Butterfly Food

Butterfly keeping can be a very unique experience compared to keeping other types of pets.

Once you’ve got a good understanding of how to set up their enclosure, mastering butterfly food will be the next priority.

In this guide, we will cover what to feed butterflies (including DIY recipes), buying commercial foods, when to feed, and how to avoid common mistakes.

Let’s get started!

What Do Butterflies Eat?

When it comes to what butterflies eat, there are actually quite a few options.

In the wild, butterflies feed on a variety of nectar-producing flowers, including daisies, asters, marigolds, and many others.

They also visit rotting fruit, sap flows, and decomposing organic matter such as decaying fruit, dung, and carrion.

In addition, butterflies sip moisture from damp soil, mud puddles, and even wet rocks.

With these common food sources, butterflies can easily consume a varied diet full of nutrition.

Buy Butterfly Food

If you don’t have the time or resources to make your own butterfly food, there are many commercial options available to buy.

You can purchase butterfly food kits that come with everything needed to feed butterflies from garden centers, pet stores, and online retailers.

These products usually contain platforms that make it easy for these insects to feed off of.

When To Feed Butterflies

When it comes to feeding butterflies, timing is key. Butterflies need food sources at different times of the year depending on their species.

During the warmer months, when butterflies are most active, they need a continuous supply of food.

If you live in a temperate climate, you should provide food for butterflies from late spring to early fall.

During the winter months, when butterflies are in hibernation, you may not need to feed them since they will not be available to consume anything.

You should also be aware of the time of day that you are feeding butterflies.

Butterflies love to feed in the morning and afternoon when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm.

Avoid feeding them in the evening, as they will not be able to eat the food and it can attract unwanted pests.

Common Mistakes 

One common mistake when feeding butterflies is providing food that is not suitable for them.

Butterflies require a specific type of food, and it’s important to know what they need.

For example, many species of butterflies prefer sugary nectar, while others may prefer fruit or pollen.

It’s important to research the species of butterflies that are in your area and provide the correct type of food for them.

Another mistake is providing food that is too old or has gone bad.

Butterflies are attracted to fresh food and may avoid food that is stale or rotting.

If you are using store-bought butterfly food, check the expiration date to ensure it is still fresh and safe for the butterflies.

If you are making your own DIY butterfly food, make sure that it is always kept fresh.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of the amount of food that you are providing the butterflies.

If your setup is outdoors, too much food can attract wasps and other predators, so it’s important to limit the amount of food that you give the butterflies.

Additionally, leaving food out all day can attract other animals and can be unhygienic for the butterflies.

It’s best to give the butterflies food in the morning and to remove it in the evening.


Feeding butterflies is a wonderful way to bring them into your garden and a necessity if you’re keeping them in a vivarium.

By following the tips in this guide, you’ll be able to feed butterflies properly and attract them to your garden with ease.

From what they eat to when to feed them, you’ll have all the information you need to make your own DIY butterfly food and provide a safe and healthy snack for these beautiful creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Nectar from flowers
  • Sap from trees
  • Minerals from mud or damp soil

Yes, some species of butterflies can drink sugar water as a source of energy when nectar is scarce.

To make butterfly food, mix a solution of one part sugar to nine parts water and boil the mixture for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool down and use it as a substitute for nectar when feeding butterflies.

The best thing to feed butterflies is nectar from flowers, as it is their primary source of food and provides them with the necessary nutrients and energy.

You can also provide them with sugar water or sliced fruit as a supplement.

The best water source for butterflies is a shallow dish or container filled with clean water and some small rocks or twigs for the butterflies to perch on while drinking.

It’s important to keep the water fresh and change it regularly to prevent the spread of disease.


To give butterflies sugar water, you can soak a sponge or cotton ball in the sugar water solution and place it near the butterflies or hang it on a string from a tree branch.

Alternatively, you can use a shallow dish or container with the sugar water solution and place it near the butterflies.

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