What Fruits Do Monarch Butterflies Eat?

Monarch butterflies are fond of feeding on fruits’ nectar and are observed sucking nectar from fruits in birdfeeder. Although their prime food source is the nectar from various flowering plants, they can also eat the fruits if they encounter them during their foraging.

What Fruits Do Monarch Butterflies Eat? Monarch butterflies can eat many fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, banana, peach, nectarine, watermelon, grapes, mango, apple, pineapple, pear, cantaloupe, plum, strawberries, and raspberries. They prefer to eat the rotting or ripped fruits because they poke their tongue or proboscis into these fruits and suck the juice.

People usually plant flowers in their gardens to attract various pollinating insects, including butterflies. Hanging birdfeeders with fruit mesh is a famous technique that can bring these pollinators to your yards.


They can eat oranges because of the juice or sweet and sour nectar inside each slice. People usually offer them sliced oranges so they can conveniently suck the juice from these slices.

They have a straw-like mouthpart that helps them siphon the juice from oranges. Moreover, the smell and bright color of oranges attract them, and they fly around to taste them.

One monarch butterfly can feed approximately 0.22-0.28 ml of juice per day, depending on the energy consumption and size of the species.

Therefore, 10 to 14 butterflies can drink from one orange, as one orange contains 70-75 ml of juice.


Grapefruits have a semi-sweet and sour taste and are used to feed different pollinators in the yard.

For example, I have hung a birdfeeder in my garden and often placed the sliced grapefruits after removing the outer skin to attract monarch butterflies.

I noticed them sipping their long proboscis inside the juicy grapefruits and sucking the liquid for a few minutes. They do not eat much because they have small stomachs and get full soon.

I checked the quantity they ate, and there was no significant difference in the sliced grapefruit after three butterflies fed on it.


They can eat the rooting bananas to get nutrients and energy because the sweet nectar from the rooting fruits attracts them.

Moreover, the smell of the rooting banana also attracts them, and they insert their proboscis into the banana to collect the juice. They do not eat the peel of bananas and suck the nectar through the rooting skin.

They are less attracted to fresh bananas because they only feed on the liquid from rooting and juicy bananas, as they lack teeth and a mandible to chew the solid eatables.

Peach or nectarine

They like to drink the nectar from over-ripped peaches because they cannot siphon the juice from unripe or fresh peaches.

My friend told me he often placed ripped peaches in the birdfeeder and observed monarch butterflies flying around and eating the pulpy juice.

Nectarine looks just like peach to these beautiful flying insects, and they can also eat the rooting pieces of nectarine.

Peaches and nectarine are smaller than oranges, and five to seven butterflies can drink the juice from one rooting peach.


They love to eat watermelon juice if they find the watermelon slices in the gardens or yards. Professional gardeners recommend putting watermelon in the garden to attract these butterflies.

Caterpillars do not eat watermelon because their only diet is the leaves from milkweed plants. They do not have proboscis like the adult species and chew the leaves through their mandibles.

In addition, I studied that adult monarch species taste the sweet juice of watermelon using the chemoreceptors in their feet and feed for a few minutes until their stomach is full.

They eat several times a day because they have tiny stomachs and metabolize the nectar they drink. The quantity of watermelon they eat in a day depends on the size and energy requirements of the species.


They can eat the juice from grapes but do not consume the outer skin of these fruits. You can offer them ripped grapes with a more juicy texture.

Grapes contain 75-85% water and provide nutritional value to butterflies. An average-sized grape has 3-4 ml of juice, and 12-16 monarch butterflies can eat one grape, depending on the size of the butterfly.

Moreover, my neighbor told me that different types of grapes have varying sizes, and the ripeness of the grape also affects the juice it contains.


Like humans, monarch butterflies cannot resist the sweet and delectable taste of mangoes and eat mangoes individually or in groups.

Many species accumulate around the ripped mango and suck the sweet juice to gain energy and nutrients. I never see monarchs eating mangoes, but last week, I put ripped mango slices on a plate and placed them around the flowering plants in my garden.

One butterfly landed on the mango slices and started drinking the juice.

After a few minutes, four more butterflies drank the mango juice from the ripped pieces. However, they could not finish one slice but drank as much as their capacity.

Apple and pineapple

They can eat the apples and juice of the pineapples without any problem because they insert their tongues and drink the liquid.

Moreover, my aunt told me that they could also eat the applesauce prepared from the ripped apples because she often cooked this sauce to attract different pollinating insects.

She also told me about her experience of feeding pineapple juice and rooting slices of pineapples to monarch butterflies, and they happily eat them because of the sweet taste.


I often serve ripped pears to the monarch butterflies in my garden; they eat these fruits using proboscis.

I poke the pear many times to make it more juicy and accessible for them so they can stick their tongue in it to gather the sweet liquid.

Yesterday, I observed seven butterflies feeding on the rooting piece of pear and almost finished it within a few hours because it was not very big, and adult monarch species can eat one rotting pear. You can also serve fresh pear juice to them in a hummingbird feeder.


Monarch butterflies can sip the nectar from cantaloupe if they find it around their habitats.

They only suck the juice from cantaloupe melon. The caterpillars do not feed on these fruit plants because they only have feeding preferences for milkweed.

My cousin raised many butterflies in captivity and shared his experience of feeding cantaloupe to the captive insects. He said they do not prefer to eat cantaloupe daily but can occasionally eat it, as they like the variety of fruits and nectar.


Plum is not their prime food source, but they can eat plums because they need sugar calories to maintain their energy levels for long-distance flights and mating.

You can feed plums to these butterflies by removing the outer peeling skin, and ripped fruits are recommended because they are easy to eat.

Furthermore, the number of monarch butterflies eating one plum depends on the size of the plum and the age or health of these beautiful flying insects.


People also offer ripped strawberries to monarch butterflies and attract them to their gardens because the sharp and sweet fragrance of this rooting fruit acts as a magnet.

One strawberry contains a few ml of juice, and five to six butterflies can feed one piece, depending on the size of the strawberry.

You can make a fruit mesh with strawberries to feed the captive butterflies because they love to eat juicy food with lots of sweet nectar.


They prefer particular fruits but do not hesitate to eat various fruits if available.

For example, monarch butterflies can eat raspberries, cherries, and other types of berries if they find them during foraging. They usually find these fruits in urban areas where people place raspberries to attract them in their gardens.

However, they sometimes encounter raspberries in the wild and drink the juice by poking their long straw-like tongue into the fruits.

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