Monarch Watch Blog

Wanted: Gerber Baby Food Containers

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 at 11:38 am by Jim Lovett
Filed under General | 11 Comments »


Do you or someone you know use Gerber’s “2nd Foods” Baby Food packs – the larger, 3.5-ounce containers? Here’s what they look like on the shelf at your grocery store and removed from the package:

Gerber Containers

If you have access to a supply of these empty containers, consider sending them to us (please rinse them first!) for reuse as monarch rearing chambers:

Rearing Chambers

I don’t think Gerber had monarchs in mind when they introduced these containers, but they work quite well and save us a lot of time compared to other methods we’ve used.

We raise thousands of caterpillars each year so we can use a TON of these – please start saving these empty containers and lids for Monarch Watch and once you have a number of them (shouldn’t take long!) please contact us at for mailing/shipping instructions. If you can coordinate a collection from several sources to send in a single package, all the better. Thank You!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

ADDENDUM: It seems lots of folks are curious as to the mystery substance in the containers with the larvae (in addition to the frass). It is, indeed, an artificial diet of our own design. Since Monarch Watch was founded back in 1992, we have shipped hundreds of thousands of caterpillars on an artificial diet to schools an individuals as a part of our Monarch Rearing Kits. Our diet is not available at this time, but may be in the future – stay tuned!

  1. 11 Responses to “Wanted: Gerber Baby Food Containers”

  2. By Richard Stringer on Sep 8, 2009

    In the pictures demonstarting the use of Gerber Food Jars I notice what appears to be prepared food for the caterpillars. If so, what is the formula for it?
    Thanks fopr any comment concerning this food.
    Richard Stringer

  3. By Diane on Sep 8, 2009

    What is the caterpillar eating in your photo above?
    My biggest challenge this fall has been having sufficient milkweed plants as a food source for the larvae. Is there an alternative to milkweed leaves?

  4. By Cheryl on Sep 8, 2009

    Is that CREAMED MILKWEED?? Seriously.

  5. By Steve on Sep 8, 2009

    This is a very interesting approach to raising Monarchs. What is the food that is in the bottom of the containers? What about the frass contamination?

  6. By Bruce on Sep 8, 2009

    I am simply wondering what is in the bottom of the baby food container with the larva? It certainly doesn’t look like milweed to me??

  7. By Linda on Sep 8, 2009

    I’ve been using these same Gerber containers for years for my caterpillars. They are perfect for it. I work at a preschool, I’ll put the word out that I need them!


  8. By Donna Ashley aka Butterfly Missionary on Sep 8, 2009

    Have you considered asking Gerber to donate a supply of their containers. I used to sell a product call All Food Tabs and I still order and continue to eat them. Their small containers worked for housing a chrysal, so I asked if they would donate some and they sent me a case of them. You might give Gerber a call an explain how you use their containers and they might send you a supply.

  9. By Debbie Ruppersburg on Sep 9, 2009

    What is the larva eating inside the gerber container? I see frass but no milkweed leaves. Curious.

  10. By David Miner Upper Vermont on Sep 9, 2009

    Excellent. & belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  11. By James on Sep 9, 2009

    I’d love to know the recipe for the artificial diet that the cat in the pic is eating, as my milkweed’s starting to run low.

  12. By freda on Feb 2, 2012

    I’ve been using the clear plastic shoe-boxes and they work really well. I’m not sure I’ve seen these Gerber containers in our stores in Canada, but I’ll look. I’m interested in the artificial food even though my milkweed numbers are at about 300-400 plants. Now all I need are the females to visit them.

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