Painted Jezebel colorful butterfly

What do butterflies eat?

Who doesn’t enjoy witnessing one of these winged beauties in flight?

How much do we know about them?

Did you know that a butterfly is a very hungry insect that needs to feed often?


Yes, you heard it right! Butterflies use a proboscis, a long, tubular mouth, to eat their food.

Because it is so delicate, the proboscis can only permeate very soft surfaces.

They can suck up sugary liquids like nectar and juice from fruits and flowers with their proboscis, and they can also use it to drink water.

Close up of swallawtail butterfly perched on flowers and sucking nectar

Butterflies cannot chew; they can only drink. If they are not eating, they curl up their proboscis.

What do butterflies eat?

We are aware of the way butterflies eat, but what do they consume? Well, the majority of butterflies eat nectar from flowers. 

Common copper butterfly collecting nectar on a flower

Nectar is full of sugars, which provide the energy butterflies need.  Butterflies are attracted to nectar-producing plants,  because they frequently have colorful, fragrant blossoms.

Because butterflies can help to pollinate when they fly around, plants benefit from their visits.

Painted lady butterfly in garden

Some butterflies, especially butterflies like the Painted Lady, don’t care what flowers they get their nectar from.

Painted Lady Butterfly

The Painted Lady is the butterfly with the longest migration route;

it travels from North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia to mainland Europe eventually arriving in Britain and Ireland.

This means that it feeds from flowers that grow in varied climates all across the world! WOW!

Vegetable nectar is another food source for butterflies.

Vegetables make an effort to have nectar-producing flowers on their plants so that butterflies would find them appealing as well.

Pumpkins at Local Market

Pumpkins, cabbage, and courgettes are a few vegetables that do this! Like parsley and fennel, some herbs have flowers that draw butterflies as well.

Autumn Sun Shining Through Canopy Of Tall Maple Tree Wood. Sunli

Butterflies like the huckleberry butterfly also enjoy tree sap.  Sap from trees like ash, elm, and maple trees is rich in sugar, nitrogen, and minerals.

These things give butterflies a lot of energy and keep them healthy.

However, butterflies need other animals to expose the tree’s sap from underneath the tree bark. Other animals must do it for them since they are too weak to do it themselves.

Can you go 5 months without food? Of course not! But butterflies can!

Some butterflies can go 5 months without food! To achieve this, they eat a lot in the autumn and hibernate through the winter.

While they are in hibernation, their bodies slowly consume the additional food that was stored as fat.

Although they occasionally seek water from other sources on extremely hot days, butterflies also obtain the majority of the water they need from their food.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top