Learning how to raise butterflies may take some patience and practice. If finding the first attempt may not have gone as planned... try, try again!
Once getting the hang of it, watching the butterfly life cycle is awesome and releasing the flying butterfly back into nature is a rewarding feeling.
Caterpillars are warmed or cooled by air temperatures and either by sun or shade. Keep rearing container out of direct sunlight, to not over-heat caterpillar.
Two necessary elements needed on how to raise butterflies:
There is a responsibility when learning how to raise butterflies. Although it is possible to go to the park looking for butterflies, it is important to keep in mind that the caterpillar frass requires constant cleaning. Having host plants close by makes cleaning easier. Also important, not just any host plant, depending on butterfly species.
It is also good idea to have nectar sources close by giving butterfly needed energy.
When raising butterflies supplies can be purchased from the store or made from items found at home.
Be creative and remember that you will need to get in and out of habitat frequently to clean frass, or caterpillar excrement.
When looking for caterpillars outside look
under leaves, on stems and flowers.
Once butterfly caterpillar is found, look over all branches and make sure there are no other insects on them. Any unwanted insects could injure or kill caterpillar.
If you don't recognize caterpillar types, consider the butterfly host plants they were found on. Transport caterpillar back to your rearing location with plenty of leaves and twigs from the plant found on.
Repeat the same careful process when placing butterfly caterpillar in its new habitat. Some helpful tips include:
When cleaning habitat, avoid moving or touching twig
caterpillar is on so no harm comes to it.
Every time caterpillar molts, or sheds old skin to replace with a new one, it's likely they will look for a place to pupate. Many times the caterpillar crawls up and hang from the top of container. Be very careful not to touch caterpillar.
Once Caterpillar molts for last time and is hanging in its pupa, or third stage of butterfly metamorphosis, there is no need to clean habitat to feed caterpillar anymore. Leave habitat alone and be very careful not to disturb. Keep in mind different butterfly species remain in pupa for different lengths of time, including those that remain dormant, or 'over-winter'. Be patient!
Do mist pupa occasionally.
Once butterfly emerges from its pupa give it time for the wings to fill with hemolymph, or butterflys blood.
Release butterfly back into nature but make sure to have nectar sources close by.
Butterfly needs energy otherwise it risks dying.
The last detail on how to raise butterflies is providing pollen from the flowers or ripe, room temperature fruit. Both provide nectar. If placing fruit out, put knife slashes in the fruit to get the juices flowing. Don't cut fruit into lumps. Butterfly wings can get sticky, which is not good for them.
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