Make a Butterfly or Moth Feeder

Butterflies and moths are known to feed on the sweet liquid found in flowers (nectar). 

When flowers aren't available, they may also feed on fruit. Some species of butterfly and moths actually prefer fruit.


These colorful butterflies in a butterfly enclosure are feeding on orange and apple slices. 


The fruit doesn't need to be fresh, either. Some butterflies and moths like over-ripe bananas.

Activity 1:  Construct a butterfly fruit feeder


  • Bird bath, tray, or flower pot saucer
  • Yarn or string to make a hanger
  • Fruit:  orange slices, apple slices, old bananas, watermelon rinds with a bit of fruit left on, etc.

An old bird bath would not need modification. Simply add fruit. 

Make a secure hanger to hold up the tray or saucer, so you can hang it in a tree. 

Or you can simply use string or yarn to hang pieces of fruit, like orange slices.  

Place the feeder where it won't be likely to attract rodents or other pests. Birds may also enjoy the fruit. 

Be sure to check your feeder regularly for butterflies, any potential problems, and to clean it.


If there aren't many flowers in your yard or neighborhood, you can help the butterflies and moths by providing a nectar feeder. 

Activity 2:  Construct a butterfly or moth nectar feeder

butterfly-feeder-more active


  • Clay flower pot saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Brightly-colored  scouring sponge (no cleanser or soap added)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Measuring cups and spoons

With an adult's help, warm one cup of water in the microwave in a glass bowl or measuring cup, or on the stove in a pan. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and stir until the sugar disappears (dissolves).  Fill the bottom of the saucer with clean pebbles. Rinse the sponge with plenty of water to make sure it is clean. Lay the sponge on top of the pebbles in the saucer. Soak the sponge with sugar water. Place the feeder outside where it will be unlikely to attract pests such as rodents. 

Be sure to check your feeder regularly for butterflies during the day and moths at night. Check for any potential problems, and to clean it. 


Sometimes helping butterflies and moths might be as simple as creating a place for them to drink.


 This swallowtail butterfly has its mouthparts pushed into the soil. Butterflies often drink from damp sand, a behavior called "puddling." Leave a small patch of sand or dirt uncovered in a damp corner and see if butterflies find it. 


Look for more ideas on our How to Make Butterfly and Moth Feeders Pinterest Board

© Roberta Gibson 2021