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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Raising Butterflys

It's that time of year to get started in the garden and as the weather warms one of the reasons I've really been watching the weather is so that We can get started with our raise and release butterfly program. As you can see the first caterpillars are off to a good start. Just last week they were barely the size of ants!

TUESDAY APRIL 13, 2017


For the time being they live on a tiny corner shelf in my living room and it's kind of fun to watch them crawl around the jar in the course of the day while I wait for them to head for the top and make cocoons. It won't be long now before they'll be ready to put into the screened habitat when they'll be transformed into painted lady butterflies that we hope to release at a small family reunion so everyone can enjoy them. 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 2017



It is surprising how quickly they grow.

THURSDAY APRIL 13, 2017


It was only a matter of days before they reached for the top.

FRIDAY APRIL 14, 2017


It was fun to watch them wrap the cocoons. I've just never managed to see them shed exoskeletons before that point.

FRIDAY APRIL 14, 2017



Someday I'm hoping to have the equipment set up to film the whole process and share it with you in a time lapse video.

SATURDAY APRIL 15, 2017



I'll be moving them into the screened habitat next, It should only be a week or so after that before the butterflies emerge and just days after that before they are ready to release.

SUNDAY APRIL 16, 2017



MOVING DAY, WEDNESDAY APRIL 19, 2017


It is important to remove the dark bits (exoskeletons) and waste at this point (tan balls) but the most important thing to do is remove the extra silk strands so that they won't become tangled in it when the butterflies are emerging from the cocoons.


I find cotton swabs work best for this task. Mostly because I don't want to get my hands in it but you're welcome to use whatever works best for you.





Once they're cleaned off they're ready to place into the screened habitat for a week or more until the butterflies emerge.



The reason that some of the chrysalis's are blurry is that they don't like anything coming around an this point and begin to fibrate and swing back and forth to scare anything away and protect themselves. It sure scares me! if you move away from them and leave them alone they will settle down and be still again.


Here's what's left after cleaning them off. Just put the lid back on and put it in the trash.

Relax and join the wait for your butterflies to come out and begin to dry their wings before they start flying around.



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