how to raise  and
                           release Butterflies

Once you have attracted butterflies to your garden, you may want to go to the next step and grow plants that caterpillars will feed on once the adult butterflies lay eggs. If left to Mother Nature the vast amount of caterpillars succumb to predators, disease and even pesticides. Many people have begun to raise butterflies and release them back into the wild to try and increase butterfly populations. In order to successfully raise caterpillars from egg to adult, a few easy steps need to be followed.

EGGS - We find removing the eggs still attached to the original leaves is easiest. Depending on the species some lay single eggs, others in clusters. Some are cannibalistic. In the latter case, individual eggs will need to be stored to avoid this. Once you have selected the eggs and leaves they are on, you can use typical food storage containers to hold the eggs until they hatch. Place cut leaves on damp paper towels and seal container. Sealing the container will not harm eggs. Open once a day to mist towels until they hatch, opening the container will refresh the air as well.

CATERPILLARS - There are multiple means to raise caterpillars. They can be raised in plastic containers, sleeves, collapsible netted containers, or even host plants. To be successful, diseases and viruses need to be avoided by keeping raising containers clean of frass and disinfecting raising containers. On occasion, plants may become infected or bring in predators so this also needs to be avoided. Tachinid flies and braconid wasps are common predators of caterpillars as they lay eggs on or in a caterpillar where the flies larva eat the caterpillar from the inside out.

MISC  - Keeping leaves fresh for fast growing and ever hungry caterpillars can be a challenge. Potted plants are fine, but a lot of people do not have access to live plants and use cuttings. To keep the cutting fresh, floral tubes and foam can be used to keep cuttings fresh for caterpillars.