Simple Tips for Butterfly Hatching
If you’re interested in raising butterflies at home, you are in for a real treat because it is easier than you think. Raising butterflies like monarchs and black swallowtails is an educational and fun activity for kids in the summer.
Learn how to get more butterflies in your yard and how to take care of caterpillars. Then, get some tips on releasing them into nature.
Get the Right Plants
The right plant is a host plant, where butterflies lay their eggs. When these eggs hatch, the plant is a valuable food source in addition to protection for the caterpillars. If you want a variety of butterflies, have a variety of nectar and host plants. These usually have yellow, pink, red, or purple flowers. Some of their favorite plants are:
- Willow for White Admiral Butterflies and Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies
- Spicebush for Spicebush Swallowtail Butterflies
- Butterfly weed for Monarch
- Milkweed for Monarch
- Dill for Black Swallowtail Butterflies
- Rue for Black Swallowtail and Giant Swallowtail Butterflies
- Queen Anne’s Lace for Black Swallowtail Butterflies
Collect the Caterpillars
In spring, fill your garden with the plants that attract the butterflies you want. Please note for the best butterfly garden, keep it organic. And within a couple of months, your plants will be full of caterpillars. Try not to touch the caterpillars when collecting them. Use the leaf they are on for transport.
Create A Caterpillar Home
You can use all sorts of containers to house your caterpillars. You will want to put some soil in the container. You need to add a small mason jar with water in it and a frog lid, so the caterpillars won’t slip through. Pack with stems from their host plant. Place more of the host plant in the container touching the walls so the caterpillars have something to crawl on.
Remember that some chrysalids will be on the screen while others will be on the sticks.
Once you have everything set up, simply wait. They will eat a lot and grow fast. Your job is to make sure they have plenty of plants to eat and a clean container to grow in. Eventually, they will stop eating and create their chrysalis.
Release Your Butterflies
This is the most exciting part, but you need to do it at the right time. This means you need to wait until the wings are no longer damp and floppy. Let them dry for a couple of hours after hatching. You can give them something like orange slices or watermelon, or honey solution in preparation. Take the lid off and watch them fly away. If they don’t, encourage your child to place a finger under their front legs. They will climb on, and you can then release them.