Make Your Own Easy Butterfly Fruit Feeder

Some butterflies prefer fruit to flowers, and some birds enjoy a sweet treat, too. Attract winged guests with a butterfly fruit feeder.

DIY Butterfly Fruit Feeder

Everyone knows a garden full of the right flowers will bring in butterflies, and that’s certainly true. But some butterflies supplement their diet with fruit, and certain species feed almost exclusively from it. Adding a fruit feeder to your yard can help you attract butterflies. It provides a treat for fruit-loving birds, as well.

Attract Butterflies Fruit Feeder

I came across this simple butterfly fruit feeder idea when I was visiting Costa Rica earlier this year. I took the idea home with me, and created a fruit feeder station in the free-flight butterfly exhibit here in Florida where I work. The butterflies absolutely love it! To create the feeder, I used a piece of grapevine wood about 5 feet long. I left a few of the branching twigs on to serve as natural fruit holders. Then, I used heavy gauge copper wire to create hooks as shown, about 6 inches apart.

Attract Butterflies Fruit Feeder

Cut fruit into pieces and hang them from the hooks. Good fruit choices include oranges, bananas (leave the skin on the back to help hold them in place), mangoes, watermelon, and papaya. And don’t worry if the fruit is overripe or past its prime. That’s actually the best way to attract butterflies! Common butterflies that enjoy fruit include monarchs, red admirals, mourning cloaks, red-spotted purples, painted ladies, question marks, and commas. Learn more about using fruit to attract butterflies.

Attract Butterflies Fruit Feeder

Attract Butterflies Fruit Feeder

If you give this a try, you’ll probably want to plan to remove the fruit at night (to avoid unwanted furry visitors like raccoons). Replace with fresh fruit in the morning. Of course, if your neighborhood includes fruit-eating birds like Baltimore orioles, cedar waxwings, or northern mockingbirds, you may not have any fruit left to worry about! (See more fruit-eating birds.)

If you’re concerned about birds getting caught on the wire ends, cut your wire long enough that your hooks can bend back on themselves and be tucked out of the way. But really, birds deal with all sorts of thorns and prickers in the wild. They’re pretty good at avoiding them.

Jill Staake
Jill Staake's lifelong love of nature turned into a career during the years she spent working with native Florida butterflies, caterpillars, and other wildlife at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, Florida. During this time, she helped to maintain 30+ acres of gardens and backwoods, all carefully cultivated to support the more than 20 species of butterflies displayed indoors and out. She now writes for a variety of publications and sites on topics like gardening and birding, among others.