When you think of Monarch Butterflies, you probably think of them eating from a large leaf, or eating mosquitoes. This is definitely true, but not only true; this type of butterfly will also eat other small insects, spiders, worms, and even other butterflies. These little pests can be rather bothersome to people who want to have them around, but there are ways of dealing with these problems if you are willing to do a little bit of work. The Monarch eggs are hard to see when the weather is not nice, and that is why this species is most commonly seen in the southern states.
Recommended food for monarch butterfly larvae: Gatorade (because it stains well), Fresh Watermelon, Juicy Fruit, and Watermelons. Other insects which will be found in the monarch butterfly habitat are crickets, grasshoppers, ground beetles, aphids, mealy bugs, white-flies, spiders, and ants. If you don’t like all of these foods, then you may want to feed your little monarch larvae milkweed. You can purchase this from your gardening store.
Food for fifth instar larvae: Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, yams, peas, carrots, cabbage leaves, corn, and beans are favorite foods for monarch caterpillars. The adult monarch caterpillars also feed on these foods, so they should have plenty to offer to their larvae as they grow. However, please note that there is a difference in the types of food that they are fed. The adult monarch caterpillars are not recommended to be fed melon, carrots, cucumber, sweet potatoes, yams, peas, or beans while the fifth instar larvae are highly recommended to receive a high protein diet, especially proteins found in meat products, which are found in such foods as beef, lamb, goat, venison, rabbit, chicken, turkey, and duck.
Food habits and needs vary among the four different species of butterflies. In the August through September mating season, male monarchs will gather around a female’s silk cocoon. This is the time that they will display and mate in order to produce a number of eggs. After the females lay their eggs, they will fall off the cocoon into a small lake where water levels are usually quite low. The larvae will remain below the water surface for a number of weeks. This is when you will see them hatching out into the landscape.
Food for the larvae will consist mainly of pumpkins, but you can feed them any type of vegetable you like. It’s important to use organic produce because the Monarch caterpillars will definitely find it toxic. Food that is too high in fat, such as pork products, will make the Monarch butterfly ill. If you really want to feed your Monarch caterpillars, a good choice is to use a silk source that offers little or no fat, such as pumpkin stems, carrots, squash, or cucumbers.
While there are a few types of vegetables that will not harm the Monarch caterpillars, there are some fruits and other fruits and vegetables that are toxic to them. These fruits include apples, grapefruits, oranges, kiwi fruit, melons, mangoes, pineapple, peaches, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes. Some of these fruits are even found on the tree that the Monarch butterfly likes to live on! Since the caterpillars are aquatic insects, they also feed on small fish, frogs, and crabs.
For those who want to bring a bit of nature into their backyard, there are many options available for food sources for the adult Monarch butterflies. Some of the better choices include corn, beans, peas, soybeans, lettuce, cabbages, spinach leaves, and sunflowers. Although it takes some small efforts, it will be worth it to provide your garden with the food the monarch butterflies need to survive.
For questions concerning whether or not monarch caterpillars eating certain foods is normal, there is a good reason to ask this question. Many gardeners do not realize that the milkweed plant contains chemicals that have been found to cause health issues in humans. It is important to be aware of this because so many plants can become dangerous when too many chemicals are present. As long as you are careful about the plants you are growing, and if you notice that some plants are not behaving normally, it should not be a cause for alarm because there are safe alternatives to eat.