Welcome To Your Caterpillar To Butterfly Kit Experience
You are about to witness the fascinating life journey of the beautiful painted lady butterflies! Expect the change from caterpillar to butterfly to take about 3 weeks. Caterpillars grow faster in warmer climates. Your fully grown painted ladies will live for 2 to 4 weeks. You can release them outside when the temperature is above 55°F.
Your Caterpillar To Butterfly Kit Consists Of
- Covered cup with caterpillars and food
- Water mister
- Butterfly feeder with cotton wick
- 2 packets of sugar
- A sugar water dropper
- Butterfly life cycle coloring page
- Butterfly habitat selected by you
You Will Need To Provide
- Water and a small bowl to mix and store the sugar solution
- Pieces of fruits such as watermelons, bananas or oranges
Your hungry caterpillars will gobble the food on the bottom of their covered cup to thrive and grow. In the wild, they like mallow and hollyhock plants, but they enjoy the nutritional mix also. Watch them eat, crawl, spin silk and grow many times their original size! If they do not move for quite some time, do not worry or try to move them on your own as it is part of the transformation process.
As your caterpillars eat and grow, you will begin to see little balls at the bottom of the covered cup. They are actually caterpillars’ frass or waste and should be left in the cup. While the caterpillars are in the cup you may carefully pick up the cup to look at them but be very gentle with your painted ladies.
Important Note: Keep your caterpillars in the covered cup at room temperature (68°F to 78°F) and out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight may cause condensation in the cup which is not healthy for the caterpillars. Keep the lid on the cup at all times to prevent introducing bacteria into it.
Changing From Caterpillar To Chrysalis
At normal room temperature, the caterpillars should take 5 to 10 days to grow large enough to make the fascinating change from caterpillar to chrysalis. Your caterpillars will climb to the top of the covered cup and attach themselves, by strands of silk, to the disk under the lid of the cup. They will hang upside down from the disk making a “J” shape. They will shed a very thin layer of outer skin that you may not even notice at first. After that, they’ll get covered in a harder skin and start to rapidly transform into butterflies.
Important Note: During the first day, while the chrysalides are forming, it is very important that you do not disturb or move your caterpillars. This is the most vulnerable stage in the development of your pretty painted ladies.
Caring For Your Chrysalides
The best time to move your caterpillars into your butterfly habitat is 24 hours after all of them have formed chrysalides. By this time they should all be firmly attached to the disk under the lid of the covered cup. In order to move them to the habitat, you have to move the whole disk and not individual chrysalides.
- Keep your pop-up habitat on a stable, flat surface. In case you’ve got the hanging habitat, hang it using the C-shape screw that has been provided.
- Add water to the butterfly feeder (no sugar) and place it at the center of the habitat’s floor. This will help remove wrinkles from the netting and start to increase the humidity inside the habitat.
- Gently open the covered cup and remove the disk while being very careful not to disturb the chrysalides.
- Hang the disk securely on an inside wall (not the top) of the habitat using the hook attached to the disk. The chrysalides will be hanging downward and laying against the disk.
- If any of your chrysalides become detached from the disk, gently lay them on a napkin on the habitat’s floor next to a side wall. There is a good chance for them to still emerge as healthy butterflies.
- Use the water mister once every day to provide a gentle mist of room temperature water inside your habitat. Too much misting is worse than no misting.
Important Note: As with the covered cup, the habitat should be kept at room temperature room temperature (68°F to 78°F) and out of direct sunlight.