Instructions for Butterfly Kits
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Butterfly Kits Section
Congratulations, you are about to watch part of the incredible life cycle of the Painted Lady Butterfly! Expect the change from caterpillar to butterfly to take approximately 3 weeks and for the resulting butterflies to live 2 to 4 weeks.
You will need to Provide
Caring for your Caterpillars
Important: Keep your caterpillar Cup at room temperature (68° to 78°F) and out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight my cause condensation in the Cup, which is not healthy for the caterpillars. Also, keep the lid on the Cup at all times to prevent introducing bacteria into it.
Changing from Caterpillar to Chrysalis
Once they are in the “J” shape, their body will change into a chrysalis and they will shed a very thin layer of outer skin that you may not even see. During the first day while their chrysalis is forming it is very important that they are not disturbed and you must be very careful not to move or jiggle the Cup. This is the most vulnerable stage in the development of a butterfly.
Caring for your Chrysalides
Birth of your Butterflies
The chrysalides will get darker as the time to emerge gets closer. Keep your eyes on them now as you may get to witness the birth of a butterfly! As a butterfly emerges, it will hold onto the Disk in a vertical position while stretching its wings to full size. Don’t be alarmed if you see a red liquid, which may look like blood, coming from the tail of the butterfly. This is called Meconium. It’s a waste product left over from the butterfly’s metamorphosis.
When a butterfly emerges its wings are soft and folded and it cannot fly. Over a period of 1 to 2 hours the butterfly stretches and strengthens its wings by forcing blood into its veins. During this time be careful not to touch or jiggle the habitat and do not try to touch the newly emerged butterflies. Only 1 to 2 hours after emerging the wings will be full-sized and completely hardened. Your butterfly is now fully-grown and ready for flight. You can then reach into the habitat and remove the Disk and chrysalis remains.
Feeding, Observing and Releasing your Butterflies
To feed your butterflies make a sugar solution by mixing a single sugar packet in 1/4 cup of water. Fill the feeder cup almost to the top and replace the lid. The cotton wick will stay moist and the butterflies will drink the sugar water from the moist wick. Set the feeder on the floor of the Habitat. Keep extra sugar water refrigerated between feedings. Rinse and refill the feeder (no soap) once a week. If you run out of sugar solution you can make more by mixing 1tsp of real sugar with 4 oz of water.
After observing your butterflies for a few days we recommend that you release them into their natural environment. This way they can continue their normal life cycle and breed and lay the eggs that will become caterpillars. Your butterflies are not likely to breed within the Habitat because they prefer plants for laying their eggs. Painted Ladies live throughout North America so you can safely release them anywhere. When temperatures are above 55°F it is safe to release your butterflies. Once released, the butterflies can often be seen for several days in the vicinity of their release. If it is too chilly, you can keep them inside for their full lifespan.
Ready to Raise more Butterflies?
Butterfly Kit Facts:
Q: Do you give a guarantee?
Q: How long before I get my caterpillars?
Q: Can I order butterflies during the winter?
Q: My caterpillars aren’t moving. Are they dead?
Q: Can I remove the Cup lid and play with the caterpillars?
Q: Why are the chrysalides shaking?
Q: If a chrysalis falls off the Disk, what should I do?
Q: What is the red liquid I see coming from the butterflies right after they emerge?
Q: How long before I have butterflies?
Q: How long will the butterflies live?
Q: When should I release my adult butterflies?
Q: How do I clean my butterfly habitat before reusing it?
You can visit www.TheButterflySite.com for more information on the Butterfly Life Cycle and Biology.
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