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Raise Butterflies & Build Them a Home


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What better way to start a butterfly garden than to raise your own butterflies for it? This can be an activity that the whole family can enjoy and learn from. You will first want to design and start your butterfly garden. Then you will need to either learn how to gather and raise butterflies from eggs, or you can purchase a butterfly kit and follow the instructions. This is the easier way to go, and with the instructions you shouldn’t have any problem raising healthy butterflies. Then release them into your garden and you have a ready-made butterfly habitat.   


To start your garden, you will need to know what kind of butterflies you will be raising. Find out what kinds of plant nectar they like to feed on, as well as what kinds of plants  nectar they like to feed on, as well as what kinds of plants  they lay their eggs on and what their caterpillars like to eat. The caterpillars will eat the plant that they hatch on, but they tend to be picky and if they won’t eat it, they won’t survive, so it is important to have the right kinds of food for them. The host plants (caterpillar plants) are for the adult butterflies to breed once you have released them into the garden. If you want more types of butterflies, simply plant more types of host and nectar plants in your garden.  

How to Raise Butterflies


Five Parts:Catching a CaterpillarCreating A Caterpillar HomeCaring for Your CaterpillarCaring for Your ButterflyExploring Alternative Ways to Find CaterpillarsCommunity Q&A


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Look out your window and see a beautiful butterfly flutter past you. Amazingly, such beauty originated from an inch long, garden dwelling caterpillar that probably feasted on your prized roses. As you stare longingly at the butterfly, you think to yourself, "If only there were another way." And then it hits you – "Raise them myself!"

The butterflies cage

Once your garden begins to flourish, you can order your butterfly kit. The kit will come with everything you need to begin raising your butterflies, including live caterpillars and all of the instructions you need to keep them healthy. You and your family can enjoy watching the life cycle of the butterfly as it happens. The caterpillars will feed, and then form their cocoons, and they will complete their metamorphosis into butterflies right in the provided butterfly observation house that you get with the kit.  

2-Monitor the caterpillar's behavior. If you start to notice that your caterpillar is changing color or seems lethargic, he's likely about to molt or form their pupa. They are very vulnerable during this period, so do not touch them or otherwise mess with their environment. You'll notice them start curling, too.


  • The alternative to this is that they may be sick. If your caterpillar dies, dispose of it automatically as to not infect the other healthy caterpillars.

FREE Butterfly House Plans: How to Build a Butterfly House 



Butterfly House Plans can be hard to find, but here’s one we like on how to make a butterfly house. How to build a butterfly house is pretty easy! Slots in the Butterfly Houses keep birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather. Place the butterfly house you built in your garden, and when it gets cool at night the butterflies seek shelter and may use your house. By having a nectar source close by (flowers and/or our butterfly feeder) butterflies are more likely to visit your butterfly house.. Have fun and take delight in watching your beautiful new neighbors enjoy their home you made from pans just for them.  



You can doenload the PDF file from the link below or see the photo attached :

Once your butterflies have emerged and are in flight, you will want to release them soon into your butterfly garden. Some will fly away, perhaps all of them will, but many will either stay or return because you have provided them with a perfect habitat with your butterfly garden.  


Some butterflies migrate for the colder months, so they won’t stay forever. The ones that don’t migrate only live for a few weeks. This is why you will want to provide a place for them to breed, so that you will have new butterflies naturally the next season. And if it takes a while for the wild butterflies to find your habitat and begin to breed there, you can always order more live caterpillars and raise more butterflies to release into your garden for the next season.  

4-Keep the container outside. Place it in a hidden, sheltered area that is protected from intense heat or cold and away from pets or humans who might disturb the gestation. If you live in a dry environment, it may be wise to mist the cage occasionally, since caterpillars prefer a humid habitat. But misting too much can promote mold growth.


  • If you'd like to make their environment more humid, put some sort of clear plastic or cellophane around their home. This seals in the heat, increasing humidity. It's especially good for admirals and viceroys.[2]



Catching a Caterpillar

1- Prepare a well-ventilated container. Containers for caterpillars can be found in hobby and pet shops, on the Internet, or you can fashion one from items around the home. Preferably this should be one made from wire mesh, to give the caterpillar something to cling to. An aquarium or a one-gallon jar can work, too, provided it's lined with a screen or cheesecloth tightened with a rubber band at the top.


  • Don't use jar lids with holes in them, however, as these don't provide adequate ventilation and can also cut the delicate caterpillars with sharp edges around the holes.

  • Put a two inch layer of dirt and grass on the bottom of every container if you think your caterpillar may pupate below ground. If not, a layer of paper towels or newspaper will do fine.

3- Make sure the chrysalis is hanging in the open. Make sure that the chrysalis is hanging in an area of the container where, once it emerges, it will have enough room for its wings to fully expand without touching the ground or the sides of the container. They need enough space for their wings to develop properly and dry so that they can fly when they emerge, or else the butterfly may fall to the ground and not survive.


  • If necessary, move the branch or object that the chrysalis is hanging on gently to accommodate their emergence. But again, be very, very gentle. Move slowly. You do not want it to drop, hurting the to-be butterfly.

  • If the chrysalis falls off, attach the tip to a piece of paper with hot glue that is slightly cooled and wait until the glue hardens. Then pin the paper to cardboard or cork and place it in the container.

PART Two :  Creating A Caterpillar Home


1- Coax the caterpillar onto a stick. Use a twig (preferably from the same host plant) or similar object. Handle them very gently because they can die if dropped even from a short distance.


  • Don't pick it up with your hands, for three reasons: it'll make it more difficult to put them in their new home (they cling tightly to surfaces they're walking on, and scraping them off your hand can hurt them); bacteria on your hands can give them infections; and some caterpillars are poisonous (see Warnings).

  • Place the stick with the caterpillar on it in the container. The stick is important, as it will provide the resting place for the chrysalis.

2-Look out for caterpillars on your plants. Instead of spraying or squishing the caterpillar, identify it (see Warnings) and capture it to grow into a butterfly. Butterfly season is from late spring to summer, depending on your region. If you don't know of a spot that caterpillars like to frequent, consult a local field guide to determine which plants are preferred "host" plants for butterflies, like the Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests, or on the Internet. Make sure you're not capturing an endangered species, which could be illegal. Different types of butterflies prefer different hosts. Some common host plants include:


  • Milkweed - Monarch Butterfly

  • Spice bush - Spice bush Swallowtail

  • Paw-Paw - Tiger Swallowtail

  • Thistle - Painted Lady

  • Parsley, dill and fennel - Black Swallowtail

  • Cherry - Cecropia Moth, Viceroy, Red-Spotted Purple

  • If it's not caterpillar season, or you simply don't have time to go caterpillar searching, consider buying them from a caterpillar supplier. We'll discuss that in the last section.

2- Go back to the tree or bush where you found the caterpillar. Cut a small branch with some leaves. More than likely, it is the host plant (caterpillar's food). Be sure you know the caterpillar's preferred food before trying to feed it. Some caterpillars, like the Monarch Caterpillar will only eat one kind of plant (Milkweed). Other caterpillars will eat a from a variety of plants. However, they will starve to death before eating a strange food.


  • If you're not sure, however, consult a field guide and go out and get leaves from its host plant; even caterpillars like choices.[1]

3- Put the leaves in the container. Inspect it for insects and spiders before putting it into the container, because these insects can injure and kill a caterpillar. Be sure to replace the leaves daily, because caterpillars won't feed on old or dry leaves. To keep the food even fresher, put it in floral tubes (available for very cheap at most florist shops) with water. Don't use a dish, jar or vase to hold the food, however, because caterpillars can fall in them and drown.


  • If the caterpillar is on the food you're trying to replace, don't try to pull it off because they cling tightly and their legs could rip. Instead, put in the new branch, let them make their way to it themselves, and then take out the old branch.










PART THREE - Caring for Your Caterpillar

1- Check your caterpillar every day. Clean up after their waste, called frass, and any mold growth. Resist the urge to handle them, especially when they're lethargic or are changing color, because they might be starting to transform. Give it fresh food and watch for the caterpillar to change. It will soon turn into a chrysalis (butterfly) or cocoon (moth).


  • Leave the chrysalis untouched. At this point they will not need food or water, only the occasional misting to create a humid environment.


  • Caterpillars poop a lot. You may wish to put some newspaper in your caterpillar condo to catch the frass and make it easy to dispose of. It's very important to get rid of – if frass stays in their refuge, they could get sick and die.[3]

PART FOUR : Caring for Your Butterfly  


4- Be patient. The length of time it takes for a butterfly or moth to emerge depends on the species. If you are very keen and can identify the colors and other markings of the caterpillar well, try researching this information in books on butterflies or on the Internet. Some butterflies, Monarchs for example, emerge from the chrysalis in 9-14 days. Other butterflies will remain in the chrysalis stage through a Winter and emerge in the Spring.


  • The only thing to do during this period is to mist their container as normal. They don't need food or water, just a consistent environment.

  • You'll like see the chrysalis changing colors. When it becomes clear, the time is imminent. It can happen in the blink of an eye, so if you want to see it, don't go anywhere. It'll then hang for a few hours, letting its wing spread and fully form.

  • If the pupa becomes dark, it may be dead. Try to bend it – if it stays bent, it's likely dead.[4]

2- Observe the butterfly for a few hours. When its wings are dry, you can put your finger under its legs and it should hop on your finger. Walk outside and set it on a flower for some great photos. If you have done your research, you may know the lifespan of your butterfly – some live as short as a day, so be mindful of this when giving it its freedom.


  • Butterflies need to be free to truly thrive. It's only possible to contain them if you have a large garden they can stay in. What's more, many species migrate – they can only stay with you so long if you want them to live.






1- Get ready to feed the newly emerged butterfly outside. Your butterfly will not eat for several hours. It needs to pump fluid into its crumpled wings and let them dry. After you set the butterfly free, it will feed in your garden if you provide it nectar flowers. Sometimes they will drink from hummingbird feeders. Some butterflies like very ripe fruit as their food, too. Make sure your garden is ready.


  • Don't be dismayed if you end up raising moths instead of butterflies. Moths have markings just like a butterfly; while they will be a lot less colorful, the markings are still likely to be intricate and amazing. Even the varying shades of monotone colors are beautiful to behold in nature.

1-Consider catching an adult female. Most wild-caught females have already mated and are capable of laying eggs.[6] If you catch one, you could coax her to lay eggs.


  • For butterflies, set them up in a cage with a water bottle and host clippings next to the light source (preferably sunlight). This will encourage her to oviposit. You may also want to keep her in a dark, cool area for a couple of days to help her acclimate to her new surroundings.[7]


  • Moths are much easier than butterflies. If you catch an adult female moth, you can simply place her in a large paper bag, fold it up, and leave her there for a couple of days. She'll likely deposit eggs on the inside of the bag. Tear the bag, removing the eggs without touching them, and place them into a more suitable container.[8]

3- Watch your butterfly be free. Some butterflies will live for a matter of days, some will stay a matter of days and then migrate, and others will stay for weeks. Either way, be glad you raised your butterfly successfully and watch for future generations.


  • If you wound up with the Luna Moth, Cecropia Moth, or Polyphemus Moth, don't worry about feeding them. These curious creatures don't have digestive systems.[5]


2-Visit a monarch farm. Since monarch butterflies are so popular, there are Monarch farms where you can order monarch caterpillars, like from Monarch Watch.[9] They can ship the little critters to you unharmed.


  • The only drawback to this is that you still have to find their food, the Milkweed. If it's not in your area, you'll have to order or grow it to successfully raise the Monarch.

PART FIVE : Exploring Alternative Ways to Find Caterpillars

Tips :


  • Caterpillars don't need a water supply. They get all the water they need to consume from fresh leaves.

  • When gathering the caterpillar for the Monarch, find the caterpillar on the milkweed and cut the stem that they are eating off from to put in its place. That usually ensures that the caterpillar does not get hurt.

  • Try different caterpillars in your region and discover the amazing butterflies that emerge. In North America, look for caterpillars that look like bird droppings, and have over-sized antennae, as these grow to be beautiful dark blue butterflies.

  • Look in a variety of places for caterpillars, not just your backyard. Try the park, or use this as a great excuse to get the family out into nature.

  • Butterflies and moths are cold blooded, meaning that they get their body warmth from the sun. In addition, they need flowers with nectar to feed.

  • The caterpillar may die, but don't be discouraged. Caterpillar raising takes some practice and experimenting with food types and creating the right environment. Read up on the species that you are trying to raise so that you know what is best for it. Just make sure you remove any dead caterpillars from the container, in case it died from an infection, so that it doesn't affect the other caterpillars.

  • Every 1-3 days, remove the caterpillar and good leaves and dump out the dry leaves and the poop. Then wash it out, leaving a few drops of water as a water source for the caterpillar. If your caterpillar is pooping more than usual, it is not getting enough nutrients, consider switching leaves.

  • Moths without digestive systems can be kept in captivity for as long as you like because they do not need to migrate or feed. Though it's a better decision to release them so they can have some freedom in their short lives.



3- Buy caterpillars from a supplier. If you cannot find caterpillars in your yard or it's just the wrong time of year (it varies by locale), there are "caterpillar suppliers" for just this reason. Most companies have a wide variety of species to choose from and you know just what you'll end up with. Painted Ladies are probably the easiest, as you can just by growth medium for them to feast on.


  • However, this is a little less exciting then finding then on your own and knowing what they really like to eat. If you can, spend some time scoping out your garden. Exhaust all possibilities before you turn the the caterpillar farm.










Warnings :


  • Be careful of "spitfire" caterpillars which spit forth a poison when touched as a defense mechanism. If the poison gets in your eyes, it can do serious damage.

  • If you do buy caterpillars, keep in mind that in many jurisdictions only authorized companies are legally permitted to raise them.

  • Do not collect or disturb caterpillars or butterflies that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise protected.

  • Watch out for very colorful caterpillars with sharp spines as they can be poisonous. Once you have some experience raising butterflies, you might carefully try raising this type of caterpillar as they often grow to be big beautiful butterflies.

  • Always try to collect your own caterpillars locally, rather than collecting them elsewhere or buying them from a company that raises butterflies. Introducing non-native butterflies, or any other living things, into your local area can be harmful to native species and the ecosystem as a whole, as these "invasive species" may out-compete native species. Many states and countries also have strict laws against the introduction of non-native species.

  • Many species of British butterflies feed solely on stinging nettles, so be careful not to sting yourself when gathering them!


Things You'll Need :


  • Container (anything from an aquarium lined with mesh to a large plastic container to a potted plant sleeve)

  • Flowering plants (the one your caterpillar prefers)

  • 2 inches (5.1 cm) of dirt (if pupating below ground)

  • Layer of newspapers or paper towels

Some Videos : 

Raising Monarchs Part 1 - Finding Eggs (How To Find Monarch Butterfly Eggs)

Rearing Monarch Butterflies

Recommended Books : 


-  Smithsonian Handbooks: Butterflies & Moths


by David J. Carter

Try Searching By Yourself in Book finder . com and Amazon . com for more result ..



Butterflies and Moths :  Introduction and care :    1     2  


Butterflies and Moths Species :   1      2 

Butterflies and Moths :  Introduction and care :    1     2  


Butterflies and Moths Species :   1      2 

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