberries? Butterflies can eat strawberries as juicy and sweet fruits attract them to suck the nutritious juice by injecting their proboscis into the soft pulp. Overripe strawberries attract them more often than fresh ones due to soft and juicy fruit.

Butterflies are slow-eaters and consume a small amount of food to meet their body needs. They do not prefer to eat other insects and dead organisms due to their herbivorous nature. They look for plants in their territories to obtain nutrients from fruits and flowers and even feed on plant leaves at the caterpillar stage.

How do you feed strawberries to a butterfly?

It can be challenging for new gardeners and pet keepers to feed butterflies, but they do not have a tough time rejecting and ignoring the food.

You should know ways to allure butterflies by offering their favorite food. Wash fully ripened strawberries under tap water to remove dirt and chemicals.

This washing step ensures their safety because consuming smaller quantities of pesticides can harm their survival. After that, cut them into smaller chunks to expose juicy parts.

Transfer these chunks to a plate and place them outdoors to attract butterflies visiting the garden.

Some people use sticks to offer strawberries to these insects when they sit on a stable platform.

However, it is not a good approach because moving bodies pose a survival threat to them, so they quickly fly away from the spot to save their lives.

Do not remove the plate for a day or two until they suck all of its juice, but avoid keeping it when the fruit chunks start rotting or decomposing. The rotting chunks invite insects and pathogens, too.

So, discard them properly in trash containers and replace them with fresh chunks to maintain a constant food source for these regular garden-visiting insects.

Why do butterflies eat strawberries?

Strawberries are a favorite food source for many insects, birds, rodents, and other organisms looking for nutritious food.

Similarly, butterflies are attracted to strawberry plants in the wild environment when they see plants with ripe fruits.

They have a large number of odor receptors on smaller bodies that are highly sensitive to a variety of odors. These receptors are present on the antennae, particularly the club region.

Moreover, they can detect pleasing odors after entering the garden and begin to fly toward these plants. The taste receptors on tongues help them decide about eating a particular food.

They find strawberries suitable because they taste sweet with a little sour. Its taste and texture support the eating behavior of butterflies relying on the proboscis to suck juice.

In addition, these are also a good source of potassium, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and manganese. This fruit also contains magnesium, antioxidants, and folate in smaller quantities.

Accordingly, they eat reddish strawberries to gain all the nutritional benefits and improve their immunity and health by nourishing themselves.

How many butterflies can eat one strawberry?

Strawberries are many times bigger and heavier than a single butterfly, so it is not possible for one insect to consume even a single small-sized fruit.

The number of butterflies that can eat one strawberry depends on their species, appetite, and fruit size. It contains almost 92% water content, allowing insects to hydrate themselves.

A small strawberry weighs around 7g, while butterflies weigh approximately 0.04 to 0.3g. It indicates that 23 butterflies of 0.3g equal a small strawberry weight.

However, each can consume only a few milliliters of fluid daily or take a few sips. You can assume that almost 28 butterflies can drink 7 ml of juice if each drinks 0.25 ml.

You can only estimate their behavior by relating it to their eating abilities. They usually take 4 to 5 sips from a fruit equal to almost 0.25 to 0.35 ml fluid.

Furthermore, they eat more in summer when there is a risk of dehydration. They need more fluid to hydrate their bodies.

What type of butterflies can eat strawberries?

They find fruits a suitable source of nutrition and approach the plants frequently to suck fluids from them.

The painted lady butterflies visit strawberry plants and are occasionally seen sucking the juice by injecting its tongue into the ripe fruits.

In addition, the adult Monarch butterflies reach these plants in the garden when they detect the sweet aroma of the ripe fruits and take a few sips of the juice.

Other species include Eastern Comma butterflies that prefer to feed on floral nectar but eat ripe fruits, like blackberry, strawberry, etc.

Eastern-tailed-blue butterflies visit these plants occasionally when the fruit appears on the plant and ripens.

Moreover, their caterpillars do not eat strawberries but reach their plants to use as a host and feed on their leaves and other plant parts.

Can butterflies eat overripe strawberries? 

Overripe strawberries gain more interest in insects compared to raw ones for many reasons. The butterflies also prefer to eat overripe strawberries if fresh and ripened ones are available to them.

Fresh fruits have a higher water content, but they have a lesser amount of carbohydrates. They need more carbohydrates in their diet due to high energy requirements.

The fresh strawberry has an intact epicarp that softens over time and makes the inner pulp visible after softening. The whole fruit is edible, so they inject tongues into an epicarp.

Their colors become more vibrant, and their aroma gets sweeter when they enter a ripening stage.

What do people say about it?

I surveyed 836 people to know whether butterflies like to eat strawberries, and most supported the statement that these insects occasionally get attracted to these fruits.

Out of 837 people, 594 people (71%) said they have seen butterflies feeding on ripened fruits and visiting the plant in the spring season.

However, 185 people (22%) said butterflies usually visit the flowering plants in their garden and ignore the fruiting plants because their primary source of nutrition is nectar.

The remaining 58 (7%) people said they do not know about the food preference of butterflies because they do not have a pet insect and never bothered to observe their behavior.

The food choice varies among insects seasonally, as they prefer to suck juices in the fruiting season and approach flowering plants when they are at the blooming stage.

“I have not seen butterflies in my fruit and vegetable garden all year, but ripened fruits capture their attention in spring.”

They look for alternative sources of nutrition when their dietary needs are not met with the nectar of flowering plants.

“My fruit plants capture the attention of butterflies as they feed on hanging fruits and even suck juices from strawberries fallen on the ground.”

They eat opportunistically and consume the food easily available in the wild or captivity. However, they still prefer carbohydrate-rich food over fatty foodstuff.

“My pet butterfly likes to drink nectar but sits on the fruit for some time when I place a chunk of strawberry around it.”

Related Articles:

Why Are Monarch Butterflies Important?