With spring right around the corner, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share one of my family’s favorite yearly activities! A couple years ago I ran across a cool company called Insect Lore! I love animals so after checking the website out, I thought how cool would it be to raise our won butterflies! Cool doesn’t began to describe it! It’s a neat, learning experience for all ages that encourages kids to put down the remotes, phones, & video game controllers for a bit & get back in touch with nature! Insect Lore has all you need to get started! Sound like something your family or classroom kids might be interested, all you need to get started is a Live Butterfly Garden which includes a pop-up, reusable 11.5-inch tall mesh habitat perfect for butterfly viewing, feeding pipette, instruction booklet, & a cup with 5 caterpillars & food for them to eat until they turn into chrysalises. They also make a larger version perfect for a classroom setting called the Live Butterfly Pavilion. The cool thing about this is you can reuse this over & over again by ordering Cup of Caterpillar refills or even add a milkweed plant to your garden or flower bed to encourage caterpillars to come to you free of charge (lol). We have found that the caterpillars we have purchased almost always turn to butterflies while with the “wild” caterpillars it has been hit or miss. After years of just sprinkling sugar water on fresh flowers to feed our newly hatched butterflies, we did purchase a Butterfly Feeder this year, but honestly they didn’t seem too interested in it so I’d just got for the cheaper option. Ok so having said all that, on to our butterfly experiences over the years…
Here is a shot of a butterfly that came out while we are sleeping next to his unhatched brothers & sister chrysalises. Don’t worry that’s not blood just extra dye from his brightly colored wings that is left behind as they dry.
I took this shot right after this butterfly emerged. His wings are still wet & crumpled, but soon he’ll look normal.
Here’s a better shot of the butterfly habitat. This butterfly is opening & closing his wings to help dry & strengthen them so he’ll be able to fly.
This butterfly is drinking sugar-water off a fresh carnation.
After studying & enjoying your butterflies, it’s time to release them. They need to be set free within a week, but we only keep them a few days since they have a very short lifespan & we want them to enjoy the time they have in the wild! You can either open the top & patiently wait for them to fly away or, as we prefer, carefully let them crawl onto your finger or hand and visit with them close up before they go on their adventures.
Some of the butterflies like hanging with you a while before flying off while others make a bee-line for the nearest flower buffet.
Some even give you the chance to pose for a picture or two.
This is one of the “wild” caterpillars we raised, such gorgeous wings! I believe it is a Black Swallowtail.
One year we brought our batch of butterflies to release at the Holland Family Blueberry Farm (owned by family friends) & got a little help letting them go from the youngest farmer there. (P.S. If you live in Central Florida, definitely check out them out! They have the best blueberries I have ever eaten, seriously!!)
Interested in butterfly-raising, check out Insect Lore! They also have ladybug habitats, ant farms, & praying mantis egg cases (I think seeing these born would be soooo cool! Each egg case releases 75 to 200 baby mantises. It also might be something to consider getting if you’d like a chemical free pest solution for your vegetable garden!). Anyway I hope you enjoyed this family activity idea as much as we did experiencing it! If you have raised butterflies or are going to, I’d love to here about it! My youngest is interested in the ladybugs; has anyone raised those? Looking forward to hearing from my readers!!
This post was not sponsored or compensated by the above mentioned company. I’m just only sharing a fun family activity idea & my own experiences. 🙂