University of Minnesota

Do Monarchs Eat Any Other Food Than Milkweed?

A 6th Grader
Plymouth Middle School, Robbinsdale School District 281
Plymouth, MN


I wanted to find out if adult monarchs would eat other food than milkweed. I brought food to school to see if the monarch butterflies would eat it. The purpose of the experiment was to see what they would eat. The results were that the monarchs really liked many kinds of food. They ate Kool-Aid and other sweet drinks and liked fruits. I learned that adult monarchs liked many kinds of food. I learned they like the sweet foods the best. If I could do something differently I would control how often the monarchs had food and observe each one for a longer time.


My hypothesis is that the monarchs will eat the fruit.


  1. butterflies
  2. food -
    • liquids soaked in a cotton ball
    • Kool-Aid
    • milk
    • sugar water
    • pickle juice
    • fruits
    • apples
    • oranges
    • bananas
    • plums
    • pineapple
    • milk
    • watermelon
    • grapes
  3. cage/tent
  4. recording sheet for data


  1. Bring food from home and set it in cages with the butterflies.
  2. Observe monarchs to see if they are eating.
  3. You can determine whether they are eating if their proboscis is in the food for more than 15 seconds.
  4. Use data from other students in combination with mine.


As it turns out, the monarchs liked the fruit as well as the other foods. The favorite was Kool-Aid, probably because of the sugar that's in it. The second choices were apples and oranges.

(Photo: Plymouth Middle School)


The monarchs really liked the fruit and Kool-Aid. I think it is probably because they were juicy and had a high sugar content.

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