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What do Butterflies Eat Other Than Flower Nectar?

Nectar? For me? NO THANKS!

Some butterfly species prefer other food than nectar.   Viceroy, Red-spotted Purple, Question Mark, Hackberry, Tawny Emperor,
Red Admiral, and a few other butterfly species will drink decaying fruit, tree sap, manure, and decaying animals before they will drink nectar from flowers.   Some butterfly species enjoy flower nectar and other sources of food as well.   So how can we add some of these items to our gardens without adding a cow patty or road kill?
You can cut wedges from an
apple or use an apple core.
Simple push a wire through
the center of the apple and
hang in your garden. When
this apple was hung in a
garden, this Viceroy visited
it in less than 30 minutes.
Banana lunch suits this
Red Admiral butterfly.
A bird suet feeder packed
with fruit doubles as a
butterfly fruit feeder.
Simple suet feeders sell as
low as $2 at discount stores.
Use clay pots and dishes
to create a fruit stand
with a 'moat' ants can't cross!
A banana becomes a meal for an American Painted Lady.
Besides the obvious fruit
trees, other plants produce
fruit which we don't recognize
as fruit, such as this poisionous
lantana seed covering a Buckeye
is enjoying.
A Loquat tree provides
many meals for this
Tawny Emperor butterfly.
A Pipevine Swallowtail eats
a rotting maggot. This
photograph also caught the
butterfly peeing.
None of us want to add
dead animals to our gardens.
Dog and cat food is a good
substitute. The food should
be protected from ants.
Fresh dog poop was irresistable
to this Gulf Fritillary.
Instead of fresh manure
composted cow manure provides
food for plants as well as
food for butterflies!
Two Cloudless Sulphur butterflies are enjoying their meal.
Zebra Swallowtail butterflies
also enjoy compost made with
cow manure.
Male butterflies 'puddle'
from soil, drinking in salts
and nutrients. This
Gulf Fritillary
is drinking either manure
or salts from the door mat.
Even our understanding of flowers attracting butterflies can be wrong. Mine was! What we consider a 'dead' zinnia a butterfly considers a tasty meal. .